Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
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.

Trapp v. State

United States District Court, D. New Jersey, Camden Vicinage

May 10, 2019

DENARD C. TRAPP, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          RENÉE MARIE BUMB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court, sua sponte, upon its review of pro se Plaintiff Denard C. Trapp's Amended Complaint, filed February 22, 2018 [Dkt. No. 19], which named U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan as a defendant. For the reasons set forth herein, Plaintiff's claims against Judge Sheridan shall be DISMISSED. In accordance with Local Civil Rule 40.1(h), this Court will also notify the Chief Judge of this decision with a recommendation that the case be reassigned to Judge Sheridan.

         I. BACKGROUND & PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Pro se Plaintiff commenced this by filing his initial Complain on July 18, 2018 [Dkt. No. 1], alleging Constitutional Due Process violations by the State of New Jersey, Municipal Court Judge Susan Clark, and Municipal Prosecutor Sean Kean, in relation to his arrest in the Tinton Falls Municipal Court on May 23, 2017. On February 22, 2018, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint, naming additional defendants, including Judge Sheridan.

         Having named Judge Sheridan as a defendant, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Disqualify Judge Sheridan from presiding over this matter on April 25, 2018 [Dkt. No. 22]. On May 10, 2018, Judge Sheridan granted Plaintiff's Motion to Disqualify due to his status as a named defendant [Dkt. No. 25]. The case was subsequently reassigned to this Court [Dkt. No. 26].

         On July 18, 2018, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed a letter [Dkt. No. 30] notifying the Court that Plaintiff had failed to properly serve a copy of the Amended Complaint upon Judge Sheridan within 90 days after the Amended Complaint was filed, as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(i) and 4(m).

         On November 20, 2018, this Court ordered Plaintiff to show cause within 10 days as to why he failed to serve his Amended Complaint and why his claims against Judge Sheridan should not be dismissed. Although the Clerk of the Court mailed a copy of that Order to Plaintiff's last known address, the mail was returned as undeliverable [Dkt. No. 32]. Almost 6 months have passed since this Court's Order to Show Cause, yet Plaintiff has neither filed a response nor updated his mailing address (as required by Local Civil Rule 10.1(a)).

         II. DISCUSSION

         On this Court's sua sponte review of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, the Court finds that Plaintiff's claims against Judge Sheridan must be dismissed. First, Plaintiff has failed to serve his Amended Complaint upon Judge Sheridan within 90 days of filing. Second, Plaintiff's claims against Judge Sheridan are patently frivolous and barred by the doctrine of judicial immunity.

         A. Failure to Serve Amended Complaint

         Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m), if a defendant is not served within 90 days after the complaint is filed, the Court must dismiss the action without prejudice against that defendant or order that service be made within a specified time.

         Over a year has passed since Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint and almost 6 months have passed since this Court ordered Plaintiff to show cause why he had not served the Amended Complaint. Despite ample time and opportunity to effectuate service, Plaintiff has failed to do so. The U.S. Attorney's Office filed a letter on the docket specifically offering to accept service on behalf of Judge Sheridan, so Plaintiff cannot claim that he did not know where to serve the Amended Complaint.

         B. Doctrine of Judicial Immunity

         Under Local Civil Rule 40.1(h), if a case is reassigned to another judge as a result of the originally assigned judge being named as a defendant in that matter, "the newly assigned Judge shall promptly determine whether the suit against the Judge is patently frivolous or judicial immunity applies." In this case, even if Plaintiff had effectuated ...


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.