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Lucante v. Lucante

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


July 29, 2010

TRACY LUCANTE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
VINCENT LUCANTE, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Middlesex County, Docket No. FM-12-644-05-F.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted: February 24, 2010

Before Judges Payne and C.L. Miniman.

On March 10, 2009, plaintiff Tracy Lucante filed a Notice of Appeal from ¶ 2 of an order allegedly entered on February 2, 2009, but no such order was attached to her notice of appeal, her case information statement, or otherwise supplied to us in her appendix. In plaintiff's Case Information Statement, she states that she "is appealing the trial court's ruling of December 18, 2008 (memorialized in Order and Opinion entered on February 2, 2009)." There is a written opinion decided by the Family Part judge on January 14, 2009, and filed on February 2, 2009, in which the judge explained his reasons for granting the relief he provided to defendant in an order signed and filed on December 18, 2008.*fn1 That order is included in the record on appeal. In this opinion, the judge did not modify any of the relief he provided in the December 18, 2008, order.

Rule 2:2-3(a)(1) provides in pertinent part that "appeals may be taken to the Appellate Division as of right from final judgments of the Superior Court trial divisions." The Supreme Court and we have long held that appeals are taken from orders and judgments, not from opinions. See, e.g., Do-Wop Corp. v. City of Rahway, 168 N.J. 191, 199 (2001) (holding "it is well-settled that appeals are taken from orders and judgments and not from opinions, oral decisions, informal written decisions, or reasons given for the ultimate conclusion"); Heffner v. Jacobson, 100 N.J. 550, 553 (1985) (holding "[a]n appeal lies not from a written or oral decision of a court, but only from a judgment or order") (citing Credit Bureau Collection Agency v. Lind, 71 N.J. Super. 326, 328 (App. Div. 1961); Homeowner's Taxpayers Ass'n of S. Plainfield, Inc. v. S. Plainfield Sewerage Auth., 60 N.J. Super. 321, 323 (App. Div. 1960)); see also Boe v. Dep't of Human Servs., 367 N.J. Super. 572, 577-78 (App. Div. 2004), appeal dismissed as moot, 183 N.J. 289 (2005); Cipala v. Lincoln Technical Inst., 354 N.J. Super. 247, 255 (App. Div. 2002), rev'd on other grounds, 179 N.J. 45 (2004); Chimes v. Oritani Motor Hotel, Inc., 195 N.J. Super. 435, 443 (App. Div. 1984). Thus, no appeal may be taken from the judge's opinions filed on February 2, 2009, and March 27, 2009.

The time to appeal the order of December 18, 2008, expired on February 1, 2009. R. 2:4-1(a). This appeal was not filed until March 10, 2009. We cannot now extend the time for appeal nunc pro tunc because the notice of appeal was not filed within thirty days thereafter, i.e., on or before March 3, 2009. Rule 2:4-4(a) provides in pertinent part:

The time within which an appeal may be taken may not be extended except upon motion and in accordance with the following:

(a) The appellate court, on a showing of good cause and the absence of prejudice, may extend the time fixed by R. 2:4-1(a) (final judgment) . . . for a period not exceeding 30 days, but only if the notice of appeal . . . was in fact served and filed within the time as extended.

We are bound by this rule, and the time for appeals may not be extended beyond the thirty-day extension period. In re CAFRA Permit No. 87-0959-5, 290 N.J. Super. 498, 508-09 (App. Div. 1996), rev'd on other grounds, 152 N.J. 287 (1997); In re Hill, 241 N.J. Super. 367, 370-71 (App. Div. 1990); Cabrera v. Tronolone, 205 N.J. Super. 268, 271-72 (App. Div. 1985), certif. denied, 103 N.J. 493 (1986). As a result, we are constrained to dismiss the appeal.

Appeal dismissed.


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