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Case 3:15-cv-02524-FLW-DEA Document 1 Filed 04/09/15 Page 1 of 28 PageiD: 1

KENNETH ROSELLINI (6047)


ATTORt'ffiY AT LAW
636A VanHouten Avenue
Clifton, New Jersey 07013
(973) 998-8375 Fax (973) 998-8376
Attorney for Plaintiffs, Christopher Zimmer, Sr. and Nicole Zimmer
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
~ftcit~~~~~,MMER, SR. AND- ---l~~A~~o~--------------

Plaintiffs,

---~

~aseNo.:

I!THE NEW JERSEY


v.
hURY TRIAL DEMANDED
DIVISION OF CHILD!

FROTECTION
AND
PERMANENCY!
iC"DCP&P") (formerly Division of Youth &j
iFamily Services), LISA VON PIER, in heri
iofficial
capacity
as
Director
ofl
jDCP&P/Assistant Commissioner of the Ne\\1
~Tersey Department of Children and Familiesj
1
(''DCF"), ALLISON BLAKE, in her official!
1capacity as the Commissioner of DCF,J
1
IMONIQUE DYKES, in her individual!
[capacity, and MICHELLE MARCHESE, in!
!her individual capacity,
J

VERIFIED COMPLAINT and JURY


DEMAND

I
~-

[_ _J:)efendat~t~'---------------L ........................... ______ ................................................

Plaintiffs Christopher Zimmer, Sr. and Nicole Zimmer, in the above-captioned matter, by
and through theit- counsel of record, for their causes of action against Defendants, state as
follows:

PARTIES
I. Plaintiff, Christopher Zimmer, Sr. (referred to at times as "Mr. Zimmer") is currently
domiciled in the State of Jersey, and has resided in Warren County, New Jersey at times
relevant to this Complaint, and is the father of C

rZ

2. Plaintiff, Nicole Zimmer (referred to at times as "Mrs. Zimmer") is currently domiciled


in the State of Jersey, and has resided in Warren County, New Jersey at times relevant to

Case 3:15-cv-02524-FLW-DEA Document 1 Filed 04/09/15 Page 2 of 28 PagelD: 2

this Complaint, and is the mother of C


and C

(together Mr. Zimmer, Mrs. Zimmer

. are sometimes referred to as the "Zimmers" or the "Zimmer

family").
3. The Defendant, The Division of Child Protection and Permanency ("DCP&P") (formerly
the Division of Youth and Family Services, hereinafter referred to at times throughout
this complaint as "DYFS"), is New Jersey's child protection and child welfare agency
within the Department of Children and Families.
4. The Defendant, Lisa Von Pier ("Pier") is the cunent Director of DCP&P and is liable tor
her actions in her official capacity done under color of state law. This Defendant is
entrusted to protect the Constitutional rights of those she encounters and at all times
relevant hereto was acting within the scope of her duties and authority, under color or
title of state law supervised or controlled one or more of the Defendants herein, or acted
in concert with one or more of the other individual Defendants in the performance or
conduct of their actions.
5. The Defendant, Allison Blake ("Blake") is the current Commissioner of the Department
of Children and Families and is liable for her actions in her oftlcial capacity done under
color of state law. This Defendant is entrusted to protect the Constitutional rights of
those she encounters and at all times relevant hereto was acting within the scope of her
duties and authority, under color or title of state law supervised or controlled one or more
of the Defendants herein, or acted in conceit with one or more of the other individual
Defendants in the performance or conduct of their actions.
6. Defendant, Monique Dykes ("Dykes"), is currently employed as a supervisor of child
protective services workers and during relevant times to this Complaint and is liable for

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her acts and omissions in her individual capacity done under color of state law. This
Defendant is enhusted to protect the Constitutional rights of those she encounters and at
all times relevant hereto was acting within the scope of her duties and authority, under
color or title of state law supervised or controlled one or more of the Defendants herein,
or acted in conceit with one or more of the other individual Defendants in the
performance or conduct of their actions.
7. Defendant, Michelle T. Marchese ("Marchese"), is upon information and belief currently
employed as a child protective services worker by DCP&P and during relevant times to
this Complaint and is liable for her acts and omissions in her individual capacity done
under color of state law. This Defendant is entrusted to protect the Constitutional rights
of those she encounters and at all times relevant hereto was acting within the scope of her
duties and authority, under color or title of state law and acted in concert with one or
more of the other individual Defendants in the performance or conduct of their actions.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
8. The jurisdiction ofthis Court is invoked by Plaintiffs pursuantto28 U.S.C. 1331, 1343
and 1367 which confer original jurisdiction upon the Court on the grounds that the instant
action arises under the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Civil Rights Act of 1871, as amended,
42 U.S.C. 1981, 1983, 1985, 1986 and 1988.
9. Venue in the New Jersey District is properly laid pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1391, in so far
as the following alleged unlawful conduct complained of in this Complaint, which forms
the factual and legal basis of the claims of the Plaintiffs, arose within the geographical
limits of this District.

