On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, Docket No. L-3100-98.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued June 7, 2011 -- Decided
Before Judges Parrillo, Yannotti and Skillman.
Defendant appeals from an order entered by the Law Division on October 15, 2010, denying his motion for relief from judgments entered in this action in favor of plaintiff. We affirm.
In 1998, defendant brought an action in the Law Division against plaintiff, who is his uncle, and alleged that plaintiff had sexually molested him when he was a minor. Plaintiff denied these allegations and filed a counterclaim asserting a claim for defamation. The trial court dismissed defendant's complaint, finding that he failed to assert his claims within the time required by the applicable statute of limitations. Thereafter, plaintiff's counterclaim for defamation was tried before a jury, which returned a verdict for plaintiff and awarded him $50,000 plus interest.
On May 29, 2002, the court entered a judgment in the amount of $60,210.40 in plaintiff's favor and against defendant. In addition, the court awarded plaintiff costs for frivolous litigation, and on September 23, 2002, entered another judgment in plaintiff's favor and against defendant in the amount of $41,323.70.
On September 16, 2010, defendant filed a motion in the trial court seeking relief from these two judgments pursuant to Rule 4:50-1. Defendant alleged that plaintiff had committed a fraud upon the court. He asserted that plaintiff perjured himself by testifying in a pre-trial deposition that he had never been arrested. Defendant also asserted that plaintiff had threatened to sue a witness if she testified against him.
On October 15, 2010, the trial court placed its decision on the record. The court found that the motion was untimely. The court also found that defendant had failed to establish a basis for relief from the judgments. The court entered an order dated October 15, 2010, denying defendant's motion.
On appeal, Defendant raises the following arguments for our consideration:
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING THE [DEFENDANT'S] MOTION TO BE RELIE[V]ED FROM THE PLAINTIFF'S FINAL JUDGMENTS BECAUSE THEY WERE PROCURED BY FRAUD, PERJURY AND WITNESS TAMPERING BY THE PLAINTIFF AND IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE PURSUANT TO [RULE 4:50-1(F)] THE MOTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED. POINT II
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING THE [DEFENDANT'S] MOTION TO BE RELIE[V]ED FROM THE PLAINTIFF'S FINAL JUDGMENTS BECAUSE OF THE NEWLY DISCOVERED EVIDENCE OF PERJURY AND WITNESS TAMPERING BY THE PLAINTIFF, WHICH COULD NOT HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED ANY SOONER OR THROUGH ANY DEGREE OF GREATER DUE DILIGENCE AND IN THE ...