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IONNO & HIGBEE


ATTORNEYS AT LAW, LLC
ATTORNEY ID 025992102
140 S. BROADWAY, SUITE 5
PITMAN, NJ 08071
TELEPHONE: (856) 553-6810
rebccca@ionnolaw.com
ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF

MAR 1 6 2015
ATLANTIC COUNTY
LAW DIVISION

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RODERICK B. KNOX and NICOLA M.


KNOX, husband and wife,
Plaintiffs,

v.

SUPEIUOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY


LAW DIVISION- ATLANTIC COUNTY
Docket No.: ATL-L-6587-13
Civil Acti.on

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, NEW


JERSEY
DIVISION
OF
CHILD
PROTECTION AND PERMANENCY
(F/K/A) DIVISION OF YOUTH AND
FAMILY SERVICES), YOUMA KABIAWILLIAMS,
SHEILA
PIERCEWILLIAMS, DEBORAH
WARREN,
CENTER FOR FAMILY SERVICES,
HELPING HANDS FOSTER CARE
PROGRAM, DAWN DAVIS, AND JOHN
DOES I THROUGH 25, INCLUSIVE,
FICTITIOUS NAMED DEFENDANTS,
JOINTLY, SEVERALLY, AND IN THE
ALTERNATIVE,

AMENDED COMPLAINT, DEMAND


FOR JURY TIUAL, DESIGNATION OF
TIUAL COUNSEL AND DEMAND
PURSUANT TO RULE 1:4-8

Defendants.
Plaintiff.~

Roderick B. Knox and Nicola M. Knox, husband and wife, residing in the

Township of Egg Harbor, County of Atlantic, State ofNew Jersey, by way of Complaint against
defe1idants, say:

FIRST COUNT

1. At all relevant times, Plaintiff Roderick B. Knox and Plaintiff Nicola M. Knox, husband
and wife, wete individuals approved by Defendants the State. of New Jersey, New Jersey
Division of Child Protection and Pennanency formerly known as the Division of Youth and
Fan1ily Services (hereinafter collectively referred to as "DCPP"), the Center for Family
Services, and the HelpingHands Foster Care Program (hereinafter collectively referred to as
"Helping Hands") to care for foster children and who did, in fact, welcome a female foster
child, J .S., into their home in or about August, 2109.
2. At all relevant times herein, Defendant the State of New Jersey, was responsible for the
actions and inactions of the employees of its DCPP agency,
3 .. At all relevant times herein, Defendant Center for Fan1ily Services, with its principal
place of business being 584 Benson Street, Camden, NJ 08103, was responsible for the actions
and inactions of the employees of its Helping Hands Foster Parent program,
4. Defendant Youma Kabia-Williams was J.S.'s case worker with DCPP at the time she
was placed in -Plaintiffs' home.
5. Sheila Pierce-Williams, was the DCPP Resource Supervisor at the time J.S. was placed
in Plaintiff's home.
6. Deborah Warren was the facilitator at the DCPP Resource who interfaced with
Defendant Helping Hands when J.S. was placed in Plaintiffs' home.
7. Dawn Davis was the Case Manager assigned to J.S for Defendants CFS and Helping
Hands at the time J.S. was placed 'in Plaintiffs' home.
8.

At all relevant times herein, Defendants Jqhn Docs l tlumigh 21:; inclusive, are fictitious

names for persons, public entities, corporations, or other legal entities,Ythe..i(lentities of which
2

are unknown at present, but who are responsible to Plaintiffs by reason of their knowing
participation in the wrongful acts described herein with~Defendants
DCPP and Helping Hands
.,
by reason of their aiding, abetting, authorizing, ratifying, condoning, participating in, or
conspiring with their Co-Defendants to pmticipate in and commit the wrongful acts referred to
herein.
9. Defendant Helping Hands' purports to offer its foster families "the training and
support ... to help you work through the challenges and joys of foster parenting" and that it
provides "intensive support services" available 24-hours and an "extensive training program."
A.'l .