Case 3:15-cv-02524-FLW-DEA Document 1 Filed 04/09/15 Page 4 of 28 PageiD: 4

FACTUAL BACKGROUND
I 0. Plaintiffs Christopher Zimmer, Sr. and Nicole Zimmer are the loving parents of
C

who is fifteen years old.

I I. The Zimmers are domiciled in Warren County, New Jersey and reside in a one-family
home.
12. Christopher Zimmer, Sr. and Nicole Zimmer have exercised their Fundamental
Constitutional Rights as parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and
control of their child, C

13. The Zimmers have exercised their Fundamental Constitutional Rights of Freedom of

Association, including the rights to maintain or exclude human relationships as a choice


of intimate or expressive association, including the choice of homeschooling C
Z

in a manner academically equivalent to that provided in the local public

school.
14. The Zimmers have exercised their Fundamental Constitutional Right to Bear Arms, and
have maintained lawfitl possession of firearms.
15. The Zimmers have the Fundamental Constitutional Right to be fiee from unlawful
investigations performed under color of state law that threaten removal of children from
parents by state agencies, where there is no reasonable and articulable evidence giving
rise to a reasonable suspicion that a child has been abused or is in imminent danger of
abuse.
16. The Zimmers have the Fundamental Constitutional Right to be free ti'om unlawful
investigations performed under color of state law whose purpose is to fabricate evidence
tor the purpose of depriving persons ofConstihltional Rights.

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17. On January 13, 2015, the Zimmers were together peacefully at their home.
18. On January 13, 2015, there was no reasonable and articu1able evidence giving rise to a
reasonable suspicion that C

had been abused or was in imminent

danger of abuse by the Plaintiffs or anyone else.


19. On January 13,2015, unannounced, the Defendant Michelle T. Marchese appeared at the
front door ofthe home of the Zimmers.
20. Upon information and belief, the Defendant Monique Dykes directly supervised the
conduct of Marchese with respect to the investigation by DCP&P ofthe Zimmer family.
21. When Marchese appeared at the front door of the home of the Zimmers, Christopher
Zimmer, Sr. asked Marchese why she was at the Zimmers' home.
22. Marchese stated that she was a DCP&P caseworker and that she categorically had to
come into the Zimmer f.unily home "Now!"
23. When pressed again by Christopher Zimmer, Sr. as to why Marchese, as a DCP&P
caseworker, had authority to come into the Zimmers' home, Mr. Zimmer was told by
Marchese that she was there to investigate the Plaintif:fu' homeschooling of their child
C

rZ

24. Marchese fi1rther stated that the DCP&P had allegedly received a call from someone,
whose name she did not provide, that C

rZ

. was not getting the "proper

homeschooling", and she was at the Zimmer home under the authority of DCP&P to
make sure the Plaintiffs were homeschooling C

rZ

. "correctly".

25. Marchese and the DCP&P never stated to the Zimmers the nature ofthe homeschooling
of C

rZ

. that they were allegedly not performing "correctly".

26. Christopher Zimmer, Sr. told Marchese that she could not come into the Zimmer family

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home, and she did not have his consent to enter the home.
27. Marchese interrupted Christopher Zimmer, Sr.'s statement that she was not allowed into
his home by emphatically asse1ting that he had to let her in "right now" and he "could not
refuse" her entry.
28. Christopher Zimmer, Sr. then proceeded to call the local police and told Marchese to
have a seat in her DCP&P van while he called them.
29. The local police arrived and failed to remove Marchese fiom the Zimmers home, instead
allowing her to continue to threaten and investigate the Zimmers without a warrant or
probable cause.
30. The Zimmers, under duress and the coercive threats of Marchese acting under color of
state law, then proceeded to allow Marchese into their home against their will,
involuntarily.
31. During the entire ordeal, Marchese never advised the Zimmers of their Constitutional
Rights.
32. Now in the Zimmers home, Marchese informed the Zimmers that the DCP&P categorizes
its investigations into two "tiers".
33. The "first tier" consisted of allegations of "higher", more immediate threat cases dealing
with abuse and neglect of children.
34. The "second tier" consisted of "less severe" cases, which apparently did not deal with
abuse and neglect of children.
35. Marchese advised the Zimmers that she had appeared at the Zimmers' home under this
"second tier" of cases which' are "less severe" and apparently did not deal with abuse and
neglect of children.

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36. Marchese then sat down at a table at the Zimmers' home with all three of the Zimmers
present.
37. Marchese against stated her name, that she was acting on authority of DCP&P, and then
reiterated that she was at the home investigating a call about C

rZ

.'s

homeschooling and she was there to make sure that he was receiving the "proper
education".
38. Marchese then began inteiTogating Nicole Zimmer about her homeschooling of
C

rZ

. and about whether she had any written records concerning tests,

grades, attendance and form of cutTiculum.


39. Nicole Zimmer explained to Marchese some of her successful teaching methods for
C

rZ

40. Nicole Zimmer explained to Marchese that she was not required to maintain written
records under New Jersey Law.
41. Marchese then asserted that such records were required by New Jersey Law, while failing
to cite any legal authority for her assettion.
42. In fact, the State of New Jersey clearly recognizes the rights of parents to homeschool
their children where they "receive equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school (see
N.T. Stat. Ann. 18A:38-25), and there is no legal authority for Marchese's assettion that

written homeschooling education records be maintained by law.


