Return to: Media News

Rymir's Court Case Truths



Did the New Jersey Appellate Division erred in applying the legal doctrine of Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel to the issue of paternity where the Court gave preclusive effect to a vacated order of another jurisdiction in contravention of New Jersey law?
The law in this case involves issues that affect thousands of potential Family Court litigants each year who are involved in Paternity, Custody and other Family Court related matters that cross state lines. These cases bring forward numerous questions related to the doctrines of Res Judicata, Collateral Estoppel, Full Faith and Credit, and Personal and Subject Matter Jurisdiction, whereby the courts and those seeking to establish parental obligations frequently encounter fraudulent attempts by parties to avoid these obligations via these legal doctrines.
The Appellate Division in published opinion incorrectly applied the doctrines of Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel. Specifically, the Appellate Division relied on a prior Pennsylvania Court holding that allegedly answered the question of paternity of Rymir.
It appears as if Appellate Division ignored key facts and circumstances surrounding the instant action, including, but not limited to, the salient fact that the Pennsylvania Order relied upon as dispositive on the question of paternity was vacated by a subsequent Pennsylvania Order. As such, the original order cannot be viewed as a final order or resolution of the issue of paternity, and accordingly, cannot be the basis for a denial of Appellant’s Motion on res judicata/collateral estoppel grounds.
These issues of general public importance and, by creating new rules with regards to the issues of collateral estoppel and res judicata, namely, reliance on a vacated judgment in a neighboring State Action as preclusive of issues of paternity, the Appellate Division conflicted with substantial precedent.
Moreover, the Appellate Division’s Order ignored established precedent that vacated orders cannot be viewed as final judgments on the merits such that the legal doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel apply. By granting Full Faith and Credit to a vacated judgment of a different jurisdiction, the Appellate Division ignored precedent in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the alternate forum. Such a decision will have substantial implications for countless, future litigants in paternity, custody and other family related matters, as more and more family court litigants are forced to institute and defend actions in different jurisdictions.
As stated herein, for purposes of issue preclusion, “final judgment” includes any prior adjudication of an issue in another action that is determined to be sufficiently firm to be accorded conclusive effect. However, a vacated judgment bears no conclusive effect on the underlying action; therefore, it can have no status as a final judgment for purposes of other actions. “As a general rule, a vacated judgment and the factual findings underlying it have no preclusive effect; the judgment is a legal nullity.”
Moreover, the public policy interests underpinning the legal doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel are not served by giving a vacated judgment preclusive effect. First, courts favor the final repose of decisions.
The purpose of our court system is to resolve disputes. If different parties representing the same interest are allowed to successively relitigate the same facts and issues, final judgment would become an illusive, if not an unattainable. That is not the case with a vacated judgment. A vacated judgment is essentially a nullity and any reliance upon same is not serving the purpose of avoiding re-litigation of a final issue. The vacated judgment is simply not a final judgment on the merits, and accordingly, there is no danger of inconsistent judgments.
The May 19, 2011 Pennsylvania Advisory Order(Ex. 3) and subsequent New Jersey actions(Ex.5 ) wholly ignore the separate action initiated by non-party Graves on or about April 4, 2011(Ex. 2 ). An advisory Order such as PA May 19, 2011 is not binding on the Court nor the parties and was entered in error. This action of April 4, 2011 established that non-party Graves was not in fact the father of RYMIR, and left opens once again the question of RYMIR’s paternity. Following the April 18, 2011 Order(Ex. 2 ), party moved to Vacate the July 16, 2010 Graves Order of Paternity(Ex.1). So, on December 9, 2011(Ex. 4), the July 16, 2010 Order(Ex. 1) was vacated, and therefore, the question of RYMIR’s paternity was once again open and unresolved.
Rymir became a legal resident of New Jersey per a NJ Court Order effective June 14, 2011 while he was still a minor and in high school. On June 14, 2012 PA although, there was nothing to transfer PA relinquished all Jurisdiction of Rymir’s paternity to New Jersey his home state which was undisputed by parties.
In this case, it is clear that the New Jersey Appellate Division erred in giving preclusive effect to the PA July 16, 2010(Ex. 1)Paternity Order that was later vacated by a Pennsylvania State Court on petition on December 9, 2011(Ex. 4). Moreover, the Appellate Division ignored the April 18, 2011 disestablishment of Robert(Ex. 2) paternity and failed to grant Full Faith and Credit to the Pennsylvania Order vacating the July 16, 2010 Order(Ex. 4). Contrary to the Appellate Court’s March 8, 2017 Opinion the issue of paternity is still very much in doubt in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. See Appellant’s Opinion (https://www.leagle.com/decision/innjco20170308549) ,

Parties have federal questions as to why the New Jersey Appellant did not give credit for the December 9, 2011 Order in PA, Jurisdiction Issues and would like to VOID baseless NJ Orders that were based on fraud.

Attached Orders
1. Pennsylvania July 16, 2010 Order of Graves
2. PA April 18, 2011 Order – Disestablished Graves, Dispositive on Paternity, Support Order Vacated, & in May 2011 Removed from Birth Certificate;
3. PA May 19, 2011 Advisory Order – Judge Peckhrow enters a Order in Error as she was not Aware of PA April 18, 2011 entering which was done in another county where Graves lived.
4. PA December 9, 2011 Order – VACATES Graves July 16, 2010
5. New Jersey November 17, 2014 Order – Judge Polansky states Graves is Rymir’s father again which is physically and legally is impossible since Graves is no longer recognized as the father of Rymir and has been VACATED. Judge Polansky thought Graves July 16, 2010 PA Order was on Appeal in PA and then reversed on April 23, 2013, but this never occurred. Judge’s finding was in part due to defendant’s mischaracterization of the facts and the concealment of evide ...

News Release: Rymir's Court Case Truths
Submitted on: March 01, 2018 02:34:59 AM
Submitted by: shar
On behalf of: www.fclu.org
advertisement