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Reyes v. United States Postal Service

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

April 16, 2019

MILDRED REYES, Plaintiff,
v.
THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.

         This 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 DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The 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.

         In the 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.

         Thus, 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.

         On 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.

         II. DISCUSSION

         While 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 Cir. 2014)

         In seeking relief, Plaintiff makes the following representations:

• "[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 ...

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