I 0. Plaintiffs relied on the honesty, integrity, and competency of Defendants DCPP and
Helping Hands and the individual defendants to ensure that Plaintiffs were fully infonned as to
the background and challenges of mw foster children Defendants DCPP and Helping Hands
asked Plaintiffs to accept into their home.
11. Plaintiffs relied on the honesty, integrity, and competency of Defendants DCPP and
Helping Hands and the individwil defendants to not place a foster child with Plaintiffs when it
was clear from the child's background and the professional opinions of individuals who had
been involved in her treatment that .Plaintiffs' home was not suitable given that foster child:s
unique.history and needs.
12. Defendants DCPP and Helping Hands and the individual defendants both negligently or
intentionally failed to satisfy their duties and obligations to Plaintiffs.
13. Defendants DCPP and Helping Hands and the individual defendants were negligent in
the !ll8fUler in which they hired, trained, and supervised their employees/agents, who failed to
ensure that the direction that J.S. not be placed in a fost~~ home in which any adult male resided
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was followed and failed to ensure that Plaintiffs were fully informed of J.S.'s history and
special needs and considerations ptior to accepting her placement in their home.
14. Defendants DCPP and Helping Hands and the individual defendants knew or had reason
to know

or would have discovered upon reasonable investigation that a failure to hire, train, and

supervise their employees to ensure that foster children were placed in approptiate homes
created a tisk of harm to the foster families and foster children relying on their programs.
15. As a result of the negligence of Defendants DCPP and Helping Hands and the individual
defendants, Plaintiffs were exposed to J.S., a reckless and dangerous individual, who ultimately
caused Plaintiff.~ severe emotional and financial injuties.
16.1n or about August, 2109, Plaintiffs accepted placement of J.S. in their home through
Defendru1ts DCPP, then known as DYFS, and Helping Hands.
17. Ptior to being placed in Plaintiffs' home J.S. had a documented history of having been
sexually abused as a child and of having been sexually active from a young age.
18. Prior to being placed in Plaintiffs' home, J.S. falsely accused an adult uncle with whom
she; -resided while under the care and supervision of her gra11dmothcr of sexually assaulting her
in retaliation for having been disciplined.
19. Prior to being placed in Plaintiffs' home J.S. had a documented history of showing
inappropriate sexual interest and making inappropriate attempts at sexual interaction with adult
males.
20. Ptior to being placed in Plaintiffs' home J .S. had a documented history of lashing out in
response to even minor correction or discipline, which lashing out often included making false
allegations of sexual abuse or assault against the individual who corrected or disciplined her.

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21. Prior to being placed in Plaintiffs' home J.S. was caught conspiring with another
resident of the treatment facility in which she then resided to falsely accuse an adult male
employee of the facility of sexual assault.
22. Prior to being placed in Plaintiff's home, J.S. accused Donald Medley, an adult male
employee of the facility in which J.S. had resided, of sexual assault and criminal charges were
brought against Mr. Medley based on J.S.'s allegations, which charges were still pending in
Camden County when J.S. was placed in Plaintiffs' home in Atlantic County.
23. Prior to being placed in Plaintiffs' home, it was determined by professionals who had
treated and interacte<Lwith J.S. that J.S. should not be placed in a foster hmile with an adult
male because of her llistory of inappropriate sexual behavior toward adult men and her history
of making false allegations of sexual assault against adult men who exercised any autl10rity over
her.
24. In addition to the specific history J .S. had of sexual abuse, early sexual promiscuity,
inapprop1iate sexual interest in adult men, and making false allegations of sexual assault, J.S.
'"'

also had a documented history of intellectual challenges, serial dishonesty, and violent!,;,
outbursts; J.S. was a very destructive child with very special needs.
25. At the time J.S. was placed in Plaintiffs' home Defendants DCPP and Helping Hands
and the individual defendants knew or should have known and negligently or intentionally
failed to inform Plaintiffs that J.S. had been sexually abused as a child and had been sexually
active fi'mu a young age.
26. At the time J.S. was placed in Plaintiffs' home Defendants DCPP and Helping Hands
and the individiml defendants knew or should have known and negligently or intentionally
failed to inform Plaintiffs that J.S. had previously falsely accused an adult uncle with whom she
5

