On appeal from the Passaic County Circuit Court.
For the plaintiffs-respondents, Weinberger & Weinberger (Joseph J. Weinberger).
For the defendant-appellant, William R. Vanecek and Eugene F. Frey.
The opinion of the court was delivered by
WOLFSKEIL, J. This appeal represents a culminating stage in a long family feud that commenced with the death of the father, Joseph Feld, in 1935, and arose over the disposition of his intestate estate. The decedent father was the principal stockholder in Joseph Feld and Company, a corporation which operated a slaughter house in South Hackensack and also a retail meat establishment in Passaic. Joseph Feld was survived by his widow, Rebecca Feld, and by six children. The family ranged itself in two groups, one composed of the widow, two daughters, Rose F. Grossman and Gertrude Frost, and a son, Samuel Feld, who is a lawyer, while the other consisted of the three other sons, Morris E. Feld, Charles Feld and Saul Feld, who, during the lifetime of the father, had been minority stockholders in Joseph Feld and Company. All of the parties sought and secured legal advice, and they endeavored to compose their differences through an agreement made November 4th, 1935. This rested on the formation of a new corporation, known as Feld Brothers, Inc., organized by Morris E. Feld, Charles Feld and Saul Feld, to carry on the business previously conducted by Joseph Feld and Company, with the latter concern leasing to the new corporation all its property of a ten-year period, and with the stock divided so that the first group and the second group collectively were to have an equal number of shares.
The part of the agreement pertinent to the litigation relates to rent that was to be paid by Joseph Feld and Company to the widow, Rebecca Feld, during her lifetime at the rate of $85 per week, and after her death at $60 per week. The $85 rent was paid for some time, and then gradually Joseph Feld and Company fell into arrears. Two suits were started by David Bayarsky, assignee of Rebecca Feld, against Joseph Feld and Company for recovery of rent arrearage. These resulted in judgments for the plaintiff upon direction for verdicts by the trial judge. The judgments were affirmed by the Supreme Court, but were set aside by the Court of Errors and Appeals, "without prejudice to a new action or actions at law or in equity, or both, based on the substantial rights of the parties." This is reported in 123 N.J.L. 194. The
basic reason for the reversal was procedural and technical, rather than being related to the merits, for it was grounded on the commencement of the suit by the single plaintiff, instead of by the four persons designated in the agreement as having an ownership or interest in the rent. The widow died during the pendency of the first appeal.
The two suits for the rent arrearages were amended and consolidated following upon the determination of the first appeal. Judgments were entered for the plaintiff in each instance, and these judgments are the subject of the present review.
The instant appeal addresses itself to practically every phase of the two suits. It is more indicative of the intensity of the antagonism between the parties and the ardent wish by any means to avert defeat in this family struggle, rather than demonstrative of merit in the appeal itself, for there is recourse to many matters patently futile and frivolous. We have examined all the points raised, and even as to those which call for more deliberated consideration, there is no aid for appellant's position, for in final analysis they concern themselves with factual questions, which were appropriately submitted to the jury. Evidence is present in both cases to support the determinations reached by the jury, so that there is no justification for disturbing those determinations.
An element stressed by appellant is that in the Bayarsky suit certain affidavits made for plaintiff stated the $85 rent was payable to Rebecca Feld alone, and not to her and her two daughters and son Samuel, so that a claim in the name of the four was in contradiction to the first form of the claim.
It was contended by appellant that for this reason the amended complaint should have been stricken. That, however, is merely one of the factual controversies presented. It was competent for the jury to decide the matter of the ownership of the rents, and that issue was properly left to the jury.
Appellant argued against the admissibility of the agreement between the parties, and urged there was no consideration for the undertaking of defendant corporation to pay the rent. But the evidence showed that confirmatory ...