United States District Court, D. New Jersey
JOHN E. REARDON, Plaintiff,
VINCENT SEGAL, et al., Defendants.
B. SIMANDLE U.S. District Judge.
case, Plaintiff John Reardon, pro se
("Plaintiff") generally alleges that certain
judges, attorneys, and others violated his constitutional and
statutory rights in connection with Plaintiff's divorce
proceedings in the 1980s. [See generally Docket Item
1.] On September 6, 2018, the Court dismissed the Complaint
for insufficient service of process pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
4(m). [Docket Items 90 & 91.] Now pending before the
Court is a motion by Plaintiff "to set aside [the]
dismissal order and for Leave to re-serve defendants under
Rule 60(b)." [Docket Item 96.] The Court finds as
January 13, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against various
Defendants. [Docket Item 1.] For more than three years,
Plaintiff repeatedly moved for default and default judgment
against these Defendants [see, e.g., Docket Items
18, 21, 27, 43, 59 & 74], but each of his requests was
denied because, as the Court explained to Plaintiff on each
occasion, Plaintiff failed to properly serve any of the
Defendants in this case. [See, e.g., Docket Item
August 13, 2018, the Court notified Plaintiff that the
Complaint would be dismissed unless he established that
service was properly effectuated within 90 days of the filing
of the Complaint, as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m), or
otherwise demonstrated good cause why the action should not
be dismissed. [Docket Item 85.] For the reasons explained in
a Memorandum Opinion dated September 6, 2018 [Docket Item
90], the Court found Plaintiff failed to demonstrate good
cause for his failure to timely serve Defendants and declined
to exercise its discretion to provide him with a further
extension of time. Reardon v. Segal, 2018 WL 4265571
(D.N.J. Sep. 6, 2018). Accordingly, the Court dismissed the
Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 4 (m) and ordered that the
Clerk of Court close the case. [Docket Item 91.]
Plaintiff now asks this Court, pursuant to Rule 60(b), Fed.
R. Civ. P., to set aside the Dismissal Order of September 6,
2018 and grant Plaintiff leave to re-serve the defendants.
[Docket Item 96.] According to Plaintiff, "Judge
Hillman should have moved to notify this pro se
plaintiff on or about November 27, 2015 that service had not
been perfected and that the case would be dismissed without
prejudice on said notice to Mr. Reardon." [Id.
at ¶ 5.] Moreover, Plaintiff argues, "Judge Hillman
did not carry out his duty to move this case along by either
knowingly failing or refusing to move this case along
properly and to therefore delay this case till the statute of
limitations had run out and that he could then protect the
defendants from said lawsuit and damages." [Id.
at ¶ 6.] Plaintiff further argues, "Judge
Hillman's failure to treat this pro se plaintiff with kid
gloves, so to speak, has resulted in the prejudice to this
pro se plaintiff in that he cannot re-file and re-serve this
complaint as it is now time barred due to the inaction of the
court." [Id. at ¶ 7.]
Rule 60(b) motion is "addressed to the sound discretion
of the trial court guided by accepted legal principles
applied in light of all the relevant circumstances."
Ross v. Meagan, 638 F.2d 646, 648 (3d'Cir.
1981). Rule 60(b) "does not confer upon the district
courts a standardless residual of discretionary power to set
aside judgments.'" Moolenaar v. Gov. of the
Virgin Islands, 822 F.2d 1342, 1346 (3d Cir. 1987).
"Rather, relief under Rule 60(b) is available only under
such circumstances that the overriding interest in the
finality and repose of judgments may properly be
overcome.'" Tischio v. Bontex, Inc., 16
F.Supp.2d 511, 533 (D.N.J. 1998) (quoting Martinez-McBean
v. Gov. of the Virgin Islands, 562 F.2d 908, 913 (3d
Cir. 1977); see also Moolenaar, 822 F.2d at 1346
("The remedy provided by Rule 60 (b) is extraordinary
and special circumstances must justify granting relief under
it.'") (internal citation omitted). "Rule 60(b)
must be applied '[s]ubject to the propositions that the
finality of judgments is a sound principle that should not
lightly be cast aside, [and] ... is not a substitute for
appeal.'" Kock v. Gov. of the Virgin
Islands, 811 F.2d 240, 246 (3d Cir. 1987) (internal
noted above, Plaintiff essentially claims in his Rule 60(b)
motion that it is Judge Hillman's fault that Plaintiff
failed to properly serve any of the defendants in this case
over a three-year period of time. Plaintiff is wrong.
Notwithstanding Plaintiff's pro se status, he
must still follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which
require any plaintiff "to serve (in the absence of a
waiver) both the complaint and a court-issued summons, which
it is [the plaintiff's] duty to request from the District
Court within  days of the filing of the complaint."
Snyder v. United States, 404 Fed.Appx. 695, 697 (3d
Cir. 2010) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(a), (b), (c) & (m)).
"If the plaintiff fails to do so within that time, Rule
4 (m) requires the District Court to determine whether he or
she has shown good cause for the failure." Id.
(citing Boley v. Kaymark, 123 F.3d 756, 758 (3d Cir.
1997). Plaintiff failed to timely serve any of the Defendants
or show good cause for his failure when given the opportunity
to do so. For these reasons, and others, the Court dismissed
the Complaint for insufficient service of process pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m). In the pending motion, Plaintiff has not
demonstrated anything remotely close to "extraordinary
circumstances'' that would justify setting aside the
Court's Dismissal Order under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b).
Accordingly, and for good cause shown;
this 24th day of June, 2019
that the Clerk of Court shall
REOPEN the case upon the docket;
and it is further
that Plaintiff's motion "to set aside dismissal
order and for Leave to re-serve defendants under Rule
60(b)." [Docket Item 96], shall be, and hereby is,
DENIED; and it is further
that the Clerk of Court shall CLOSE
the case upon the docket.