43. In fact, during Marchese's lengthy interrogation, she never once stated what allegation
the purported anonymous caller made to give DCP&P probable cause to believe that
C

rZ

. was not receiving a proper education by homeschooling.

44. Marchese then instructed the Zimmers that C

rZ

.'s homeschooling had

Case 3:15-cv-02524-FLW-DEA Document 1 Filed 04/09/15 Page 8 of 28 Page\D: 8

to include what the public school system would have taught him, and that they had to
both work with the public school and follow the public school currictdum.
45. In fact, thel'e is no legal requirement that the Zimmers work with the local public school
. and follow the local public school curriculum.
46. When the Plaintiffs explained to Marchese that, due Mr. Zimmer's work schedule in
which he has ce11ain weekdays off, Saturday and Sunday are often considered
work/school days in the Zimmers' household, Marchese proceeded to intel1'ogate
C

rZ

. about what he had done on Sunday.

47. Concerned about the fact that C

r Z

passed away on a Sunday ten days prior, and that C

.'s maternal grandmother had


rZ

. may feel the

need to discuss her passing in response to the question-Mr. Zimmer instructed his son
not to answer the question.
48. Marchese immediately became loud and emphatically questioned why Mr. Zimmer was
"being so defensive".
49. When Mr. Zimmer told Marchese that she had no legal right to involuntarily question
them in their home about their homeschooling of C

r Z

., Marchese

asserted that she had such legal right, without citing any legal authority.
50. Marchese now abandoned all pretense of purported ccncern for homeschooling .and
began asking C

rZ

51. For example, Marchese asked C

. completely unrelated questions.


r Z

. what he wanted to be when he

grew-up.
52. C

rZ

. responded that he wanted to be a Marine scout sniper, Marchese

asked him why and, before he had a chance to answer, whether he liked to play the video

Case 3:15-cv-02524-FLW-DEA Document 1 Filed 04/09/15 Page 9 of 28 PageiD: 9

game "Call of Duty".


53. Mr. Zimmer again asserted that C

r Z

. did not have to answer that

question.
54. lvlr. Zimmer was concerned, inter alia, about the fact Marchese was attempting to link his
son's answer about the fact he wanted to be a Marine scout sniper to a video game.
55. In fact, C

rZ

.'s grandfather was in the army, and his uncles were in the

rZ

. has relatives on both sides of his family that are o1 were

navy.
56. In fact, C

in the militmy, and he is aware that real life military experience is nothing like video
games.
57. In fact, C

rZ

. had asked his parents to take him to a Marine recruiting

office in Rockaway, New Jersey approximately two years prior to talk about what he had
to do if he wanted to become a Marine.
58. C

rZ

. was explained to by the United States Marine Corps recruiter

about the ASVAB test (which is a multiple-aptitude battery that measmes developed
abilities and helps predict fbture academic and occupational success in the military which
is administered annually to more than one million military applicants, high school, and
post-secondary students).
59. C

r Z

. was also advised by the Marine recruiter of the physical and

other requirements to become a Marine.


60. The Plaintiffs have bought their son an ASV AB book, at their son's request, so he can
study it.
61. The Plaintiffs have bought their son a home exercise machine, also at his request, that in

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his room.
62. Concerned that Marchese and DCP&P were trying to make improper associations,
fabricate evidence and delve into associations which are protected under the First
Amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America, Mr. Zimmer asserted
that this questioning by Marchese should stop.
63. Again, Marchese immediately became loud and emphatically questioned why Mr.
Zimmer was "being so defensive".
64. Marchese then questioned C

rZ

. as to whether or not he had ever told

anyone that he doesn't do schoolwork.


65. C

rZ

. responded that he had never made such a statement.

66. Mr. Zimmer again assetted to Marchese that the questioning should stop
67. Again, Marchese immediately became loud and emphatically questioned why Mr.
Zimmer was "being so defensive", this time assetting that Mr. Zimmer was also being
"angry".

68. Again, Mr. Zimmer asserted and explained to Marchese that she had no right to compel
the Zimmers to let her into their home and interrogate them in this manner.
69. Marchese then asserted that she had the right to be in the home to interrogate the
Zimmers, and asked when was the last time that they had read up on the homeschooling
laws because, she asserted, the laws had changed.
70. When Mr. Zimmer demanded that Marchese produce the legal authority for her
questioning and provide what homeschooling laws had purportedly "changed", Marchese
refused and/or failed to provide any legal authority, stating that she didn't have the
information "with her", but she could get it for them.

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71. At one point, Marchese asked if C

r Z

. was up to date with his

vaccines, to which Mrs. Zimmer answered yes.


72. When Mrs. Zimmer expressed that she did have concerns about the risks of the use of
vaccines and was aware of New Jersey law the provided for religious exemptions from
vaccination, Marchese stated snidely that C

rZ

. "looked o.k." to her.

73. Marchese now demanded that Plaintiffs sign HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act) Medical Release Forms so that DCP&P would have fhll access to all
of C

rZ

.'s medical records.

