November 7, 2007
MRC RECEIVABLES CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
THEODORE GOTTESMAN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Special Civil Part, Mercer County, Docket No. DC-8339-06.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 29, 2007
Before Judges S.L. Reisner and Baxter.
Defendant Theodore Gottesman appeals from two separate orders entered by the Special Civil Part on February 15, 2007. One order denied his motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint and the other granted plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. We affirm.
Plaintiff MRC Receivables Corporation (MRC) is the assignee by purchase of a Mastercard account issued by Household Orchard Bank (Household) to defendant Theodore Gottesman on March 8, 1999. Plaintiff instituted suit against defendant in October 2006. Its complaint alleged that defendant owed $1416 on his Mastercard account. Defendant filed an answer, in which his sole defense was his statement that he was "not sure whether this account belongs to me."
On January 22, 2007, plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment. In support of its motion, plaintiff produced a copy of a document transmitted electronically from Household in which Household attested to the $1416 defendant owed on his Mastercard account. In neither his opposition to plaintiff's motion nor in support of his own motion did defendant affirmatively present any proofs to challenge the certification plaintiff had submitted. Instead, defendant asserted that he never entered into an agreement with MRC. He did not deny that he had opened an account with Household, nor did he dispute plaintiff's claim that he had failed to make required payments to plaintiff's predecessor, Household Orchard Bank. Defendant maintained that he was "not in receipt of any contract or documentation making [him] liable to any other party."
On appeal, we apply the same summary judgment standard from Brill v. Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, 142 N.J. 520, 540 (1995) that the trial court is obliged to apply. Prudential Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Boylan, 307 N.J. Super. 162, 167 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 154 N.J. 608 (1998). Summary judgment must be granted unless the party opposing the motion has established a genuine issue of material fact. Brill, supra, 142 N.J. at 540. Vague assertions by the party opposing a motion for summary judgment are not sufficient to defeat a summary judgment motion. Id. at 541. Not only must the party opposing the motion present "competent evidential materials," id. at 540, but those materials must be "sufficient to permit a rational fact finder to resolve the alleged disputed issue in favor of the non-moving party." Ibid.
Here, the motion judge did not make specific findings. We infer, however, from the judge's grant of plaintiff's motion for summary judgment that he reached certain conclusions. In particular, the judge no doubt concluded that defendant's statement that he "was not sure" the account in question belonged to him was not sufficient under Brill to raise a genuine issue of material fact. We agree with that conclusion.
We have carefully reviewed the record and the arguments presented by defendant and conclude that the issues presented lack sufficient merit to warrant extended discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).
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