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Singer Asset Finance Co., L.L.C. v. Patterson

February 9, 2009

SINGER ASSET FINANCE COMPANY, L.L.C., PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
BRIAN S. PATTERSON, SR., AND TINA S. PATTERSON, A/K/A TINA WALLER, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS, AND TRANSAMERICA ANNUITY SERVICE CORPORATION AND TRANSAMERICA OCCIDENTAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANTS.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, L-8834-04.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued January 20, 2009

Before Judges Reisner, Sapp-Peterson and Alvarez.

Defendants Brian and Tina Patterson*fn1 appeal from a January 14, 2008 order of the Law Division denying reconsideration of a November 30, 2007 order (amended on February 29, 2008 to correct a scrivener's error), granting summary judgment to plaintiff Singer Asset Finance Company (Singer or plaintiff). We affirm.

I.

The Pattersons first became involved with Singer when they assigned to Singer some of the annuity payments to which they were entitled under a structured settlement.*fn2 The Pattersons assigned these periodic payments in exchange for a lump sum payment from Singer. Between 1997 and 1998, defendants signed three more assignment agreements by which they obtained additional sums from Singer.

In February 2004, Singer stopped receiving periodic payments after the Pattersons, without notice to Singer, directed the annuity company, Transamerica, to send the payments to them instead of to plaintiff. As a result, in 2004, Singer sued the Pattersons for breach of contract. Following a series of dismissals and reinstatements, the matter was listed for trial on August 6, 2007, and the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. As discussed in greater detail in Section II below, these motions were initially rejected by the court for procedural defects, but were nonetheless heard prior to trial, resulting in summary judgment for Singer. The Pattersons' subsequent motion for reconsideration was denied.

II.

In their brief-in-chief, the Pattersons raise the following issues:

POINT I: THE TRIAL COURT ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT ENTERTAINED BARRED MOTIONS THAT WERE PREVIOUSLY RULED OUT OF TIME AND WITHDRAWN BY THE COURTS.

POINT II: PLAINTIFF'S LACK OF CANDOR TO THE TRIAL COURT PREJUDICED THE MANAGEMENT OF LITIGATION.

POINT III: PLAINTIFF'S LACK OF CANDOR TO DEFENDANTS' PREJUDICED THEIR ABILITY TO DEFEND THEIR CASE, WAS SERIOUSLY IMPAIRED.

POINT IV: THE COURT MUST REVERSE THE TRIAL COURT'S DECISION AND REMAND THE MATTER TO THE ...


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