THE RIDGE AT BACK BROOK, LLC VS. W. THOMAS KLENERTA-2345-12T1
Defendant represented himself from the commencement of the action, through the summary judgment stage and when final judgment was entered. Following the entry of final judgment, defendant retained counsel and unsuccessfully sought Rule 4:50 relief, arguing he could not previously afford counsel and did not understand what was required of him in responding to Rule 4:22 requests or in opposing summary judgment. In this appeal, the court vacated the order denying Rule 4:50 relief, concluding the trial judge should have more liberally indulged defendant's argument and remanding for that purpose. The court held the Rule 4:50 motion should have been treated in the same manner as such motions are treated when the moving party has been represented by a negligent attorney, as in cases such as Parker v. Marcus, 281 N.J. Super. 589, 593 (App. Div. 1995), certif. denied, 143 N.J. 324 (1996).