resided while under the care and supervision of her grandmother of sexually assaulting her in
retaliation for having been disciplined.
27. At the time J.S. was placed in Plaintiffs' home Defendants DCPP and Helping Hands
and the individual defendants knew or should have known and negligently or intentionally
fhiled to infom1 Plaintiffs that J .S. had a documented history of inappropriate sexual interest and
attempted sexual interaction with adult males.
28. At tl1e time J.S. was placed in Plaintiffs' home Defendants DCPP and Helping Hands
and the individual defendants knew or should have known and negligently or intentionally
failed to infonn,Plaintiffs. that J.S. had a documented history of lashing :outlin.iesponse to even
minor correction or discipline, which lashing out often included making false allegations against
the individual who corrected or disciplined her.
29. At that time J.S. was placed in Plaintiffs' home Defendants DCPP and Helping Hands
and tl1e individual defendants knew or should have known and negligently or intentionally
failed to infonn Plaintiffs that J .S. had accused an adult male employee of the facility in which
she had previously resided of sexually assaulti11g her or that criminal charges were pending
against :qer alleged assailant.
30. At the ti.mc J.S. was placed in Plaintiffs' home Defendants DCPP and Helping Uands
and the individual defendants knew or should have known and negligently or intentionally
failed to infonn Plaintiffs that it had been determined by professionals who had treated and
interacted with J.S. that J.S. should not be placed in a foster home with an adult male.
31. At the time J .S. was placed in Plaintiffs' home Defendants DCPP and Helping Hands
and the individual defendants knew or should have known and negligently or intentionally

failed to infonu Plaintiffs that, in addition to her history of sexual issues listed above, J.S. had
intellectual challenges, was a serial liar, and was prone to violent outbursts.
32. At the time J.S. was placed in Plaintiffs' home Defendants DCPP and Helping Hands
and the individual defendants knew or should have known and negligently or intentionally
failed to inform Plaintiffs that J.S. was a very destmctive child with very special needs.
33. At the time J.S. was placed in Plaintiffs' home Defendants DCPP and Helping Hands
and the individual defendants knew or should have known that Plaintiffs did not have the
knowledge or training to deal with a child with J.S.'s history and needs and negligently failed to
:provide the necessary knowlcdgc'and training to Plaintiffs,,,,:..

" :,

34. Defendants DCPP and Helping Hands and the individual defendants denied Plaintiffs
their right to be infonued of J.S.'s history and needs prior to accepting her placement in their
home.
35. By concealing J.S.'s history and needs from Plaintiffs, Defendants DCPP and Helping
Hands and the individual defcndantsnegligently or intentionally denied Plaintiffs' their right to
make an infonued decision as to whether they were willing to accept the risks inherent with
accepting placement of a child such as J.S. in their home.
36.

By concealing J.S.'s history and needs from Plaintiff.~, Defendants DCPP and Helping

Hands and the individual defendants negligently or intentionally denied PlaintilTs' even the
opportunity to request the necessary training to care for a child such asJ.S.
37. J.S.'s sexual assault allegations against Donald Medley, an employee of a facility where
J.S. had received treatment for her multiple emotional and behavioral issues were proven to be
false.

38. A matter of months after being placed in Plaintiffs' home, J.S. began to show an
inappropriate sexual interest in Plaintiff Roderick Knox.
39. Plaintiff Roderick Knox told J.S. that she could not interact with him in that way and
that he had no choice but to advise her caseworker.
40. J.S. then pleaded with Plaintiff Roderick Knox not to tell her caseworker because she
believed she would be sent to a mental health facility if her caseworker leamed she had
approached Plaintiff Roderick Knox sexually.
41. When Plaintiff Roderick Knox told her he had to report her she became very angry.
42. Shortly thereafter J.S. accused Plaintiff Roderick Knox of sexually assaulting her.
43. Despite J.S.'s history of making false and retaliatory allegations of sexual assault against
adult males in positions of authority over her and a lack of evidence to support her allegations
against Plaintiff, the Atlantic County Prosecutor pursued charges against Plaintiff based on
J.S.'s word.
44. On February 19, 2110, Plaintiff Roderick Knox was arrested and indicted on 13 counts
related to Hh's allegations that he sexually assaulted her while she \Vas living.in his home as a
foster child.
45. Both Plaintiff and his wife and Co-Plaintiff suffered extreme emotional distress as a
result of J.S.'s false allegations and the resulting criminal charges.
46. Both Plaintiff and his wife and Co-Plaintiff also suffered extreme financial damages as a
result of J.S. 's false allegations and the resulting criminal charges.
47. First, Plaintiff is a public employee, employed as a Fire Fighter for the City of Atlantic
City.

48. The day after he was arrested based on J.S.'s false allegations Plaintiff was suspended
without pay.
49. At the same time, Plaintiff was forced to retain an attorn~y to represent him in defending
against the criminal charges brought based on J.S.'s false allegations.

