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Temple v. Storch Trucking Co.

Decided: September 13, 1956.

JEAN TEMPLE, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
STORCH TRUCKING COMPANY, RESPONDENT-RESPONDENT



Goldmann, Freund and Conford. Goldmann, S.j.a.d.

Goldmann

This is an appeal from an order of the Hudson County Court dated December 1, 1955, granting respondent's motion for an order vacating and setting aside the rule for judgment originally entered in petitioner's favor in the Workmen's Compensation Bureau and filed in the office of the Clerk of Hudson County, and directing the County Clerk to expunge the entry of that judgment from his docket and records. Petitioner also appeals from that part of the order denying her motion to stay the proceedings in the County Court pending final adjudication by the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey of an action she had brought against respondent's insurance carrier under the filed judgment for compensation, the complaint there alleging denial of due process of law in the courts of New Jersey. This phase of the appeal was only passingly referred to in petitioner's brief and oral argument on appeal, supported by nothing more than the mere repetition of the argument that the denial of the request for a stay constituted a denial of due process.

An understanding of the involved and protracted course of this case through our courts calls for a reproduction at this place of our unpublished per curiam opinion of November 4, 1954:

"The present phase of this long litigated workmen's compensation proceeding represents an attempt to breathe life into an award long since judicially interred. The matter formally comes before us on an appeal from the Hudson County Court which granted respondent's motion for an order relieving it from, and vacating and setting aside, the rule for judgment initially entered in the Workmen's Compensation

Bureau and docketed by petitioner in the Hudson County Clerk's Office on May 9, 1951.

"Although the appendix contains the County Court's opinion [29 N.J. Super. 492] granting respondent's application to expunge the judgment, it does not set out the order entered thereon. We overlook the omission and deal with the merits.

"On December 15, 1945 petitioner filed her dependent's claim petition in the Workmen's Compensation Bureau. Respondent company answered, there was a hearing, and thereafter rule for judgment was entered in petitioner's favor on August 5, 1947. Petitioner claims the date of entry was July 24, 1947, of which more hereafter. On September 4, 1947 respondent appealed the award to the Hudson County Court of Common Pleas, and that court affirmed. The employer then applied for and obtained a writ of certiorari in the former New Jersey Supreme Court, shortly before the effective date of the new judicial system. The matter came on for argument before the Appellate Division on January 3, 1949 and resulted in a reversal of the Common Pleas judgment. Temple v. Storch Trucking Co. , 2 N.J. Super. 146 (1949). The mandate on reversal was filed with the Clerk of the Hudson County Court on April 12, 1949. Petitioner in turn appealed to the Supreme Court which affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Division on October 24, 1949. 3 N.J. 42. The mandate on affirmance from the Supreme Court was filed with the Clerk of the Hudson County Court on January 31, 1950. On the same date there was filed with the clerk a judgment, entered by the same County Court judge who had originally affirmed the determination of the Bureau, reversing the determination and order of judgment of the former Hudson County Court of Common Pleas and directing that judgment of dismissal be entered in favor of respondent company.

"In the face of all this, counsel for petitioner on May 9, 1951 caused to be entered in the office of the Clerk of Hudson County, without notice to respondent, a true copy of the original rule for judgment entered in the Workmen's Compensation

Bureau. R.S. 34:15-58. Several months later respondent first learned of the docketing of the Bureau judgment when it sought to obtain a mortgage on certain of its properties. Respondent at once obtained an order staying execution and performance of any proceedings to enforce the rule for judgment pending disposition of its notice of motion, returnable before the Hudson County Court, for an order vacating and setting aside the judgment. This motion was supported by affidavit, to which were attached the opinions of the Appellate Division and Supreme Court above referred to. The application was resisted, petitioner's counsel filing his opposing affidavit with annexed exhibits. The allegations of that affidavit constitute essentially the argument made in the brief filed with us. Respondent then filed its reply affidavit. The County Court, after considering all the affidavits and argument of counsel, granted respondent's application to vacate and set aside, and to expunge from the Hudson County Clerk's records, the original rule of judgment in the Bureau.

"Petitioner claims that the Bureau judgment is valid and enforceable; that the decisions of the Appellate Division and Supreme Court did not affect the judgment; that no judgment of any court was ever directed to the Bureau judgment of July 24, 1947, or was binding upon it; and that the County Court was without jurisdiction to vacate that judgment docketed in the county clerk's office.

"We find no merit in any of these points. Petitioner makes much of the fact that the successive appeals heretofore taken referred to a rule for judgment in the Bureau dated August 5, 1947, whereas there was, in fact, no such judgment but only the one dated July 24, 1947. The reason for this alleged mis-reference to the date of the rule for judgment is not made clear in the record; it may be that although the deputy commissioner made his determination of facts and rule for judgment on July 24, 1947, it was not filed in the office of the ...


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