In this appeal, plaintiff argues that she was entitled to have the post-judgment motion judge establish the marital lifestyle pursuant to Crews v. Crews, 164 N.J. 11 (2000) notwithstanding a waiver of that determination at the time the judgment of divorce was entered; and that she was entitled to an increase in her alimony payment. Affirming denial of her motion, the court rejected plaintiff's argument that the court was obligated to conduct a Crews analysis post-judgment because: their Property Settlement Agreement was recently entered; did not reserve such a determination; and was not the product of coercion or duress. Consequently, the court found no basis to impute a higher income to defendant and increase plaintiff's alimony payments.
In this appeal, defendant argued that she was an oppressed minority shareholder under N.J.S.A. 14A:12-7(1)(c) even though she contracted to be an employee at-will. After serving as plaintiff's Chief Financial Officer for thirteen years, she claimed that she had a reasonable expectation of continued employment and that her at-will designation was irrelevant and erroneous. A Consent Order entered by the parties in prior litigation between them validated their Shareholder Agreement and confirmed defendant's at-will status.
The court rejected defendant's reliance upon unpublished out-of-state cases as factually distinguishable and unpersuasive that defendant urged us to adopt for the proposition that an oppressed shareholder may have an expectation of continued employment. The court declined to do so, and affirmed the summary judgment dismissal of defendant's counterclaim on the basis that her at-will status was paramount.
Defendant challenged plaintiff's right to foreclose, arguing N.J.S.A. 12A:3-309 precluded the enforcement of a note, lost prior to the assignment of a concomitant mortgage, because plaintiff never owned or controlled the underlying debt. The court interpreted the statute as allowing the enforcement of a lost note where the assignor – which provided a lost-note affidavit to plaintiff – possessed the note and was entitled to enforce it when the loss occurred, and plaintiff proved the terms of the note and its right to enforce it.
In this appeal involving an interstate custody dispute, the court reverses the Family Part's order denying the South Dakota mother's motion to dismiss. Applying the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, the court concludes the Family Part initially exercised jurisdiction in 2016 based on a mistaken finding that New Jersey was the children's "home state," as the parties' twin daughters did not reside here for six consecutive months immediately before the father filed suit. Furthermore, the trial court should have determined, by the time it decided defendant's motion to dismiss over a year later, that New Jersey lacked "exclusive, continuing jurisdiction," because both parties and their daughters had long been absent from New Jersey, they lacked a significant connection here, and substantial relevant evidence was no longer available here. In any event, New Jersey had become an inconvenient forum. The court remands the case for a stay of further proceedings in anticipation of dismissal.
This court invalidated an arbitration agreement because the parties did not understand the rights that ostensibly foreclosed plaintiff's right to a jury trial. They could have designated an arbitral institution (like AAA or JAMS) or they could have communicated a general method for selecting a different arbitration setting. Identifying the arbitration process is important because it provides a "meeting of the minds" about what replaced a judicial adjudication. Here, the agreement ignored the subject altogether. This court therefore reversed the order compelling arbitration for lack of mutual assent and remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.
This appeal involves the standards and procedures for in camera review and judicial disclosure of a parent's presumptively-confidential juvenile records in child welfare litigation brought by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency ("the Division"), a context not addressed in existing case law.
The Law Guardian objected to the father having unsupervised parenting time with his eighteen-month-old daughter, having learned that he had been adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile several years earlier after for committing sexual offenses upon two minors. The father opposed the court reviewing or disclosing the juvenile records, asserting they are confidential under N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-60.
After hearing oral argument, the Family Part judge reviewed the father's records in camera. The judge then released the records in their entirety to counsel, pursuant to a protective order confining their use to the present Title 30 litigation. The father has appealed the judge's rulings.
The panel affirms the Family Part judge's decision to conduct an in camera review of the records. The panel also upholds the judge's denial of the father's request for the court to conduct an additional hearing after the in camera review was completed. However, because the court's decision to release the records without further hearing was not accompanied by a statement of reasons, as required by case law and Rule 1:7-4, the panel remands this matter for the court to reconsider the matter, make any appropriate modifications, and generate the requisite statement of reasons.
A statute of limitations enacted in 2009 bars residential foreclosure actions commenced after the earliest of three points in time: six years from "the date fixed for the making of the last payment or the maturity date set forth in the mortgage or the note," N.J.S.A. 2A:50-56.1(a), thirty-six years from the recording of the mortgage, N.J.S.A. 2A:50-56.1(b), and twenty years from an uncured default, N.J.S.A. 2A:50-56.1(c). In this appeal, the court rejected a mortgagor's argument that a foreclosure action was time-barred because it was filed seven years after a default and the acceleration of the loan. The court determined that the triggering event in subsection (a)'s six-year provision is the date "set forth in the mortgage or the note," and not the date upon which the mortgagee accelerated the loan, because of subsection (a)'s clear and unambiguous language and because subsection (c) provides a time-frame – twenty years – that begins to run upon an uncured default.
N.J.S.A. 9:17-43(a)(1) establishes a presumption that "[a] man is presumed to be the biological father of a child if . . . [h]e and the child's biological mother [were] married to each other and the child [was] born during the marriage." The decedent here died intestate, leaving siblings and a child, who was born when his mother was married to another man. Decedent's siblings claim this presumption, as well as other circumstances, required the court to assume that the mother's husband had "equitably adopted" the child and thereby severed the child's relationship to the decedent. The court affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment, holding that N.J.S.A. 9:17-43(a)(1)'s presumption had been rebutted by DNA evidence that conclusively established that the decedent fathered the child, and that the other circumstances were of insufficient weight to cause a break in that natural relationship.
Plaintiff is a certified radon measurement and mitigation business regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection ("DEP") and the largest radon measurement business in the State. While the DEP was pursuing a regulatory enforcement action against the company, the company filed suit against the DEP and several DEP officials in the Law Division, alleging improper conduct and violations of its constitutional, statutory, and common-law rights.
Defendant moved to dismiss the company's constitutional and civil rights claims, asserting their alleged conduct was shielded under principles of qualified immunity. The trial court partially denied the immunity motion and ordered the parties to proceed with discovery.
The panel concludes the trial court misapplied principles of qualified immunity and should have dismissed the corresponding counts of the complaint. The DEP did not violate "clearly established" equal protection and due process rights by pursuing a regulatory enforcement action against the company, and by directing that communications between the company and the agency be channeled through their respective attorneys while the contentious administrative litigation was ongoing. Among other things, the panel notes that a regulatory agency must retain the discretion to interact with private parties in a manner it deems most efficient and effective, so long as it responds to outside inquires within a reasonable time and in a reasonable manner. Discovery on these claims was unnecessary, as defendants have qualified immunity from suit, not just a final judgment. The matter is remanded to adjudicate other open counts of the complaint.
In a separate unpublished opinion issued today, the panel affirmed in part the findings of the DEP Commissioner and the two administrative law judges that the company committed various regulatory violations, and reversed and remanded those findings in part.
In this appeal, a now-evicted tenant of a residential apartment, which he sublet to another, argued that only the subtenant, whose conduct generated the tenancy action, could be evicted. In affirming a judgment of possession, the court rejected the tenant's strained interpretation of the Anti-Eviction Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1(c), and conclude that a wrongful act of one permits the eviction of all occupants.
Although the court affirmed the termination of parental rights of these parents, who executed an identified surrender and were removed to Peru, their country of origin, the court emphasized the need to put on the record all matters in child protective services litigation resulting in an order, even when the parties present consent to the order. Notice should also be provided to biological parents when the Division of Child Protection and Permanency seeks to vacate an identified surrender and seek termination of parental rights.