50. Thus, Plaintiff simultaneously lost his income and incurred the significant financial
burden of paying for legal representation as well as the hard costs of preparing his defense,
which costs neared $100,000.
51. Plaintiffs also lost valuable property that was destroyed by law enforcement during the
criminal investigation, inch1ding, but not limited to an automobile, an 'il?hone, clothingJ;bedding,
and other personal items.
52. In addition to the severe economic damages and emotional distress suffered by Plaintiff
and his wife and Co-Plaintiff as a result of J.S.'s false allegations against Plaintiff, Plaintiff
suffered the additional emotional distress and humiliation of having his two then-teenaged
.daughters learn of J.S.'s allegations and witness the emotional pain they suffered.
I'

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53. Further still, given the naturc,.of the charges.! against him and the media coverage)':
Plaintiff was unable to find alternate employment to ~upport his family and pay the costs of
defending himself agaiust the false charges.
54. On October 3, 2112, after a two-week trial, Plaintiff was exonerated by a jury of his
peers on all 13 counts of the indictment.
55. As a direct and proximate result of Defendants' misconduct, Plaintiff has been harmed.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Roderick and Nicola Knox, husband and wife, demand
judgment against the defendants jointly, severally, and in the alternative, for compensatory

damages, punitive damages, interest, attorney's fees, costs of suit, and such other relief as is just
and equitable.
. SECOND COUNT

56. Plaintiffs hereby incorporate paragraphs I through 51 as though set f01th in full herein.
57. Defendants DCPP and Helping Hands' agents and employees were, at the time involved,

acting within the scope and course of their employment or agency with Defendant the State of
New Jersey, and acted under color of law pursuant to the New Jersey Civil Rights Act of21 04,
N.J.S.A. 10:6-1, ct. seq., which includes, but is not limited to, viohitions of Plaintiff's rights
under the Ne.wdersey State Constitution and violations of New JerseyeStatutes.

\;;L.c

58. As a direct and proximate result of Defendants DCPP, Helping Hands, and John Does 1
25's conduct in violation of the Civil Rights Act of2104 and the New Jersey State Constitution,
Plaintim have been damaged.
59. Defendants DCPP, Helping Hands, and the individual defendants and John Does I ~21
are liable to Plaintiffs for dan1ages .
. ~ WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Roderick and Nicola Knox, lnisband and wife, demand ~
.judgment against the. defendants jointly, severally, and in the alternative, for compensatory
damages, ptmitive damages, interest, attomey' s fees, costs of suit, and such other relief as is just
and equitable.

THIRD COUNT
60. Plaintiffs hereby incorporate paragraphs 1 through 55 as though set forth in full herein.

61. Defendants DCPP, Helping Hands, and the individual defendants and John Docs 1-21 's
extreme and outrageous conduct as described above was intentional and intended to produce

10

emotional distress or was carried out with a reckless disregard for the likelihood that it would
result in emotional distress.
62. As a direct and proximate result of Defendants DCPP, Helping Hands, and the
individual defendants and John Does 1-21 's outrageous conduct, Plaintiffs suffered emotional
distress so severe that JlO reasonable person could be expected to endme it.
63. As a direct and proximate result of Defendants DCPP, Helping Hands, and the
individual defendants and John Does 1-21 's intentional infliction of emotional distress,
Plaintiffs have been damaged.
''' ;,,, 64. Defendants DCPP, Helping Hands, and the itic\Jyidual defendants and John Does 1-21
are liable to Plaintiffs for damages.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Roderick and Nicola Knox, husband and wife, demand
judgment against the defendants jointly, severally, and in the altemative, for compensatory
damages, punitive damages, interest, attorney's fees, costs of suit, and such other relief as is just
and equitable.

FOURTH COUNT
65. Plaintiff hereby incorporates paragraphs I through 60 as though set forth in full herein.
66. At all relevant times, Defendants DCPP, Helping Hands, and John Does !-25's agents
and employees were responsible for J.S.'s care,
67. As described above, Defendants DCPP, Helping Uands, and John Does !-25's agents
and employees conunitted a wrongful act when they placed J.S. in Plaintiffs' home.
68. Defendants DCPP, Helping Hands, and John Does !-25's are vicariously liable for the
wrongful conduct of its employees and agents, whose wrongful conduct was committed within

11

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and outside the scope of their authorities as employees and agents of Defendants and caused
severe emotional and economic injuries to Plaintiffs.
69. Defendants DCPP, Helping Hands, and John Does !-25's are liable to Plaintiffs for
punitiv~

damages as Defendants' actions were especially egregious and Defendants' were

willfully indifferent to the risk presented by J.S.'s presence in a household in which an adult
male resided.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Roderick and Nicola Knox, husband and wife, demand
judgment against the defendants jointly, severally, and in the alternative, for compensatory
damages, punitive damages, interest, attorney's fees, costs of suit, and such otlier''telief as is just '''1~
m1d equitable.
EIGHTH COUNT

