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MOTLEY v. MOTLEY

August 13, 1999

ANN MOTLEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THOMAS MOTLEY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Irenas, District Judge.

OPINION

Before this court is defendant Thomas Motley's ("defendant") motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c). Defendant alleges that summary judgement is appropriate because plaintiff Ann Motley's ("plaintiff") claim is barred by the statute of limitations as set fourth in N.J.S.A. 12A:3-122 which requires that an action be commenced within six years after a note is negotiated.

The plaintiff disagrees and argues that summary judgment is inappropriate because the limitations period of N.J.S.A. 12A:3-118 controls and requires that a case be commended within six years after making a demand or within ten years from the date upon which no payments of principle or interest have been made. Plaintiff argues that this case was filed within this statute's period of limitations. Because this Court finds that N.J.S.A. 12A:3-118 controls, the motion for summary judgment is denied.

BACKGROUND

The instant action for payment of two promissory notes arises from the following simple and undisputed facts. On April 5, 1991, Thomas Motley executed a promissory note ("Note I") in favor of Ann Motley in the amount of $50,000.00 as consideration for the payment of the sum of $50,000.00. Subsequently, on September 3, 1991, Thomas Motley executed a second promissory note ("Note II") in favor of plaintiff in the amount of $30,000.00 as consideration for the payment of the sum of $30,000.00. The parties do not dispute that Note I and Note II (collectively referred to as "Notes") are both demand notes.

On July 28, 1997, plaintiff filed an action in Superior Court of New Jersey, Cape May County for payment of the Notes. The complaint however was dismissed on November 21, 1997, because defendant was not subject to the jurisdiction of the Superior Court of New Jersey.

The present action, pleading jurisdiction based on diversity of citizenship, was commenced by plaintiff on August 7, 1998, for payment of the Notes executed by defendant. On July 8, 1999, defendant filed the motion for summary judgement pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c).

STANDARD

Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), a court may grant summary judgment "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." The non-moving party may not simply rest on its pleadings to oppose a summary judgment motion but must affirmatively come forward with admissible evidence establishing a genuine issue of fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).

In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court must construe the facts and inferences in a light most favorable to the non-moving party. Pollock v. American Tel. & Tel. Long Lines, 794 F.2d 860, 864 (3d Cir. 1986). The role of the court is not "to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter, but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).

The substantive law governing the dispute will determine which facts are material, and only disputes over those facts "that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Id. at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505. Where the moving party has carried its initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, "its opponent must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986).

A genuine issue for trial does not exist "unless the party opposing the motion can adduce evidence which, when considered in light of that party's burden of proof at trial, could be the basis for a jury finding in that party's favor." J.E. Mamiye & Sons, Inc. v. Fidelity Bank, 813 F.2d 610, 618 (3d Cir. 1987) (Becker, J., concurring)

DISCUSSION

The present motion requires this Court to consider the effect of an amendment to the statute of limitation on a claim for a demand note which note was negotiated prior to passage of the statutory amendment. The defendant argues that the statute of limitation in effect at the time the note was negotiated controls and bars the application of the amended statute of limitation. The plaintiff argues that the amended statute affected a repeal of the earlier statute and, therefore, the amended statute of limitation applies to a ...


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