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Bavishi v. Verma

April 3, 2008

SHRENIK BAVISHI, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
SUSHEELA VERMA, ESQ. AND PAUL H. MANDAL, ESQ., DEFENDANTS, AND MITCHELL MELNIKOFF, ESQ., DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, L-3810-03.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued March 10, 2008

Before Judges A. A. Rodríguez and C. S. Fisher.

Appellant Shrenik Bavishi has appealed pro se from three orders entered by the Law Division, Civil Part. We have calendared these three appeals back-to-back and issue one opinion. The procedural history is lengthy. We include only those portions that provide the context for this appeal.

Appellant sued Susheela Verma, Paul H. Mandal and Mitchell Melnikoff, three attorneys who represented appellant's wife in a dispute over control of his son's passport and green card. The complaint was dismissed. Melnikoff obtained an order awarding him $900 in fees and costs to be paid by appellant. The order was signed by Judge Alexander P. Waugh, Jr., who stated his reasons on the record on February 2, 2004.

Melnikoff appealed the amount of the fees. Appellant did not file a cross-appeal nor did he move for a stay. Therefore, the $900 counsel fee award against appellant remained in full force and effect. We affirmed the amount of fees awarded, No. A-3854-03T3 (App. Div. June 30, 2005), and granted Melnikoff $150 in costs. No. M-4769-04 (App. Div. June 20, 2005).

Melnikoff proceeded to enforce the award by serving an information subpoena. Judge Waugh signed an order on February 4, 2005, enforcing litigant's rights, which: (1) ordered appellant to pay the $900 counsel fee; (2) directed appellant to comply with the information subpoena; and (3) awarded an additional $50 in counsel fees. Subsequently, Melnikoff filed a Certification of Costs totaling $312.24. The costs were itemized as follows:

Filing Fee$135.00 Motion -- 9/17/0530.00 Motion -- 4/18/0430.00 Docketing Judgment35.00 Motion -- 01/14/0530.00 Sheriff's Fee52.24 Total$312.24

Appellant opposed the amount of costs claimed. The court allowed taxed costs at $352.24, which included $40 as the "attorney's allowance by statute."

Appellant moved for an explanation pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:17-19. At that point in time, appellant was obligated to pay $950 in counsel fees and $352.24 in costs. Judge Waugh granted a partial exemption of $674. Thus, the balance of the judgments was still owed.

Melnikoff moved once again to enforce litigant's rights. Judge Robert A. Longhi granted the order on November 22, 2005, and imposed an additional $535 in counsel fees plus costs.

Appellant then moved to compel production of records by Melnikoff and to require the Clerk of the Superior Court to provide an explanation for the taxed costs. Judge Longhi denied the application by order dated December 16, 2005. It is from that order that appellant filed appeal A-2901-05T3, contending:

MY ADVERSARY ATTORNEY MELNIKOFF IS HARASSING ME TO PAY HIM FOR HIS FRAUDULENT CERTIFICATION OF COSTS. EVEN THOUGH MATTER IS AT APPELLATE DIVISION HE ASKED SHERIFF TO TAKE MONEY FROM MY BANK AND MY BANK ACCOUNT, WHICH I HAD SINCE MANY YEARS WAS CLOSED. I SUBMITTED A MONTHLY PAYMENT PLAN UNTIL MATTER IS RESOLVED AT APPELLATE DIVISION, WAS DENIED. I BELIEVE MY MINOR SON'S AND MY BASIC ...


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