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Box Seat Subscription Television v. Hollenback

Decided: January 23, 1981.

BOX SEAT SUBSCRIPTION TELEVISION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
MARY HOLLENBACK, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



On appeal from Bergen County District Court.

Fritz, Polow and Joelson.

Per Curiam

Plaintiff brought a contract action in the Small Claims Division of the Bergen County District Court seeking to recover charges it claimed were due from a subscriber.*fn1 Both parties appeared without counsel.*fn2 Plaintiff appeals from an adverse judgment.

After two persons -- apparently the plaintiff's representative, one Mr. Weiss, and defendant -- were sworn, the "trial" commenced with the judge asking defendant , "What was the matter with your job?" Defendant was required to defend without any proof at all having been sought by the judge respecting the contract. As a matter of fact, even now we have no idea at all what the contract was except that plaintiff's brief tells us (without supporting references to the transcript, a clear violation of R. 2:6-2(a)(4)*fn3) it was a service agreement. We know nothing at all from anyone respecting the duration of that agreement, the cost to the subscriber or the availability of cancellation privileges. We do not even know if there was a written agreement, except for the allegation of Mr. Weiss that

"when the installation was completely satisfactory" the "work order was signed." We do not know of any particular warranties the agreement might have contained or, for that matter, precisely what plaintiff's obligation was under the contract. From the record, neither did the trial judge.

It would appear from defendant's premature defense that "[i]t played too loud." No other complaint to the operation appears. Evidently this was enough, though, for defendant's husband to tell defendant "he wanted it taken out."

Then came plaintiff's belated turn to prove its case. The following constitutes plaintiff's whole case:

THE COURT: Do you know anything about this job?

MR. WEISS: Excuse me?

THE COURT: Do you know anything about this job?

MR. WEISS: Not specifically. I don't go out and do installations. But again, the work order was signed when the installation was completely satisfactorily and the money under this ...


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