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Sydlar v. Sydlar


October 21, 2009


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Morris County, Docket No. FM-14-45201-92.

Per curiam.


Submitted: October 7, 2009

Before Judges Axelrad and Sapp-Peterson.

In this post-judgment matrimonial matter, defendant George Sydlar appeals from the denial of his motion for reconsideration of a prior order granting enforcement relief to his former wife; denying his cross-motion in its entirety; and declining to modify prior court orders, including the judgment of divorce with property settlement agreement. We affirm.

The parties were divorced in l993. However, as noted by the trial judge, the matter has a "tortured post-judgment history." Notwithstanding the substantial passage of time, the final judgment has not been completely implemented. The controversy surrounds the sale of the former marital residence and adjoining lot and ongoing accusations by defendant of fraud and perjury by his former wife and her attorneys. We rejected defendant's challenges on March 8, 2006, in an unpublished opinion, No. A-6891-03T5. Moreover, as noted by the motion judge in her statement of reasons appended to the November 4, 2008 order denying reconsideration, defendant's contentions have been "addressed repeatedly in lengthy and comprehensive oral arguments" conducted by Judge David Rand and herself. Judge Rosemary Ramsay further explained that defendant failed to identify any controlling decision that she overlooked or identify any other legal basis for reconsideration under Rule 4:49-2; his argument was essentially that he did not prevail on the August l4, 2008 motion. She also noted that oral argument on the reconsideration motion was unnecessary as the parties' submissions were clear on their face.

On appeal, defendant renews his arguments as to the substantive issues. He also inaccurately states his former wife failed to file opposition to his motion for reconsideration and claims denial of due process in not being permitted oral argument on the motion.

In Fusco v. Board of Education, City of Newark, 349 N.J. Super. 455, 462 (App. Div. 2002), we held that the power to reconsider an earlier order rests with the trial judge's discretion, which should be limited to only two "very narrow circumstances[.]" We defined those circumstances as follows:

Reconsideration should be used only for those cases which fall into that narrow corridor in which either (l) the [c]court has expressed its decision based upon a palpably incorrect or irrational basis, or (2) it is obvious that the [c]court either did not consider, or failed to appreciate the significance of probative, competent evidence. [Ibid. (quoting D'Atria v. D'Atria, 242 N.J. Super. 392, 401 (Ch. Div. l990)).]

We do not intervene when a trial judge refuses to reconsider an earlier order absent a demonstration of an abuse of discretion. After carefully reviewing the record on appeal, we discern no abuse of discretion by the trial court and conclude that defendant's arguments are insufficient to warrant any discussion in addition to the comments set forth in Judge Ramsay's thorough opinion.



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