On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division - Special Civil Part, Hudson County, Docket No. SC-2643-07.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted: January 28, 2009
Before Judges Axelrad and Parrillo.
Defendant Eleanor Capogrosso appeals from a $571.76 judgment entered against her for transcripts ordered in connection with her personal injury action filed in Hudson County. We affirm.
At first trial listing, defense counsel requested an adjournment on the following grounds: (1) Capogrosso was still trying to locate the files she had created when she first ordered the transcripts from plaintiff eighteen months prior; and (2) she was unable to get to the Hudson County Courthouse in Jersey City because her car was in a shop in Westchester County. After some dialogue, counsel also admitted that Capogrosso was in her law office in Manhattan that morning. The judge offered to conduct the trial telephonically or commence it at 1:30 p.m. as an accommodation to Capogrosso. However, when the judge called Capogrosso's office on the record to discuss scheduling, she was informed Capogrosso was unavailable as she had just left to attend a meeting. Being properly disturbed that Capogrosso could get to work in New York and get to a meeting elsewhere, but could not get to the courthouse as summoned, the judge declined Capogrosso's request for an adjournment.
The trial proceeded as scheduled. Defense counsel stated his client's arguments: (1) venue was improper because plaintiff's office was located in Morris County as was the cause of action because the transcript was typed there, and defendant Capogrosso lived out of State; and (2) Rule 2:5-3(b) and N.J.S.A. 2B:7-4 were arbitrary as they did not set forth a basis for a transcript fee related to the actual preparation cost. The court found a Hudson County cause of action as that county's case was the transcript's genesis. It did not address the constitutional challenge to the court rules or statute, which has been abandoned on appeal.
Plaintiff's representative showed and discussed the completed transcripts, the respective invoices for fees, and the transcript form reflecting an expedited request for the two-day proceeding for "non-appeal" purposes. He testified that after thirty-five pages were typed, Capogrosso told the supervising court reporter to change to a standard order and no time table was promised. Plaintiff completed the transcripts and had them available for delivery upon payment by Capogrosso, which she failed to make. Suit was thus instituted for payment of the outstanding invoices, which reflected the $200 deposit fee paid by Capogrosso. Based upon this evidence, the court entered judgment in plaintiff's favor and against Capogrosso for the owed transcription fees and the cost of suit.
On appeal, Capogrosso argues: (1) the judge wrongly denied her adjournment request; (2) plaintiff failed to establish sufficient evidence to support its claim, the transcripts were not timely prepared so she lost the ability to review them for possible appeal, plaintiff breached its contract, plaintiff should be liable for restitution and a §1983 claim; and (3) the court erroneously denied her motion to change venue. We are not persuaded by any of these arguments.
Capogrosso's reliance on Rule 4:36-3(b) for her assertion that the court was obligated to grant her request for an adjournment is misplaced as that Rule is not applicable to the Special Civil Part. Cf. R. 6:3-1; R. 6:5-1. To the contrary, Rule 6:4-7(a) requires a five-day advance written request to the clerk's office for an adjournment of Special Civil Part trials, with notation if consent from the adverse parties was achieved or not. This clearly was not done. Considering Capogrosso's failure to follow the court rules to obtain an adjournment in advance of trial, and her choice not to be available to the court, we discern no abuse of discretion whatsoever in Judge Mary Costello's denial of the adjournment request.
We are also satisfied there is adequate, substantial, and credible evidence in the record to support the judgment. Rova Farms Resort, Inc. v. Investors Ins. Co. of Am., 65 N.J. 474, 484 (1974). Defendant contracted for the work, which was not related to an appeal; the transcripts were prepared; and the fees were thus due. The court appropriately addressed and rejected Capogrosso's venue challenge. We note that Rule 6:1-3(a), which provides that a business entity is also deemed to reside in any county in which it is actually doing business, would include securing the tapes from the Hudson County Court for transcription.
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