Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Sung v. State of New Jersey

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 12, 2019

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, et ah, Defendants.


          KEVIN MCNULTY, U.S.D.J.:

         Plaintiff Jeffrey Sung, pro se, brings this action against the State of New Jersey, the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office, the New Jersey Unclaimed Property Administration, and the New Jersey Attorney General's Office (collectively, the "State Defendants"), as well as the West New York Police Department, alleging breach of public trust and various civil rights violations.[1]

         Defendants have moved to dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The State Defendants also move to vacate the entry of default entered against them pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(c). For the reasons explained in this opinion, I will grant the Defendants' motions and dismiss the Complaint.

         I. Factual Background

         The Complaint alleges the following facts. For purposes of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the well-pleaded factual allegations of the Complaint are assumed to be true. See Section III.A, infra.

         The Complaint is predicated upon sprawling conspiracy allegations involving the Chinatown mafia, New Jersey state court judges, the police, the plaintiffs previous lawyers, and others. The overview is that Sung entered into a series of business deals in the early 1990s whereby he provided capital to a group of small businesses through a promissory note and a share purchase agreement. Sung was not paid the amounts he was due, and unsuccessfully sued in state court in the early 1990s to recoup his losses. Thereafter, Sung spent roughly twenty years trying to rectify these alleged wrongs, only to be stymied by a purportedly corrupt group of state court judges, prosecutors, and others who allegedly threatened him in an attempt to deter him from pursuing his claims.

         Plaintiff Jeffrey Sung is a dentist and resident of Wayne, New Jersey. (Comp. ¶¶ 6, 26). In 1989, Timothy Tuttle ("Tuttle"), Kung Chi Wong ("Wong"), and Hsing Tak Tong ("Tong") founded four corporations: Van Foo; Mr. Tong II; Van Lee; and Sing Lung (collectively, "the Four Corporations"). (Comp. ¶ 14). While the Complaint does not specify the nature of these businesses, it appears from the exhibits that the Four Corporations owned and operated Chinese restaurants, one of which was located in Fairfield, New Jersey, and another in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Comp. Exh. A, B, pp. 22-23).[2]

         Tuttle, Wong, and Tong sold shares of the Four Corporations to Sung and took loans from Sung, but never transferred the shares to him and defaulted on the loan payments. (These transactions are referred to collectively as the "Business Deals".) (Comp. U 14). The Complaint attaches excerpts of documents purporting to show the following: (1) Sung's 1989 purchase of five shares of Van Foo and Mr. Tong II for $50, 000 (Comp. Exh. A, DE 1 p. 22); (2) Sung's 1990 purchase of three shares of Van Lee from Wong in 1990 for $40, 000 (Comp. Exh. B, DE 1 p. 23); (3) Wong's pledge of five shares of Van Lee in 1989 to secure Sung's loan to him of $50, 000 (Comp. Exh. C, DE 1 p. 24); and (4) Sung's 1990 mortgage loan to Van Foo of $50, 000, secured by property in Fairfield (Comp. Exh. D, DE 1 p. 25).

         Tuttle, Wong, Tong, and the Four Corporations, however, are not named as defendants in Sung's Complaint. Rather, Sung is suing a group of governmental entities, alleging corruption in connection with the disposition of his civil cases involving the Business Deals.

         In 1990 Sung sued Wong in both Bergen County and Hudson County for not delivering the shares of Van Lee and Sing Lung and for defaulting on loan payments. (Comp. H 14, Exh. E, F, G, DE 1 pp. 26-28). Through the mid-1990s, Sung continued to bring civil claims in New Jersey state court involving the Business Deals. (Comp. Exh. I, J, DEI pp. 30-31). The resolutions are not always clear; Sung attaches scattered interrogatories and interlocutory orders. In 1996, Sung, proceeding pro se, sued the attorneys who represented him in some of the earlier litigation involving the Business Deals. That case did not proceed "due to discrimination." (Comp. ¶ 14, Exh. L, DE 1 p. 33).

         In 1994, a state court judge ordered Van Foo and Mr. Tong II to "be dissolved into receivership," appointing Laura Scott as the receiver. (Comp. ¶ 17). The judge in that case allegedly ordered Van Lee and Sing Lung to be sold to the Chinatown mafia (the "Flying Dragons"), who were working for Tuttle, Wong, and Tong. (Id.). This led to the dissolution of the Four Corporations and the issuance of a judgment against Sung for $94, 311, an amount which was seized from Sung and deposited into the Superior Court Trust Fund. (Id.). Receiver Scott and the state court have repeatedly denied Sung's requests for an accounting of the receivership. The most recent denial of Sung's request(s) to compel Receiver Scott to disclose the accounting occurred on April 3, 2017. (Id.; Comp. Exh. S, p. 40).

         Sung's previous lawyers, Bergenfield and Pollack, "abandoned" him after all the assets were dissipated. (Comp. ¶ 18). Sung's lawyers, he says, were "actually working for Tuttle." (Id.). In 1997, Sung brought a new lawsuit, which a state court judge dismissed as being barred by the entire controversy doctrine due to the earlier suit. (Id.). That dismissal was predicated upon the motion of the defense counsel in that case, John Kennedy, who allegedly "distorted the motion to help Tuttle, Bergenfield, and Pollack, in collusion with" the state court judge presiding over that case. (Id.). Sung lists nine other cases involving the Four Corporations that were dismissed by state court judges. (Id.).

