On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Special Civil Part, Mercer County, Docket No. DC-005672-09.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 15, 2011 - Decided Before Judges Espinosa and Skillman.
Plaintiff filed this collection action against defendant for recovery of the outstanding balance on a credit card account that defendant allegedly had with Washington Mutual Bank. Plaintiff's complaint alleged that with respect to this account, it is "the assignee of CAVALRY INVESTMENTS, LLC, as assignee of CHASE BANK USA, N.A., as assignee of WASHINGTON MUTUAL BANK." The complaint claimed that the principal amount due on the account was $11,585.67 and that plaintiff also owed $1,887.87 in interest and $1,208.57 in attorney fees, for a total of $14,682.11.
Defendant filed an answer denying the allegations of the complaint and asserting various affirmative defenses.
On September 18, 2009, defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint based on plaintiff's failure to answer interrogatories and requests for production of documents. Plaintiff subsequently filed answers to interrogatories. It is unclear from the record before us whether plaintiff responded to defendant's request for the production of documents.
On October 5, 2009, the trial court entered an order denying defendant's motion to dismiss based on plaintiff's failure to provide discovery.
On October 16, 2009, defendant filed a second motion to dismiss, which was based on plaintiff's alleged failure to comply with the registration requirements of N.J.S.A. 42:2B-53(a). Plaintiff filed opposition, and on October 28, 2009, the trial court entered an order denying the motion.
On December 15, 2009, plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment. On December 24, 2009, defendant filed opposition to the motion. The papers submitted in support of and in opposition to the motion are discussed later in this opinion. There was no oral argument on the motion.
On January 6, 2010, the trial court entered summary judgment in plaintiff's favor in the amount of $15,000. This judgment was not accompanied by any opinion.
Defendant has appealed from the judgment. Plaintiff has failed to file an answering brief.*fn1 Consequently, our understanding of the case is based solely on plaintiff's pro se brief and appendix.
In support of its motion for summary judgment, plaintiff relied upon a certification by Matteo Velardo, who identified himself as "Assistant Vice President of plaintiff" who "serve[s] as keeper of the books and records of Cavalry, which are kept in the ordinary course of business, with the entries in them having been made at or near the time of the occurrence." Velardo's certification asserted that he had reviewed the books and records of Cavalry with respect to the indebtedness of U.
SHARMA A/K/A UDI SHARMA, Debtor(s), (Account No.: 13398878), which reflects that as of September 30, 2008, there was an outstanding balance due of $11,585.67, with interest accruing at the rate of 24.99% since September 30, 2008 pursuant to the Terms and Conditions applicable to said account.
However, Velardo also stated that "the above-referenced account, which originated with Washington Mutual Bank, was, on November 26, 2008, sold, transferred and conveyed to Cavalry." Thus, it appears that the entire balance of defendant's purported credit account accrued before its transfer to plaintiff on November 26, 2008. Moreover, although Velardo's certification states that he "reviewed the books and records of Cavalry with respect to the indebtedness of [defendant]," it did not set forth the contents of those books and records. Thus, there is no way of knowing whether those books and records included an application by defendant for a ...