February 21, 2012
JOHANNA ONG, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
PETE DELGADO, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Civil Part, Hudson County, Docket No. L-2715-09.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 8, 2012*fn1
Before Judges Waugh and St. John.
Plaintiff Johanna Ong appeals from the Law Division's January 21, 2011 order dismissing her complaint for personal injury against defendant Pedro E. Delgado. We affirm.
Ong's complaint is not contained in her appendix, but the record reflects that she alleged personal injuries arising out of a motor vehicle accident. After several unsuccessful attempts to obtain signed releases for Ong's medical records, Delgado filed a motion to compel production of the releases. The motion was granted in an order dated June 11, 2010.
After Ong failed to comply with the order, Delgado filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. The motion judge entered an order on August 27, 2010, dismissing the complaint without prejudice. Ong made no attempt to comply with the order or to seek reinstatement of the complaint within the sixty days set forth in Rule 4:23-5(a)(2).
Delgado moved for dismissal with prejudice on December 14, 2010. As required by Rule 4:23-5(a)(2), the motion was scheduled for a hearing on January 21, 2011. Ong appeared for the hearing, as did her former attorney. The motion judge concluded that there had been a breakdown in communication between Ong and her attorney. He stated his intention to deny the motion to dismiss with prejudice, conditioned on Ong signing the releases at that time. After several appearances before the judge that day, Ong persisted in refusing to sign the releases. The judge then granted the motion to dismiss with prejudice. This appeal followed.
Having reviewed the issues raised on appeal, we find them to be totally without merit and not warranting an extended discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). We add only the following.
The motion judges in this case fully complied with the requirements of Rule 4:23-5(a)(1) and (2) with respect to dismissal for failure to make discovery. Ong persistently refused to comply with the resulting orders. She was given several opportunities to bring herself into compliance and refused. Ong continues to refuse to comply with Delgado's lawful and routine discovery requests. She has failed to offer cogent and valid reasons for her actions. Although we are aware that the ultimate sanction of dismissal with prejudice is not to be lightly granted, we find no abuse of Judge Mark A. Baber's discretion in doing so in this case.