70. Plaintiffs hereby incorporate paragraphs I through 65 as though set forth in full herein.
71. Defendants DCPP, Helping Hands, and John Does !-25's were negligent in the manner
in which they hired, trained, and supervised their employees and agents responsible for placing
J.S. in Plaintiffs' home when they knew or should have known that she posed a danger to any
adult male with \vhom she resided ancVor who was in any position of authority over her, such as
Plaintiff Roderick Knox.
72. As a result of Defendants DCPP, Helping Hands, and John Does !-25's negligence and
ratification of the. conduct of their agents and employees, Plaintiffs were exposed to J.S . , a
dangerous individual, who ultimately caused Plaintiffs' severe emotional and economic injuries.
73. Defendants DCPP, Helping Hands, and John Docs !-25's are liable in damages to
Plaintiff, including compensatory m1d punitive. damages m1d for damages caused by their
negligence.
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WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Roderick and Nicola Knox, husband and wife, demand
jndgiiient against the defendants jointly, severally, and in the alternative, for compensatory
damages, punitive danmges, interest, attorney's fees, costs of suit, and such other relief as is just
and equitable.
NINTH COUNT

74. Plaintiffs hereby incorporate paragraphs I through 69 as though set fotih in full herein.
75. As a direct and proximate result of the combined negligence of the defendants, Plaintiff
has been damaged.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs;.,Roderick and Nicola Knox, husband and \Vife;\ demand
judgment against the defendants jointly, severally, and in the altemative, for compensatory
damages, punitive damages, interest, attomey's fees, costs of suit, and such other relief as is just
and equitable.

ION NO & HIGBEE


Attorneys for Plaintiff

.I

BY:

Dated:

jl ~~ )~

/~~-~

'SEBASTIAN B. IONNO, II

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAl,


Plaintiffs hereby demand a trial by jmy as to all issues.
IONNO & HIGBEE
Attomeys for Plaintiff

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l_~_--_-~_-_----_--_--_-

DY :_

,-----

SEBASTIAN B. IONNO, II

DESIGNATION OF TRTAL COUNSEL


Plaintiffs hereby designates Sebastian D. Ionno, JI, Esq. as trial counsel in this matter.

\________.---/---------~
BY:

SEBASTIAN B. IONNO, II

CEHTIFICATION
The undersigned cmmsel certifies that there are no other actions or arbitrations pending or
contemplated involving the subject matter of this controversy at tltis time, and there are no
additional known partieS who should be joined to the present action at this time. 1 certifY the
foregoing to be true. I run aware if the above is willfhlly false, I am subject to punishment.

14

RULE 1:4-8 DEMAND


Plaintiffs and their counsel hereby demand, pursuant to Rule 1:4-8, that the defendants or
their agents, servants, or employees, or attorneys provide rn1y and all facts rn1d documents upon
which they base

ruw contention that this Complaint was instituted or continued in whole or in part

for improper reasons, or that the claims are, in whole or in part, frivolous or without basis in law or

BY:

' :!J '

15

1'1AR 0 g 2.015

IONNO & HIGBEE, ATI'ORNEYS AT LAW, LLC


ATTORNEY ID 025992002
140 SOUTH BROADWAY, SUITE 5
PITMAN, NEW JERSEY 08071
TELEPHONE: (856) 553-6810
FAX: (856) 553-6821
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF

RODERICK B. KNOX and NICOLA M.


KNOX, husband and wife,

Supmior Court of Nw Jersey


County of Atlantic

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY


LAW DIVISION - ATLANTIC COUNTY

Plaintiffs,

Docket No.: ATL-L-6587-13


'

v.

Civil Action

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, NEW


JERSEY
DIVISION
OF
CHILD
PROTECTION AND PERMANENCY
(F/K/A) DIVISION OF YOUTH AND
FAMILY SERVICES), CENTER FOR
FAMILY SERVICES, HELPING HANDS
FOSTER CARE PROGRAM, AND JOHN
DOES I THROUGH 25, INCLUSIVE,
FICTITIOUS NAMED DEFENDANTS,
JOINTLY, SEVERALLY, AND IN THE
ALTERNATIVE,

ORDER

Defendants.

