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Cuccurullo v. Meskin

June 21, 1985

CHRISTINE CUCCURULLO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MARK D. MESKIN, DEFENDANT



ON APPEAL FROM DENIAL OF MOTION FOR TRIAL DE NOVO IN AUTOMOBILE ARBITRARY.

Milberg, A.j.s.c.

Milberg

OPINION

Plaintiff Christine Cuccurullo filed a notice of motion for a trial de novo.

The case was arbitrated on April 26, 1985, at which time an award was handed down. Rule 10B(1) of the statewide rules governing automobile arbitration expressly limits the time for trial de novo motions to 30 days from the date of decision. In accordance with R. 10B(1), plaintiff's time to file a motion for a trial de novo expired on May 26, 1985.

Plaintiff's motion was filed June 3, 1985, seven days out of time. Pursuant to R. 10B(1), plaintiff's motion was denied on June 21, 1985.

At the time of the decision, the court reserved the right to file a written opinion with reasons for the denial in the event an appeal was taken from the decision. An appeal was taken by plaintiff on August 5, 1985. The court now delivers the opinion setting forth the reasons for denial of plaintiff's motion.

Rule 10B(1) of the statewide rules governing automobile arbitration sets forth the time provisions for trial de novo motions in arbitration cases. It provides:

B. The matter shall be subject to automatic dismissal unless:

(1) within 30 days of the date of the arbitration decision, either party rejects the decision and moves for a trial de novo. Such motion shall be filed within the Civil Case Manager and shall be accompanied by appropriate proof of service pursuant to R. 1:5-3 indicating service on all parties of interest;

This rule expressly limits the time for trial de novo motions to 30 days from the date of the decision. Plaintiff's motion was filed seven days out of time. The initial question before me is whether I have the authority to enlarge the time for trial de novo motions. I find that I do not.

Since the arbitration program itself is new to the court system, there is no case law directly on point. Consequently, I turn to the pre-existing New Jersey court rules for support of my decision. The rule most similar to the arbitration R. 10 for a trial de novo is R. 4:49-1. Rule 4:49-1(b) contains clear and ...


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