74. Marchese then demanded that the Zimmers provide the last four digits of their Social
Security Numbers so that DCP&P could perform a background investigation on the
Zimmers.
75. The Zimmers signed the HIPPA forms and provided the Social Security number
information, believing that their ordeal with the DYFS interrogation would be over.
76. Instead, Marchese persisted and continued her interrogation of C
77. Marchese then asked C

r Z

rZ

. whether the Plaintiffs argue, and he

answered "occasiona11i).
78. Marchese then asked C

rZ

. whether when the Plaintiffs argue, did he

rZ

. whether the Plaintiffs threw things at each

rZ

. whether the Plaintiffs drank alcohol, and

rZ

. whether he had ever seen illegal drugs in

get scared, and he answered no.


79. Marchese then asked C
other, and he answered no.
80. Marchese then askeD C
he answered no.
81. Marchese then asked C

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the house, and he answered no.


82. Marchese then asked C

rZ

. whether there were weapons in the house.

83. PlaintiffS' son looked to Mr. Zimmer, who proceeded to answer the question.
84. Mr. Zimmer told Marchese that the Zimmers have lawfully possessed firearms at their
home and a small collection of pocket knives that his son collects.
85. Marchese then asked Zimmer if there was anything like "hig swords" in the home, and
Mr. Zimmer answered no.
86. Mr. Zimmer proceeded to inform Marchese that the firearms were in fact lawfully in their
possession and secure in a gun safe.
87. Marchese then asked who had the keys to the safe, and Mr. Zimmer answered that only
he had the keys.
88. Marchese now demanded to see the firearms and where C

rZ

. sleeps.

89. Mr. Zimmer then took Marchese to the room where the firearms are stored in the safe.
90. Mr. Zimmer further explained to Marchese that C

r Z

. is legally

licensed by the New Jersey Division ofFish and Wildlife to hunt with a firearm.
91. Once at the safe, Marchese attempted to open the safe herself, and it did not open.
92. Marchese then instructed Mr. Zimmer to open the gun safe, and show her the guns.
93. When Mr. Zimmer opened the gun safe, Marchese instructed him to pull out a gun and
show it to her so she could see it better, which he did.
94. Marchese then asked Mr. Zimmer if the ammunition was kept separate from the firearms,
and he pointed to an empty ammo can next to the gun safe, she said o.k.
95. Marchese then attempted to quote from New Jersey statutory law regarding keeping guns
and ammunition separate.

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96. Marchese now asked Mr. Zimmer if his son was or had ever appeared to be suicidal,
which Mr. Zimmer answered no.
97. Marchese now proceeded to go into C

r Z

.'s room and observe

everything in plain view, followed by her opening a door that goes to a bathroom.
98. As Marchese was getting to ready to leave the Zimmers' home, she was talking about
getting back to the Zimmers with the homeschooling laws and that maybe she could help
them "tweak" their routine.
99. Subsequent to the involuntary intenogation at their home by Marchese of the DCP&P,
the Zimmers proceeded to revoke the HIPPA Releases.
100.

Subsequent to the involuntary interrogation at their home by Marchese of the

DCP&P, the Zimmers proceed to retain an attorney to protect their Constitutional Rights.
101.

By letter of their Counsel to Marchese faxed to the Warren County DCP&P office

on January 30, 2015, to the attention of Marchese, the Plaintiffs demanded that DCP&P
immediately cease and desist any direct communications with the Zimmer family and any
of their health care providers.
102.

By letter of their Counsel to Marchese faxed to the WmTen County DCP&P office

on January 30, 2015, the DCP&P was placed on Notice that it must immediately Cease
and Desist any ftnther violations of the Zimmer family's rights under, inter alia, the First,
Second, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution for the
United States of America.
103.

By letter oftheir Counsel to Marchese faxed to the Warreu County DCP&P office

ou Jauuary 30, 2015, Plaintiffs demanded that DCP&P immediately produce any and all
allegations, notes and/or records which it may have with respect to any investigation of

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the Zimmer family conducted by the DCP&P, and that it immediately destroy any
medical information regarding the Zimmer family which may have been obtained by way
of medical releases which were procured fi"orn the Zimmer family under unlawful duress
by the DCP&P.
I 04.

By letter of their Counsel to Marchese faxed to the Warren County DCP&P office

on January 30, 2015, Plaintiffs demanded that DCP&P immediately produce the
purported legal authority under which DCP&P conducted its search and interrogation of
the Zimmers.
105.

The Zimmers did not receive any communication fiom the Defendants after

January 13, 2015, until they received a letter in the mail dated March 9, 2015 from
DCP&P, signed by Marchese as "Family Service Specialist" and Monique Dykes as
"Supervising Family Service Specialist", which states:
RE: C

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Zimmer,


We were unable to complete our assessment as it pertains to a referral made to our
agency on l/07/15, as you were unwilling to cooperate with the CWS referral
process.
Therefore, DCP&P will not be providing services to your child and your family at
this time.
If you need any additional services, please contact the State Central Regishy 24hour service number at 1-877-652-2873.
Thank you for your cooperation during our recent contacts.
106.

