December 11, 2007
JOSEPH A. MATRISS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
RUTHERFORD OFFICE PLAZA, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Docket No. L-6024-06.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted November 15, 2007
Before Judges Wefing and Parker.
Plaintiff Joseph A. Matriss appeals from an order entered on February 20, 2007 denying his motion for reconsideration of a prior order denying his application for leave to file his complaint outside the two-year statute of limitations. We affirm.
On August 6, 2004, plaintiff slipped and fell on defendant's property. He retained counsel to file a negligence suit on his behalf. Counsel claims that the complaint was mailed from a mail drop outside of his office building in Clifton on July 28, 2006. When counsel received a copy of the complaint from the clerk's office, it was stamped "filed" on August 14, 2006 - eight days after the statute of limitations had expired. Defendant subsequently moved for summary judgment on the ground that the complaint was barred by the statute of limitations. The motion was granted.
In its written decision, the trial court noted that the complaint was not sent by certified mail and, therefore, no proof of the mailing date was provided. The court found that "[n]othing presented by plaintiff's counsel indicates that the present circumstances are extraordinary or comparable to Waite [v. John Doe, 204 N.J. Super. 632 (App. Div. 1985)] in any way." The court held that there were no extraordinary circumstances to warrant late filing of the complaint because plaintiff knew who the defendant was and had retained counsel in sufficient time to file a timely complaint.
In this appeal, plaintiff argues that he is entitled to rely on the United States mail and has, therefore, substantially complied with the statute of limitations. We have carefully considered plaintiff's argument in light of the applicable law and we are satisfied that it lacks sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). We affirm substantially for the reasons stated in the letter opinion rendered by Judge Joseph S. Conte on February 16, 2007. Nevertheless, we add the following comment. A civil action complaint is filed when it is received by the deputy clerk of the Superior Court in the county of venue. R. 1:5-6(b)(1).
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