Sunday, January 13, 2019
JAMES MURRAY VS. COMCAST CORP., ET AL. (L-2552-16, ATLANTIC COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (A-1987-17T4)
JAMES MURRAY VS. COMCAST CORP., ET AL. (L-2552-16, ATLANTIC COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (A-1987-17T4) Plaintiff filed a civil action against his employer alleging wrongful termination. The Law Division granted defendant's motion to compel arbitration. Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration pursuant to Rule 4:49-2 that was received by defendant and the trial court more than twenty days from the date defendant's served plaintiff with the order compelling arbitration. The trial court nevertheless granted plaintiff's motion and directed the matter to proceed to trial. Subject matter jurisdiction cannot be waived by the parties' failure to object, nor conferred upon the court by the parties' agreement. Peper v. Princeton Univ. Bd. of Trs., 77 N.J. 55, 65-66 (1978). This court holds that judges have an independent, non-delegable duty to raise and determine whether the court has subject matter jurisdiction over the case whenever there is a reasonable basis to do so. Here, the Law Division did not have subject matter jurisdiction at the time it granted plaintiff's untimely motion for reconsideration under Rule 4:49-2.