The DCP&P and Marchese have failed and/or refused to respond to the demands

in the January 30, 2015 letter from the Zimmers' legal counsel that they produce any and
all allegations, notes and/or records which it may have with respect to any investigation

Case 3:15-cv-02524-FLW-DEA Document 1 Filed 04/09/15 Page 15 of 28 PageiD: 15

of the Zimmer family conducted by the DCP&P, and that it immediately destroy any
medical information regarding the Zimmer family which may have been obtained by way
of medical releases which were procured fiom the Zimmer family under unlawful duress
by the DCP&P.
107.

The DCP&P and Marchese have failed attd/or refused to respond to the demands

in the January 30, 2015 letter fiom the Zimmers' legal counsel that they prodttce the
purported legal authority under which DCP&P conducted its search and interrogation of
the Zimmers.
108.

In fact, DCP&P's letter dated March 9, 2015 is an unlawful attempt to

mischaracterize DCP&P's Un-Constitutional investigation of the Zimmers in violation of


their Fundamental Constitutional Right to be free from unlawful investigations performed
under color of state law that threaten removal of children fiom parents by state agencies,
where there is no reasonable and mticulable evidence giving rise to a reasonable
suspicion that a child has been abused or is in imminent danger of abuse.
109.

In fact, DCP&P's letter dated March 9, 2015 is an unlawful attempt to

characterize DCP&P's Un-Constitutional investigation and Un-Constitutional search of


the Zimmers' home under threat of removal of the child for allegedly "improper
homeschooling" as an attempt by DCP&P to offer to the Zimmers purportedly beneficial
"services" it could provide the Zimmers.
110.

In fact, DCP&P never even offered any specific "services" that it could provide

the Zimmers.
111.

In fact, DCP&P employed Un-Constitutional government coercion in an attempt

to impose its "services" upon the Zimmers in violation of the First and Fomieenth

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Amendments.

112.

In fact, Marchese and the DCP&P never stated to the Zimmers what type of

homeschooling of C

r Z

. they were allegedly not performing

"correctly".
113.

In fact, the DCP&P's characterizing the investigation of the Zinimer family as a

"second tier" investigation that did not involve abuse or neglect, demonstrates that the
Defendants knew there was no probable cause of abuse or neglect and that it had no
authority to justify its intrusive and coercive investigation of the Plaintiffs.
114.

In fact, DCP&P's investigation into the Zimmer family was an attempt to

fabricate evidence for the purposes of violating the Plaintiffs' rights under the First,
Second, Fomth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution for the United
States of America.
115.

In fact, the Defendants acted without lawful jurisdiction and under the Un-

Constitutional asse1tion of Parens Patriae authority.

116.

In fact, based on the Defendants' conduct as set fmth supra, Plaintiffs are in

reasonable and substantial fear that the Defendants will again act against them without
lawful jurisdiction unless an injunction issues fiom this Court enjoining the Defendants
fiom future Un-Constitutional conduct.

117.

In fact, based on the Detendants' conduct as set forth supra, the Plaintiffs have

been injured by the Defendants' Un-Constitutional conduct and there is a real and
immediate danger that DCP&P will continue and repeat its Un-Constihttional conduct
and cause further and more permanent injury to the Zimmers.

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FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF


42 U.S.C.A. 1983- VIOLATION OF FIFTH AMENDMENT AI'I'D FOURTEENTH
AJVIENDMENT RIGHTS BY DEFEi\'D~"'TS, THE DIVISION OF CHILD
PROTECTION AND PERMANENCY, LISA VON PIER AND ALLISON BLAKE

118.

Plaintiffs Christopher Zimmer, Sr. and Nicole Zimmer incorporate by reference

the allegations contained in the above paragraphs, as though fully set forth here.

119.

The Defendants, The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (formerly the

Division of Youth and Family Services, "DYFS"), Lisa Von Pier and Allison Blake are
charged with the responsibility and duty to protect and serve the public by properly
hiring, supervising, training, disciplining and controlling child protective service workers
under their command.
120.

This responsibility includes promulgation and enforcement of rules and

regulations regarding avoidance of threats and abuse of process in the investigation of


allegations of child abuse.
121.

On information and belief, Defendants DCP&P, Lisa Von Pier and Allison Blake,

failed to promulgate adequate rules and regulations regarding avoidance of threats and
abuse of process in the investigation of allegations of child abuse and further failed to
instruct, discipline and train in the appropriate methods for handling and investigating
allegations of child abt1se without resorting to threats and abuse of process.

122.

On information and belief, Defendants DCP&P, Lisa Von Pier and Allison Blake,

established through tacit authorization or explicit instruction a policy or custom of


allowing DCP&P workers to commit abuse of process. That policy was enacted and
enforced with deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of Plaintiffs.

Case 3:15-cv-02524-FLW-DEA Document 1 Filed 04/09/15 Page 18 of 28 PageJD: 18

123.

Plaintiffs have been harmed by such policy.

124.

Such policy is violative of Plaintiffs' due process rights under the Fifth

Amendment, which states in pertinent part that no person shall "be deprived of life,
liberty, or property, without due process of law ... " and the Fomteenth Amendment,
which states iu pertinent pm1 that no State may "deprive any person of life, liberty, or
property, without due process of law ... ", to the Constitution of the United States of
Ame!'ica.
125.

