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Robert M. Podstawski v. James J. Bresett


March 3, 2011


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Special Civil Part, Morris County, Docket No. DC-9487-06.

Per curiam.


Submitted February 14, 2011 - Decided Before Judges Lisa and Reisner.

Plaintiff, Robert M. Podstawski, appeals from the April 6, 2010 Special Civil Part order denying his motion to "Vacate Dismissal/Reinstate Complaint." In actuality, the order that plaintiff sought to have vacated was the November 2, 2009 order "STAYING COLLECTION EFFORTS PENDING BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDING."

In his appellate brief, plaintiff sets forth the following narrative. On June 3, 2005, he sued his tenant, defendant, James J. Bresett, for unpaid rent. On June 6, 2005, defendant filed for bankruptcy and was granted a discharge on September 12, 2005. Defendant continued to occupy plaintiff's premises. Plaintiff filed a "new claim" on June 25, 2007 to "recoup post bankruptcy arrearages ($5,108.35)." An order was entered on July 3, 2007 ordering garnishment of defendant's income. Collection efforts commenced and plaintiff collected $2,571.75. Collection was then suspended because defendant quit his job. As plaintiff made further efforts at collection in October 2009, the November 2, 2009 order that we have mentioned was issued without prior notice to plaintiff. Plaintiff then moved to vacate the order, and his motion was denied.

The record plaintiff has furnished us consists of a total of three single-page documents, namely the November 2, 2009 order, plaintiff's February 17, 2010 motion to vacate that order, and the April 6, 2010 order denying his motion. He has provided no record of any of the other events he has described, and all of those factual assertions remain unsubstantiated.

After plaintiff filed this appeal, the Special Civil Part judge issued a supplemental statement of reasons on May 6, 2010 pursuant to Rule 2:5-1(b). The judge attached documentation establishing that defendant received a Chapter 7 discharge in bankruptcy on September 9, 2005. The judge also attached August 5, 2009 correspondence from defendant's attorney to plaintiff confirming that his client was "fully discharged from any obligation owed to [plaintiff]," and that "such a discharge operates as a permanent injunction from any and all collection efforts." He requested that plaintiff discontinue his ongoing efforts to collect the discharged debt. The judge also attached a copy of plaintiff's initial complaint in this matter, which was filed on November 1, 2006, not on June 3, 2005 as represented by plaintiff in his appellate brief.

In her supplemental statement of reasons, the judge explained that based upon the documentation furnished to her, she was satisfied that defendant's obligation to plaintiff, which was the subject of this action, was discharged in bankruptcy and that the state court lacked jurisdiction to grant the relief plaintiff requested.

It is the obligation of an appellant to present sufficient factual materials and a cogent legal argument in support of his or her appeal. State v. Hild, 148 N.J. Super. 294, 296 (App. Div. 1977). Plaintiff has failed to do so. We affirm substantially for the reasons set forth in the supplemental statement of reasons of the Special Civil Part judge dated May 6, 2010. Plaintiff's arguments do not warrant further discussion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).



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