On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County, Docket No. DJ-51503-07.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted January 5, 2009
Before Judges Sapp-Peterson and Alvarez.
Defendant Anthony Grande appeals from the denial of his motion, styled "to strike the defective docketing" of a default judgment originally entered by Civil Business Division of the Boston Municipal Court Department in 1994. The judgment was domesticated in New Jersey pursuant to the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (UEFJA), N.J.S.A. 2A:49A-25 to -33.*fn1
On appeal, Grande argues, as he did unsuccessfully before the motion judge, that the entry of the Massachusetts default judgment violated constitutional due process guarantees and that service by mail violated court rules. As a result, he contends, the judgment should not be recognized by New Jersey. We affirm.
Plaintiff Boston College filed a complaint on August 27, 1993, to collect on an unpaid promissory note in the principal amount of $7,687.61. The note accrued interest at the rate of eight percent annually commencing January 26, 1993. An affidavit prepared by the "collection manager" of the law office that filed suit, which was offered in support of the application for a default judgment, states that a summons and complaint were sent to Grande's New York address via certified mail, return receipt requested, and regular mail. The affidavit also states that on March 2, 1994, further correspondence was sent to that address. Although the registered letter was not claimed, none of the correspondence was returned. The affidavit further states:
That on 11/24/93 plaintiff's attorney discussed the instant action with the defendant (and defendant acknowledged receipt of the summons and complaint) in a telephone conversation;
That the defendant maintains a non-published telephone at the above address;
That the defendant has communicated with the plaintiff regarding the instant action.
A photocopy of the submission to the Massachusetts court shows that the registered letter went unclaimed. The "motion to default" dated January 18, 1994, bears the following handwritten notation: "P/O, plff's motion to default defendant is heard, the Court grants deft. 21 days to file an answer or be defaulted. Callahan AC 4-25-94 DMC."
Judgment was entered, together with interest, attorney's fees and costs, for $9,800.45 on June 22, 1994. A certification prepared by Boston College's New Jersey attorney recites that the judgment was domesticated on February 27, 2007. That same certification indicates that as of March 1, 2007, $10,620.29 had accrued in interest for a total due of $20,420.74.
When a wage attachment was sought against Grande on April 13, 2007, he filed the motion to "strike defective docketing now being appealed." In his certification in support of the motion, he states:
In order to refresh my memory and recollection of this matter, some 13 years after the fact, I performed a thorough search of my personal records which I have from 1993 to the present, which is a file dedicated to important papers such as these, and found no record of having received such a complaint, default motion, judgment, etc. prior to January 2007, which I believe or submit supports my certification that I do not think or believe that I was ever personally, timely or ...