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Hagrish v. Olson

Decided: February 25, 1992.

JOHN HAGRISH, AN INDIVIDUAL, AND SALLY J. SOHIGIAN (FORMERLY "HAGRISH"), AN INDIVIDUAL, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
EDWIN OLSON AND JOHANNA OLSON, HUSBAND AND WIFE, THE ESTATE OF JOHANNA OLSON, DECEASED, MICHAEL F. RICCARDELLI, AN INDIVIDUAL, FRANK W. GASIOROWSKI, AN INDIVIDUAL, AND JOHN D. DEMASSI, AN INDIVIDUAL, (F/K/A "RICCARDELLI, GASIOROWSKI & DEMASSI"), DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hunterdon County.

Petrella, R.s. Cohen and Arnold M. Stein. The opinion of the court was delivered by Arnold M. Stein, J.A.D.

Stein

The opinion of the court was delivered by

ARNOLD M. STEIN, J.A.D.

Plaintiffs appeal the Law Division's order denying their motion to enforce a claimed settlement with defendants. The trial Judge concluded that there "never was a binding contract to settle this case . . . ." We reverse and remand for entry of an order enforcing the settlement and dismissing the case.

Plaintiffs purchasers sued defendants sellers, the Olsons, and the Olsons' law firm, Riccardelli, Gasiorowski and DeMassi, seeking return of a $31,990 deposit they had made on the house sold them by defendants. The case went to trial and a jury

returned a verdict in plaintiffs' favor, finding by special interrogatory that plaintiffs did not breach the real estate contract.

The trial Judge set aside the verdict and granted defendants' motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict pursuant to R. 4:40-2(b).

Before plaintiffs filed an appeal from this ruling, the attorneys for the parties exchanged communications which they and their clients obviously thought resolved the matter. The terms were simple: defendants would pay plaintiffs $7,000; in return, plaintiffs would abandon the appeal.

On June 25, 1990, plaintiffs' lawyer, Donald P. Fedderly, wrote defendants' lawyers (Robert W. McAndrew of Voorhees & Acciavatti for the lawyers and Howard C. Trueger for the Olsons):

This will confirm our settlement Discussions of last week in which it was agreed that the captioned matter would be settled by your clients paying to ...


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