March 13, 2008
MITCHELL'S AUTO BODY OF ENGLEWOOD, INC., PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
LEONARD DESTASIO, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Special Civil Part, Bergen County, DC-024823-06.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 26, 2008
Before Judges Winkelstein and LeWinn.
Defendant Leonard Destasio appeals from an April 13, 2007 order of the Special Civil Part denying his application for counsel fees. On appeal, he raises the following primary argument:
APPELLANT, THE PREVAILING PARTY IN THE ACTION FILED BY RESPONDENT IN THE SPECIAL CIVIL PART, IS ENTITLED TO BE AWARDED ALL REASONABLE LITIGATION COSTS AND ATTORNEY FEES PURSUANT TO N.J.S.A. 2A:15-59.1, ET SEQ AND NEW JERSEY COURT RULE 1:4-8 BECAUSE THE RESPONDENT'S COMPLAINT WAS FRIVOLOUS.
In light of the record and the prevailing law, we find that defendant's argument is without sufficient merit to warrant extended discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). Accordingly, we affirm, adding only the following.
The appeal arises out of a dispute between defendant and plaintiff's principal, Varoujan Khorozian, over the cost of repairs to defendant's motor vehicle following a 1989 automobile accident. Defendant was Khorozian's tailor, and claims that in 1990 he made various garments of clothing for Khorozian, and also made monetary payments to him to pay for the car repairs.
In July 2006, upon learning that plaintiff intended to file suit for additional sums allegedly due for the 1989 repairs, defendant's attorney, who is also Khorozian's brother, notified plaintiff's counsel that the statute of limitations had expired eleven years earlier and the case had been settled in 1990. Nevertheless, plaintiff filed suit. On March 2, 2007, the trial judge dismissed the complaint on summary judgment.
Defendant then sought counsel fees, claiming plaintiff's lawsuit was frivolous as defined by N.J.S.A. 2A:15-59.1b and Rule 1:4-8. The trial court denied the application, making the following findings:
Defendant's motion, the sanction of a frivolous litigation, is denied without prejudice. I'm denying it due to the fact that, whether or not I agree with plaintiff's counsel, I just don't think it was frivolous for him to -- [it] may not be without merit, but I don't think there was any type of malicious or frivolous intent to file the present motions.
Although the trial court's findings were not sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Rule 1:7-4(a) in that they did not make clear the court's reasons for denying the motion, we are satisfied that the record supports the court's order that sanctions were not warranted. See Do-Wop Corp., t/a Razzle Dazzle Fantasy Runway v. City of Rahway, 168 N.J. 191, 199 (2001) ("[A]ppeals are taken from orders and judgments and not from opinions . . . or reasons given for the ultimate conclusion."). Consequently, as the record supports the trial court's order denying sanctions, we find no basis to reverse the order.
© 1992-2008 VersusLaw Inc.