United States District Court, D. New Jersey, Camden Vicinage
DENARD C. TRAPP, Plaintiff,
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, et al., Defendants.
RENÉE MARIE BUMB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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.
BACKGROUND & PROCEDURAL HISTORY
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.
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].
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).
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
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.
Failure to Serve Amended Complaint
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.
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.
Doctrine of Judicial Immunity
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