United States District Court, D. New Jersey
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Mildred
Reyes's motion to reopen the case. ECF No. 26. For the
reasons set forth below, the motion is
underlying facts and procedural history of this matter were
laid out in the Court's November 6, 2018 Opinion
("November Opinion"), familiarity with which is
assumed. ECF No. 23.
November Opinion, the Court dismissed Plaintiffs complaint
without prejudice after Plaintiff failed to effectuate
service on Defendants Maria Hope and the United States Postal
Service ("USPS") by court-imposed deadlines. In
dismissing the case, the Court found that (1)
Plaintiff received prior notice that it had failed to
effectuate service; (2) despite receiving an
extended deadline, Plaintiff failed to effectuate service;
and (3) Plaintiff did not demonstrate good cause to
further extend the deadline. Id. at 2-3. The Court
also declined to grant a discretionary extension of time.
Id. at 3.
on November 6, 2018, the Court dismissed Plaintiffs complaint
without prejudice. Id. At that point, ten months had
passed since Plaintiff filed her complaint, see ECF
No. 1, more than two months had passed since USPS informed
Plaintiff of her failure to properly serve either Defendant,
see AUSA Letter (Aug. 23, 2018), ECF No. 16, more
than a month and a half had passed since the Court
specifically ordered Plaintiff to serve the U.S. Attorney,
see Order (Sept. 21, 2018), ECF No. 21, and more
than a month had passed since the Court's explicit
deadline of October 1, 2018. Id.
December 6, 2018-one month after the matter was
dismissed-Plaintiff filed proof of service on the U.S.
Attorney. See ECF No. 25. Two months later,
Plaintiff filed the present motion to reopen the case, ECF
No. 26, attaching an affidavit from Plaintiff's counsel
("Goldfield Affidavit"), ECF No. 26-1.
Plaintiff's motion does not cite any particular rule, the
Court construes it as a motion for relief pursuant to FRCP
60. See Eun Hee Choi v. Kim, 258 Fed.Appx. 413, 414
(3d Cir. 2007) (analyzing motion to reopen case under FRCP
60(b)). Under Rule 60, "the court may relieve a party .
. . from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for [one of
several enumerated] reasons," including: "mistake,
inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect" or the
catchall "any other reason that justifies relief."
FRCP 60(b). The decision is within the district court's
discretion, but relief under the catchall provision is only
warranted in "extraordinary circumstances" not
present here. Cox v. Horn, 757 F.3d 113, 120 (3d
seeking relief, Plaintiff makes the following
• "[P]laintiff forwarded service documents to the
Essex County Sheriffs office on September 20, 2018 to be
served upon United States Attorney."
• "Not having received proof of service from the
Sheriffs office, even after telephoning their office on
multiple occasions, on November 28, 2018, plaintiffs counsel
forwarded correspondence by first class mail as well as by
facsimile to the Sheriff requesting the status of the service
upon the United States Attorney."
• "Thereafter, on December 11, 2018, plaintiffs
counsel received proof of service from the sheriffs office
indicating service was effectuated to the United States
Attorney on November 16, 2018."
• "Contrary to the Court's opinion, ECF No. 23,
plaintiff has effectuated service on USPS and Hope by serving
the United States Attorney for the district where ...