         Between 1997 and 2017, Sung appealed those dismissals and filed several motions in an attempt to reopen those cases, all of which were denied. (Comp. ¶ 19). An order, entered in 2017, denied Mr. Sung's motion to "disclose accounting" in the 1994 case. (Compl. Exh. S, DEI p. 40) The state court judges involved in the proceedings involving Sung allegedly "breached oaths and public trust, colluded and obstructed justice against Sung to help their own kind" and to help Tuttle perpetuate unspecified crimes. (Id.). With respect to these allegations, Sung seeks, inter alia, the return of the money he invested in the Four Corporations, the $94, 311 judgment he paid, disclosure of the receivership accounting for Van Foo and Mr. Tong II, and legal fees. (Id.).

         When Sung commenced his civil cases in 1990, he also Filed a criminal complaint against Tuttle, Wong, and Tong at the New Jersey Attorney General's Office ("AG's Office"), alleging that they had stolen $1 million and used the Flying Dragons to threaten people. (Comp. ¶ 21). The AG's Office had Assistant Prosecutor Mark Groninger of the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office investigate the allegations against Tuttle, Wong, and Tong. (Id., Comp. Exh. Q, p. 38). Sung informed Groninger that Tuttle, Wong, and Tong were using the Flying Dragons to attack Sung and forcibly take over Van Lee and Sing Lung. Groninger allegedly "refused to investigate Tuttle" and instead "became an accomplice" of Tuttle. (Comp. ¶ 22). In 1994, Groninger allegedly "dismissed" an indictment against Wong, "using a secret motion, in a conspiracy with Tuttle" and the state court judge, (The order dismissing the indictment is attached, however. Comp. Exh. R, DE 1 p. 39.)

         In 1994, Sung was "informed by confidential sources" that Tuttle was using his connections with the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office ("HCPO") and "local mobs" to harm Sung in an effort to prevent Sung from pursuing his claims against Tuttle, Wong, and Tong. (Comp. ¶ 23). That same year, "local drug gangs repeatedly attacked Sung outside his West New York dental office." (Id.). Sung attaches to his complaint a police report from June 1994 indicating that he was the victim of a robbery in which a man stole his briefcase. This report, he says, constitutes evidence of the repeated attacks on him by local gangs who wanted him to stop pursuing his claims against Tuttle, Wong, and Tong. (Comp. Exh. V, DE 1 p. 43). Sung asked the HCPO and the West New York Police ("WNYP") for protection, but both allegedly refused to help. (Comp. ¶23).

         Sung also asked the WNYP in 1994 for protection, but Detective Edmund Comfort indicated to Sung that Comfort did not know who the attackers were or how to locate them. (Comp. ¶ 27). Sung notes in an attachment to his Complaint that Detective Comfort later pled guilty to two conspiracy counts for his involvement in a corruption scheme. (Comp. Exh. W, DE 1 p. 44).

         After none of the authorities would offer protection to Sung in the mid-1990s, Sung kept a gun in his West New York dental office and "hid a BB gun in his minivan for self-defense" to protect against future attacks. (Comp. ¶¶ 23, 28). Sung then supposedly found out that the groups that attacked him were "controlled and sent" by the WNYP. (Id.). Sung informed the FBI about this alleged misconduct. (Id.).

         On July 22, 1994, while "recording [a] conversation with a 'hitman' sent by the HCPO" and WNYP, Sung was arrested in Hudson County. (Comp. ¶¶ 24, 27). During that arrest, the police searched Sung's car and found the BB gun hidden there. (Id.). As the basis for his arrest it was alleged that Sung was attempting to use the BB gun to kill Tuttle and that Sung was "trying to hire a hitman to kill Tuttle." (Id.). "HCPO then conspired with Sung's lawyer and coerced Sung" to plead guilty to possession of a weapon. (Id.). HCPO "refused to return" Sung's seized property, including his car. (Id.). HCPO also allegedly did not return the $50, 000 bail money posted by Sung's brother. (Id.). Sung attaches an order entered in 2012, denying his motion to transfer venue of his criminal case; the order recites that Sung had been sentenced some 15 years previously, in 1997, and that no criminal matter was currently pending. (Comp. Ex. T, DE 1 p. 41)

         HCPO purportedly was protecting Tuttle, a former prosecutor "with powerful friends and mob ties." (Id.). Sung summarizes the alleged wrongdoing of HCPO as follows: HCPO knew Tuttle, Wong, and Tong committed crimes but refused to arrest them because of Turtle's connections; refused to investigate attacks against Sung; dismissed an indictment against Wong; and deliberately arrested Sung without probable cause. (Id.).

         After Sung's arrest, the attacks on him stopped, but the WNYP never arrested any of his attackers. (Comp. ¶ 29). Consequently, Sung had to move his dental office out of West New York. (Id.). Sung sues HCPO and WNYP for breach of public trust and civil rights violations. (Comp. ¶ 29).

         Sung also seeks to reclaim property from the New Jersey Unclaimed Property Administration ("NJUPA"), which disbursed $126, 784 to Mrs. Tuttle from the Van Foo and Mr. Tong II dissolution. The basis for the award was a mortgage note that the Tuttles allegedly fabricated. (Comp. ¶ 31).

         With respect to the New Jersey AG's Office, Sung alleges that between 1990 and 2017 (the particular dates are not specified) he complained to their office several times about the crimes and corruption outlined above. (Comp. ¶ 35). However, the NJAG allegedly "refused to do anything because it too is corrupt." (Id.).

         II. Motion to Vacate Entry of Default

         On July 20, 2018, the Clerk of the Court entered default against the State Defendants. (DE 13). The State Defendants now assert that good cause exists to vacate the entry of default pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(c). (See NJ State ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.