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Gustave v. City of Newark

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


February 20, 2008

PHILIPPE GUSTAVE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
CITY OF NEWARK, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, L-7770-06.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued November 15, 2007

Before Judges R. B. Coleman and Lyons.

Plaintiff Philippe Gustave appeals pro se from an order dated February 2, 2007, dismissing his complaint against defendant City of Newark. The ground for dismissal was plaintiff's failure to comply with the applicable statute of limitations. We affirm.

On or about December 2, 2004, plaintiff filed a Notice of Claim for Damages against defendant alleging that on September 9, 2004, a Newark police officer stopped him without probable cause and unlawfully detained him for approximately two hours. In a letter dated December 15, 2005, defendant denied plaintiff's claim. On September 18, 2006, plaintiff filed a complaint against defendant alleging that a Newark police officer wrongfully dragged him from his car and issued him three tickets. Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint due to plaintiff's failure to comply with the statute of limitations in accordance with N.J.S.A. 59:8-8 and N.J.S.A. 2A:14-2*fn1 .

On December 18, 2006, plaintiff opposed the motion, arguing that "nobody ever told [him] about the law," that he "did not feel good," that he was "confused" for approximately two hours after the incident, and that he suffers from "severe pain, headache, and short time seizure." Judge Garry J. Furnari delivered a decision from the bench granting defendant's motion and signed an order to that effect on February 2, 2007. In his oral decision, the judge explained that plaintiff's claim was barred by a two-year statute of limitations in accordance with N.J.S.A. 59:8-8 and Blazer Corp. v. New Jersey Sports & Exposition Auth., 195 N.J. Super. 542 (Law Div. 1984). The judge further concluded that plaintiff had failed to demonstrate that he did not possess a sane mind during an asserted tolling period as required by Kyle v. Green Acres At Verona, Inc., 44 N.J. 100 (1965). The judge reached his decision based on plaintiff's act of filing a notice of tort claim and plaintiff's naked assertion that he suffered from terminal illness, headaches and the like.

After a thorough review of the parties' arguments and the record before us, we affirm substantially for the reasons set forth by Judge Furnari at the February 2, 2007 hearing. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(A). Plaintiff has not provided nearly sufficient evidence that would cause us to relax the two-year statute of limitations imposed by N.J.S.A. 59:8-8.

Affirmed.


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