On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. SC-3610-10.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 27, 2012
Before Judges Grall and Alvarez.
Plaintiff Mohamed Barry filed a complaint in the Special Civil Part seeking the return of $1100 from defendant Avner Beno. After hearing the testimony of both parties, Judge Cronin entered judgment in plaintiff's favor and awarded $22 for court costs. Defendant appeals.
Plaintiff, a college student, went to see a house that defendant was attempting to rent on a Thursday. They negotiated a price, and plaintiff gave defendant a $2200 deposit. Defendant gave plaintiff the keys to the house and a receipt which indicted that the payment was subject to signing the lease. Plaintiff was to return on Sunday to sign the lease, but he called defendant later on Thursday to say he had changed his mind. Defendant agreed to exchange the deposit for the keys on Sunday, but when plaintiff called defendant on Saturday to confirm, defendant told him he was going to keep the money.
They met on Monday, and defendant returned $1100 but refused to give plaintiff more than one-half of his deposit. Plaintiff took what defendant gave him and returned the keys because defendant would not agree to pay more. Defendant denied agreeing to return more than one-half of the deposit, and he testified that plaintiff signed a document indicating that he accepted $1100 in full settlement of their dispute. Plaintiff denied signing anything acknowledging a settlement, and defendant did not have the document that he claimed plaintiff signed.
Judge Cronin found plaintiff's testimony to be more credible than defendant's and determined that plaintiff had not agreed to accept a partial return of his deposit. Accordingly, he determined that defendant owed plaintiff $1100 and awarded plaintiff judgment in that amount plus $22 for court costs.
Defendant appeals and presents these issues for our consideration:
I. APPELLANT, AVNER BENO, WAS NOT GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY AT TRIAL TO FULLY STATE HIS CASE, BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MARTIN G. CRONIN, J.S.C., DENYING THE APPELLANT TO HAVE A CHANCE FOR SUMMATION, TO CONNECT MR. BENO'S TESTIMONY AND THE RESPONDENT'S TESTIMONY, (MR. MOHAMED BARRY) SO THAT APPELLANT, AVNER BENO, WOULD BE ABLE TO PROVE HIS CASE.
II. THE COURT MADE AN ERROR AS TO WHETHER THERE WAS AN ENFORCEABLE CONTRACT.
III. SUBJECT TO LEASE ERROR.
IV. RETURNING OF HALF OF DEPOSIT, $1,100.00.
V. THE TRIAL COURT'S FINDING THAT MR. MOHAMED BARRY'S TESTIMONY WAS CREDIBLE, OR NOT HAS NO ...