On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Docket No. L-10107-10.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted January 19, 2012
Before Judges Fuentes and Koblitz.
Plaintiffs Oronzio and Rosa Spinelli move for summary reversal of an order denying their motion to enforce the terms of a settlement agreement between themselves and defendants Echeverry Industries, Carlos Echeverry, and Zilkamarie Echeverry. Because the trial court's order is procedurally defective, contrary to the principles of contract law, and unsupported by a statement of reasons, we grant plaintiffs' motion for summary disposition. The following facts will inform our legal analysis.
On May 27, 2010, plaintiffs and defendant Echeverry Industries entered into a contract for the sale of the Park Avenue Bakery. Under the terms of the contract for sale, plaintiffs received from defendants two promissory notes totaling $113,000. The first note obligated defendants to pay $36,000 without interest, through thirty-six $1,000 payments, due on the first of each month. The second note, in the amount of $77,000, had an interest rate of 8.8%, and called for seventy-two payments by defendant of $1380.34 (inclusive of principal and interest), also due on the first of each month. The two loans were secured by liens on fixtures, equipment, furniture and inventory of the Park Avenue Bakery, as well as defendant's other business, Fabulous Stylz.
On October 20, 2010, Park Avenue Bakery filed a complaint against defendants alleging that they failed to make the payments due for September 1, 2010, and October 1, 2010, and thus were in default under the two promissory notes. On November 23, 2010, Carlos and Zilkamarie Echeverry filed a pro se answer and cross-complaint on behalf of Echeverry Industries, asserting that plaintiffs had breached certain provisions of the contract of sale. On February 7, 2011, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint substituting their names for that of Park Avenue Bakery.
In March 2011, the trial court referred the case to mediation.*fn1 On March 28, 2011, the parties attended a mediation conference and reached a settlement agreement. Under this agreement Echeverry Industries and the Echeverrys individually acknowledged that they were indebted to plaintiffs and promised to pay to plaintiffs $750 per month, due on the fifteenth day of each month, through March 15, 2012. Thereafter, the payments would increase to $1000 per month, again due on the fifteenth day of each month, until the entire balance was paid. As consideration for this agreement, plaintiffs agreed to dismiss their complaint and defendants agreed to dismiss their counterclaim.
Paragraph 8 of the settlement agreement provided that:
If Defendants fail to remit any payment in accordance with the terms provided in this agreement, Plaintiffs may enter a judgment for the full amount of the indebtedness less any payments made by that time, ...