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Bay v. Tung

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


June 18, 2007

HELEN V. BAY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
MAU HOI. TUNG, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Special Civil Part, Law Division, Hudson County, SC-000831-06.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 29, 2007

Before Judges S.L. Reisner and Seltzer.

This appeal arises from a dispute between plaintiff, Helen V. Bay, and her landlord, defendant Mau Hoi. Tung. We affirm. Defendant's notice of appeal indicates the appeal is taken from a judgment dated April 13, 2006. That judgment is not included in the appendix but it appears from the transcript provided to have entered judgment, after a bench trial conducted on that date, in favor of plaintiff and against defendant in the amount of $800 plus costs of suit. The notice of appeal also indicates the appeal is taken from orders dated (1) June 9, 2006, denying a motion to vacate the judgment; (2) September 11, 2006, granting reconsideration of the June 9, 2006 order, vacating the judgment and scheduling trial for September 29, 2006; and (3) October 6, 2006, denying a motion to vacate the judgment and dismissing plaintiff's complaint.

Defendant's brief does not help us understand the apparently contradictory orders. We need not resolve that issue, however, because defendant's appendix contains a Stipulation of Settlement dated October 27, 2006, requiring defendant to pay $400 to plaintiff, presumably in return for a dismissal of her claim.

A settlement "is a contract between the parties resolving matters in dispute," Shafer v. Cronk, 220 N.J. Super. 518, 521 (Law Div. 1987), thus rendering any appeal involving those issues moot. See, e.g., Centex Homes of N.J., Inc. v. Mayor & Council of E. Windsor, 101 N.J. 209 (1985) (dismissing an appeal concerning issues as to which the parties had reached a settlement); B.H. Assocs. v. Brudner, 190 N.J. Super. 1 (App. Div. 1983) (dismissing an appeal that had been settled as moot); Macey v. Rollins Envtl. Servs. (N.J.), Inc., 179 N.J. Super. 535, 537 n.1 (App. Div. 1981) (recognizing that a settlement renders an appeal moot as to the settling parties).

Defendant does not deny the settlement. Nevertheless, although that settlement is not the subject of his appeal, he asserts that he wishes "to withdraw the above settlement." "[S]ettlement of litigation ranks high in [the] public policy" of this State, Jannarone v. W. T. Co., 65 N.J. Super. 472, 476 (App. Div.), certif. denied sub nom. Jannarone v. Calamoneri, 35 N.J. 61 (1961), and defendant has provided no reason to deviate from that policy by vacating the settlement. In any event, he has made no application to the trial court to vacate the settlement, and we will not consider such an application for the first time on appeal. Nieder v. Royal Indem. Ins. Co., 62 N.J. 229, 234 (1973).

The appeal is dismissed as moot.

20070618

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