THIS MAlTER having been brought before the Court by Sebastian B. IOJmo, Esquire, of
Ionno & Higbee, LLC, counsel for plaintiffs, and the Court having considered the argmnents of
counsel and good cause appearing,

IT IS, on tllis

-~~day of March, 2015, ORDERED that the Plaintifis' Motion for leave

to ftle an Amended Complaint in the form aruJCxed to Plaintiffs counsel's Certification as Exllibit
"I" be and hereby is granted; said Amended Complaint to be filed
counsel's receipt ofthis Order.

wi~~~ (:W)

days of

r1AR 0 9 2015
Superior Court o! New Jersey
County of Atlantic

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE


COMMITTEE ON OPINIONS
120 I Bacharach Boulevard

JAMES P. SAVIO, J.S.C.

Atlantic City, NJ 08401-4527


(609) 594-3415

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
PURSUANT TO RULE 1:6-2(1)

CASE:

Knox v. State of New .Jersey, et als

DOCKET#:

ATL-L-6587-13

DATE:

March 9, 2015

MOTION:

Leave to Amend Complaint

MOVANT:

Sebastian B. Ionuo, Esquire- Plaintiffs

PAPERS REVIEWED: Notice of Motion, Certification of Counsel, Exhibits

HAVING CAREFULLY HEVIEWEn THE PAPERS SUBMITTED CONCERNING THE


ABOVE CAPTIONEJ) MOTION, I HAVE RULED AS FOLI,OWS:

Plaintiffs, Roderick B. Knox and Nicola M. Knox, bring this motion seeking to amend the
Complaint. The Complaint was filed on October 31, 2013. This is a New Jersey Law Against
Discrimination (LAD) action. At the time of the filing of the Complaint, the identities of the
agents/employees of defendant, State of New Jersey, who were responsible for the placement of
the minor foster child in plaintiffs' home were unknown. Plaintiffs were unable to name any of
said individual defendants in this matter, and, instead, included John Does 1-25 as fictitious parties.
Through discovery, plaintiffs have discovered the identities of the individual agents/employees of
defendants, State of New Jersey, New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency
(DCPP), Center for Family Services (CFS), and Helping Hands Foster Care Program, responsible

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."The Judiciary ofNew Jersey is 1111 equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer"

for placing the minor foster child in plaintiffs' home. Plaintiffs' proposed Amended Complaint
seeks to add Yotmm Kabia-Williams, the minor's case worker with DCPP at the time she was
placed in plaintiffs' home; Paulette Thomas, a prior case worker with DCPP involved in the
minor's case; Shelia Pierce-Williams, the DCPP Resource Supervisor at the time the minor was
placed in plaintiffs' home; Deborah Warren, the facilitator at the DCPP Resource who interfaced
with Defendant Helping Hands when the minor was placed in plaintiffs' home; and Dawn Davis,
the case manager assigned to tlie minor for Defendants CPS and Helping Hands.
R. 4:26-4 provides:
In any action, irrespective of the amount in controversy, other than an action
governed by ,R. 4:4-5 (affecting specific property or a res), if the defendant's true
name is unknown to the plaintiff, process may issue against the defendant under a
fictitious name, stating it to be fictitious and adding an appropriate description
sufficient for identification. Plaintiff shall on motion, prior to judgment, amend the
complaint to state defendant's true name, such motion to be accompanied by an
affidavit stating the manner in which that information was obtained. If, however,
defendant acknowledges his or her tme name by written appearance or orally in
open comt, the complaint may be amended without notice and affidavit. No final
judgment shall be entered against a person designated by a fictitious name.

The plaintiff certifies that the records that plaintiti had at the inception of this action did
not reveal the names of the potential defendants. The plaintiff certifies that the names of these
parties were diligently sought during discovery.
The plaintiffs have complied with the above rule. Plaintiff may substitute Youma Kabia"
Williams, Paulette Thomas, Shelia Pierce-Williams, Deborah Warren, and Dawn Davis for the
fictitious defendants named in the original complaint. Accordingly, the plaintiffs' motion is
granted. The plaintiffs shall file an amended complaint within twenty (20) days of this decision.
The Amended Complaint shall be identical to the Amended Complaint attached to this motion

which includes Youma Kabia-Williams, l'aulette Thomas, Shelia Pierce-Williams, Deborah


Wanen, and Dawn Davis.
An appropriate Order has been entered and accompanies this Memorandum of Decision.
Counsel for the plaintiff shall serve a copyofthe Order and a copy ofthe Memorandum of Decision
on all pmties within the next seven days.