This development, implementation, and carrying out of a policy, practice,

procedure, or custom amounts to cruel and unusual punishment and a deprivation of life
and liberty under 42 U.S. C. Section 1983.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, Christopher Zimmer, Sr. and Nicole Zimmer, respectfully
demand judgment against the Defendants, The Division of Child Protection and Permanency,
Lisa Von Pier and Allison Blake, jointly and severally:
A) For Injunctive Relief in the form of an order requiring that the explicit instruction
and policy be made requiring DCP&P workers to refrain from abuse of process.
SECOND CLAIM FOR RELIEF
42 U.S.C.A. 1985- CONSPIRACY TO VIOLATE CIVIL RIGHTS .
126.

Plaintiffs incorporate by reference the allegations contained in paragraphs above,

as though fully set forth here.


127.

Defendants reached a meeting of the minds amongst themselves that incidents of

abuse of process would be tolerated notwithstanding the constitutional implications of


such abuse and the likelihood such conduct would be repeated.

Case 3:15-cv-02524-FLW-DEA Document 1 Filed 04/09/15 Page 19 of 28 PageiD: 19

128.

On information and belief, this meeting of the minds can be proven through

Defendants incidents of abuse of process and from the repeating of that conduct in an
effort to deny Plaintiffs rights of due process.
129.

These conspiracies constituted and continue to constitute ongoing violations of 42

U.S. C. Section 1985.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, Christopher Zimmer, Sr. and Nicole Zimmer, respectfully


demand judgment against the Defendants, The Division of Child Protection and Permanency,
Lisa Von Pier, Michelle Marchese and Monique Dykes, jointly and severally, molded by the
Court to maximize the financial recovery available to Plaintiffs in light of the caps on cettain
damages set fmth in applicable federal and state law and for:
A)

Damages in the amount of$10,000,000.00; and

B)

Punitive Damages in the amount of$50,000,000.00; and

C)

Awarding counsel fees to Plaintiffs legal counsel; and

D)

Awarding Costs of Suit; and

E)

Interest; and

F)

Damages for Pain and Suffering; and

G)

For such other relief as the Comt may determine to be appropriate.

THIRD CLAIM FOR RELIEF


42 U.S.C.A. 1983- VIOLATION OF DUE PROCESS AND EQUAL PROTECTION
RIGHTS BY DEFENDANTS
130.

Plaintiffs, Christopher Zimmer, Sr. and Nicole Zimmer incorporate by reference

the allegations contained in paragraphs above as though fi.tlly set forth here.
131.

The acts and/or omission of Defendants in this case were perfonned under color

Case 3:15-cv-02524-FLW-DEA Document 1 Filed 04/09/15 Page 20 of 28 PageiD: 20

of law and deprived Plaintiffs of their First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth
Amendment rights under the United States Constitution to due process, compulsory
process, equal protection, and fi"eedom from interference with their fundamental rights as
parents without due process of law.
132.

By virtue of this policy and conduct, Plaintiffs' rights under the Fourteenth

Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, have been violated.
133.

Defendants'

acts

and

omissions

fi.n1hermore

interfered

with Plaintiffs'

fundamental rights to privacy and fl'eedom from excessive interference with raising a
family.
134.

Defendants' acts and/or omissions were a moving force behind an objectively

unreasonable abuse of process against Plaintiffs resulting in the above-referenced


Constitutional violations.
135.

The acts and/or omission of defendants in this case were performed under color of

law and deprived Plaintiffs of their First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth
Amendment rights under the United States Constitution to due process and equal
protection.
136.

This development, implementation, and canying out of a policy, practice,

procedure, or custom amounts to cruel and unusual punishment and a deprivation of life
and libet1y under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.
\VHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, Christopher Zimmer, Sr. and Nicole Zimmer, respectfully

demand judgment against the Defendants, The Division of Child Protection and Permanency,
Lisa Von Pier, Michelle Marchese and Monique Dykes, jointly and severally, molded by the

Case 3:15-cv-02524-FLW-DEA Document 1 Filed 04/09/15 Page 21 of 28 PageiD: 21

Court to maximize the financial recovery available to Plaintiffs in light of the caps on certain
damages set forth in applicable federal and state law and for:
A)

Damages in the amount of $1 0,000,000.00; and

B)

Punitive Damages in the amount of$50,000,000.00; and

C)

Awarding counsel fees to Plaintiffs legal counsel; and

D)

Awarding Costs of Suit; and

E)

Interest; and

F)

Damages for Pain and Suffering; and

G)

For such other relief as the Court may detennine to be appropriate.

FOURTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF 42 U.S.C.A. 1983


VIOLATION OF FIRST, SECOND, FOURTH, FIFTH AND FOURTEENTH
AiVIENDMENTS BY DEFENDAcVIS

137.

Plaintiffs, Christopher Zimmer, Sr. and Nicole Zimmer incorporate by reference

the allegations contained in paragraphs above, as though fully set forth here.
138.

