On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. L-9690-08.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Cuff and Lihotz.
This matter involves a contract dispute. Following a bench trial, the Law Division judge dismissed all parties' pleadings, concluding the evidence was insufficient to support plaintiffs' claims of breach and defendant's counterclaim for payment due.
Plaintiffs' appeal asserts dismissal of their complaint was error. We affirm.
Plaintiffs, Jude Ulokameje and Regina Ulokameje,*fn1 own a three-unit apartment building in Newark, which suffered significant fire damage on December 28, 2005. Plaintiffs contracted with defendant Steven Content, trading as SC Home Improvements, to repair and restore the structure.
The parties' agreement,*fn2 signed April 13, 2006, stated defendant would rebuild the structure for which plaintiffs agreed to pay the total contract price of $150,800 in five payments at various stages of deconstruction and construction as follows:
Description Price STAGE 1 Demolition: Permits & planning fees included. $7,500 Demolition of the entire property, remove all debris caused by fire. Break down wall, etc. to begin construction with (4) 20 yard dumpster[s] for rubbish removal.
STAGE 2 Title Carpentry: $14,800
Frame left side of property included 3 floors and re-frame interior roof damage from fire. Installation of approx. 35 windows.
STAGE 3 Electrical Work: $15,000
Roughing of electric outlets, receptacles, light fixtures, emergency light fixtures required by building code and appliance hook ups.
Provide and install 3 separate units for each floor to service all 3 thermostats install on all floors.
STAGE 5 Plumbing: $18,000
Provide all new plumbing for each apartment, kitchen, bathroom which includes all fixtures and water heater with all new copper lines.
STAGE 6 Fiber Glass Insulation: All three floors $6,000
Install R19 exterior wall and R30 in roof rafter. Insulation in basement exterior walls only in between floor joints as code.
STAGE 7 Hallway Stairs: $4,000
Repair and replace stairs damaged from fire on all three levels.
STAGE 8 Sheet rock: $12,900
Wall & ceiling on all 3 floors, spackling of 3 coat 5x8 sheetrock and green ...