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Edison Generator Exchange, Inc. v. Quality Business Communications

July 1, 2010

EDISON GENERATOR EXCHANGE, INC., PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
QUALITY BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS, INC., A/K/A QUALITY BUSINESS SOLUTIONS, CHRISTOPHER MELIA, INDIVIDUALLY, AVAYA FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC., CIT COMMUNICATIONS FINANCE CORP., AND AVAYA, INC., DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Docket No. L-9367-07.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued June 1, 2010

Before Judges Reisner and Yannotti.

Plaintiff Edison Generator Exchange, Inc. (Edison) appeals from an order entered by the Law Division on August 14, 2009, which granted summary judgment to defendant CIT Communications Finance Corporation (CIT).*fn1 We affirm.

This appeal arises from the following facts. Edison is a commercial enterprise that sells batteries, alternators and generators. Quality Business Communications, Inc. (QBC) is a seller of voice and data telecommunications equipment, and is authorized to sell telephone systems manufactured by Avaya, Inc. (Avaya). Christopher Melia (Melia) was one of QBC's salespersons.

In November 2005, Edison entered into an agreement with QBC to acquire an office telephone system manufactured by Avaya. Rather than purchase the equipment for cash, Edison elected to lease the equipment through CIT. Edison and CIT entered into a lease agreement for a sixty-month lease of the Avaya office telephone system. The lease stated in pertinent part that:

BY SIGNING THIS LEASE: (I) YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND ALL OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THIS LEASE,... (III) YOU AGREE THAT THIS LEASE IS A NET LEASE THAT YOU CANNOT TERMINATE OR CANCEL, YOU HAVE AN UNCONDITIONAL OBLIGATION TO MAKE ALL PAYMENTS DUE UNDER THIS LEASE, AND YOU CANNOT WITHHOLD, SETOFF OR REDUCE SUCH PAYMENTS FOR ANY REASON.

On November 29, 2005, John B. Chemidlin (Chemidlin), Edison's owner and President, executed the lease on Edison's behalf.

The equipment was delivered in March 2006. On March 28, 2006, Chemidlin executed a Delivery and Acceptance Certificate (DAC) for the equipment on Edison's behalf. The DAC stated:

A) That all equipment described in the lease identified above ("Equipment") has been delivered, inspected, installed and is unconditionally and irrevocably accepted by you as satisfactory for the purposes of the lease; and

B) That we, the Lessor, CIT Communications Finance Corporation, are authorized to purchase the Equipment and start billing you under the lease....

On November 7, 2007, Edison filed a complaint in the Law Division, naming QBC, Melia, AFC, CIT and Avaya as defendants. Edison alleged that its agreement with QBC was for a thirty-six month lease, not a sixty-month lease. Edison alleged that defendants engaged in a "bait and switch" tactic, which "[t]ricked and/or defrauded" it into a contract for which there was no meeting of the minds. Edison further alleged that the phone system was not the "correct" system and did not perform as promised. Edison asserted claims for breach of contract, breach of implied warranty, and violation of the Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 59:8-1 to -20.

In January 2008, CIT filed an answer, cross claims against QBC and Melia, and counterclaims against Edison. In March 2008, Melia filed an answer to Edison's claims and CIT's cross ...


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