Any and all acts and omissions of Defendants, alleged in this complaint,

constitute actions or omissions under the color and pretense of the laws, statutes,
ordinances, regulations, customs, and usage ofDCP&P.
139.

Defendants owed a duty to protect and serve the public, including Plaintiffs and

those similarly situated.


!40.

Under the circumstances as they existed in this case these Defendants had a duty

to not commit abuses of process.


141.

Defendants were acting under color of state law, instituted and followed policies,

Case 3:15-cv-02524-FLW-DEA Document 1 Filed 04/09/15 Page 22 of 28 PageiD: 22

procedures in a manner that directly resulted in the objectively unreasonable abuse of


process against Plaintiffs resulting in injury.
142.

Defendants in acting under color of state law, acted with deliberate and

unreasonable conduct in violation of clearly established law of which a reasonable child


protective services worker should have known.
143.

In these above-stated actions, Defendants caused Plaintiff to be deprived of rights,

privileges, and immunities, as those rights are secured under the First ("Congress shall
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof; or abridging the fieedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people
peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."),
Second ("A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a fl-ee State, the
right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infHnged"), Fomth ("The right of
the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable
searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon
pmbable cause ...."); Fifth (no person shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or prope1ty,
without due process of law ..." ), and Fourteenth Amendment ("deprive any person of
life, liberty, or property, without due process of law ... " and "no state shall ... deny to
any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws") Amendments to the
United States Consti!lttion.
144.

ln these above-stated actions, Defendants caused Plaintiffs to be deprived of their

rights, privileges, and immunities to be free fiom excessive interference with family
relationships and to due process, as those rights are secured under the Fifth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

Case 3:15-cv-02524-FLW-DEA Document 1 Filed 04/09/15 Page 23 of 28 Page!D: 23

145.

As a direct and proximate result of the acts and omissions described in this

complaint, Defendants are liable in damages to Plaintiffs for deprivation of their rights
under 42 U.S.C.A. 1983.
WHEREFORE, Plaintitis, Christopher Zimmer, Sr. and Nicole Zimmer, respectfully
demand judgment against the Defendants, The Division of Child Protection and Permanency,
Lisa Von Pier, Michelle Marchese and Monique Dykes, jointly and severally, molded by the
Court to maximize the financial recovery available to Plaintiffs in light of the caps on certain
damages set f01th in applicable tederal and state law and for:
A) Damages in the amount of$1 0,000,000.00; and
B) Punitive Damages in the amount of $50,000,000.00; and
C) Awarding counsel tees to Plaintiffs legal counsel; and

D) Awarding Costs of Suit; and


E) Interest; and
F) Damages for Pain and Suffering; and
G) For such other relief as the Court may determine to be appropriate.
FIFTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF
42 U.S.C.A. 1983- RETALIATION FOR PROTECTED ACTIVITY
146.

Plaintiffs Christopher Zimmer, Sr. and Nicole Zimmer incorporate by reference

the allegations contained in above paragraphs, above, as though fully set torth here.
147.

Plaintiffs have maintained their familial relationships and educated their child

consistent with their Constitutional Rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
148.

Plaintiffs have held legal possession of firearms under the Second Amendment.

149.

Defendants' Un-Constitutional conduct was done solely to deprive the Plaintiffs

case 3:15-cv-02524-FLW-DEA Document 1 Filed 04/09/15 Page 24 of 28 PageiD: 24

of their rights under the First, Second and Fomteenth Amendments.


!50.

The above-described acts done by Defendants were in excess of any authority

granted them by law, and were without justification or excuse in law.


151.

Defendants acted willfully, knowingly, and purposely, with the specific intent of

depriving Plaintiffs of their rights.


152.

The acts of Defendants did in fact deny Plaintiffs their rights as those rights are

secured to Plaintiffs in the First, Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States
Constitution and in 42 U.S.C.A. 1983.
153.

As a result of the actions of Defendants, Plaintiffs have been damaged and have

inctUTed great emotional distress, mental anguish, undue hardship, humiliation,


incDnvenience, and loss of enjoyment of life.
154.

As a further direct and proximate result of the above-described unlawful conduct

of Defendants, Plaintiffs will be required to expend money for legal costs and to secure
recovery for damages incurred, in an amount not yet ascertained.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, Christopher Zimmer, Sr. and Nicole Zimmer, respectfully

demand judgment against the Defendants, The Division of Child Protection and Permanency,
Lisa Von Pier, Michelle Marchese and Monique Dykes, jointly and severally, molded by the
CDmt to maximize the financial recovery available to Plaintiffs in light of the caps on certain
damages set forth in applicable federal and state law and for:
A)

Damages in the amount of$1 0,000,000.00; and

B)

Punitive Damages in the amount of$50,000,000.00; and

C)

Awarding counsel fees to Plaintiff's legal counsel; and

D)

Awarding Costs of Suit; and

Case 3:15-cv-02524-FLW-DEA Document 1 Filed 04/09/15 Page 25 of 28 PageiD: 25

E)

Interest; and

F)

Damages for Pain and Suffering; and

G)

For such other relief as the Court may determine to be appropriate.

SIXTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF


(New Jersey Civil Rights Act)

155.

The foregoing paragraphs are incorporated herein in their entirety as if set f01ih in

full.

156.

Defendants have proximately caused the Plaintiffs to suffer the deprivation of

substantive due process, equal protection rights, privileges and/or immunities secured by
the Constitution and/or laws of the United States, and substantive rights, privileges or
'

immunities secured by the Constitution of the United States of America and the laws of
the State ofNew Jersey, by their interference with the rights of the Plaintiffs.
157.

By vittue of the foregoing acts, defendants have violated Plaintiffs' rights under

Section 10:6-2 ofthe New Jersey Statutes (the New Jersey Civil Rights Act), as a result
which Plaintiffs has been damaged.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, Christopher Zimmer, Sr. and Nicole Zimmer, respectfully

demand judgment against the Defendants, The Division of Child Protection and Permanency,
Lisa Von Pier, Michelle Marchese and Monique Dykes, jointly and severally, molded by the
Court to maximize the financial recovery available to Plaintiffs in light of the caps on certain
damages set forth in applicable federal and state law and for:
A) Damages in the amount of$10,000,000.00; and
B) Punitive Damages in the amount of$50,000,000.00; and

C) Awarding counsel fees to Plaintiffs legal counsel; and


D) Awarding Costs of Suit; and
E) Interest; and
F) Damages for Pain and Suffering; and
G) For such other relief as the Comt may determine to be appropriate.

DAMAGE CLAIMS AS AGAINST ALL DEFENDANTS


PUNITIVE DAMAGES
158.

Plaintiffs incorporate by reference the allegations contained in paragraphs above,

as though fully set forth here.


\.59.

In addition to compensatory damages, Plaintiffs hereby make a claim for punitive

damages against Defendants in an amount to be proven at trial for the willful and wanton
acts and omissions of Defendants, to include violation of Plaintiffs' civil rights, as
alleged in this complaint.
160.

The acts and omissions of Defendants in this case wete so gross and culpable in

nature that they constitute reckless indifference and wanton disregard for the law and for
the lives and safety of others, including Plaintiffs.
161.

Defendants committed the acts and omissions alleged in this complaint and

subjected Plaintiffs to improper treatment that caused Plaintiffs to suffer emotional


distress so severe that no person should be expected to endure it.
162.

Defendants' actions should be punished, and an example should be made so that

these actions and omissions are not repeated.


163.

The recovery of punitive damages is permitted under the federal civil rights

case 3:15-cv-02524-FLW-DEA Document 1 Filed 04/09/15 Page 26 of 28 PageiD: 26

Case 3:15-cv-02524-FLW-DEA Document 1 Filed 04/09/15 Page 27 of 28 PageiD: 27

statutes for reckless and callous indifference to the federally protected rights of others,
and is thus appropriate in this case.
164.

This instance of reckless and callous indifference to Plaintiffs' safety and

constitutional rights should be punished through the imposition of punitive damages so as


to make an example of conduct that must not be tolerated.
ATTORNEY'S FEES

165.

Plaintiffs incmporate by reference the allegations contained in paragraphs above,

as thongh fully set forth here.


166.

As a resnlt of Defendants' actions as alleged in this complaint, Plaintiffs have

been reqnired to retain the service of attorneys and are entitled to a reasonable amount for
attorney's fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C.A. 1988 for those violations covered by the Civil
Rights Act.
DAMAGES

167.

Plaintiffs incorporate by reference the allegations contained in paragraphs above,

as though fully set fmih here.


168.

The acts and omissions of Defendants as set torth above have resulted in injury to

Plaintiffs.
!69.

By vittue of these injuries, Plaintiffs are entitled to the following damages fiom

all defendants:
a) For Injunctive Relief in the form of an order requiring that the explicit instruction and
policy be made requiring DCP&P workers to retrain from abuse of process; and
b). Compensatory Damages in the amount of $10,000,000.00; and
c) Punitive damages in $50,000,000 or a reasonable amount that is sufficient to adequately

Case 3:15-cv-02524-FLW-DEA Document 1 Filed 04/09/15 Page 28 of 28 PageiD: 28

punish all defendants and to deter future conduct of the type alleged in this complaint;

and
d) The costs of this action, attorney's fues, and such other and further relief. as this Court
deems just and proper.

JURY DEMAND AND DESIGNATION OF :PLACE OF TRIAL

Plaintiff demands that this matter be tried to a jury of twelve in the United States District
Court for the District ofNew Jersey, Trenton Vicinage.

Dated: April9, 2015


Attorney at Law

CERTIFICATION
I hereby certify that to the b~t_Q(mY information, knowledge and belief that the matter
~

--

"l

'

in controversy is not the subject of any other action pending in any court or of a pending
arbitration proceedtng, that no other action orc,1)!bitratlon is contemplated, and I am not aware of

i ~::

any other person whom should be joined in this matter.


I .

!:> ~ d-. {:!?). ~

Dated: April9, 2015


...,

KENNETHROSELLINI, ESQ. (6047)


Attomey <_!t Law

TRIAL COlTNSEL DESIGNATION


Kenneth Rosellini, Esq. is hereby designated trial counsel in this matter.