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Partyka v. Meza-Role

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

May 28, 2013

RICHARD PARTYKA, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
MODESTA M. MEZA-ROLE, Defendant-Appellant. RICHARD PARTYKA, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
MODESTA M. MEZA-ROLE, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued May 14, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Special Civil Part, Essex County, Docket Nos. LT-7465-12 and LT-23985-12.

Eloy E. Role argued the cause for pro se appellant. [1]

Richard Partyka, respondent, argued the cause pro se.

Before Judges Yannotti and Hoffman.

PER CURIAM

In A-5738-11, defendant Modesta M. Meza-Role (Meza-Role) appeals from an order entered by the Special Civil Part on July 23, 2012, finding that plaintiff Richard Partyka (Partyka) was entitled to a judgment of possession for premises that Partyka leased to Meza-Role. In A-561-12, Meza-Role appeals from an order entered by the Special Civil Part on September 18, 2012, which denied her application to transfer the matter to the Civil Part and determined that Partyka was entitled to a judgment of possession. We consolidate the appeals for decision and now affirm the orders challenged in both cases.

We briefly summarize the pertinent facts, based on the record provided by the parties.[2] It appears that Meza-Role and Partyka entered into an agreement, under which Partyka leased to Meza-Role premises on Garrison Street in Newark, New Jersey. The initial term of the lease was for one year, commencing on September 1, 1997. It seems that the lease was renewed thereafter. Apparently, various disputes arose between the parties concerning their respective obligations under that agreement.

In April 2011, Meza-Role and her husband, Eloy E. Role (Role), filed an action against Partyka in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. This case was docketed as Civil Action No. 11-2307. The record before us does not include a copy of the complaint. Meza-Role says that in the federal action she asserted various claims, including a claim under the federal housing laws. Thereafter, Meza-Role and Role filed several amended complaints in that case.

It appears that one of the disputes between the parties concerned the obligation to provide hot water to the leased premises. The 1997 lease provided in relevant part that the tenants were responsible to pay for electric, gas and heat, while the landlord agreed to "supply and pay for" hot and cold water for the bathroom and kitchen.

Meza-Role and Role claimed that Partyka was obligated under the lease to pay for the gas required to heat the water for the premises, while Partyka maintained that the tenants were required to pay this cost. Apparently because of this dispute, on January 25, 2012, Role asked Public Service Electric & Gas Company (PSE&G) to terminate the gas service account for the leased premises. As a consequence, there was no hot water in the apartment.

On January 30, 2012, Meza-Role and Role filed a motion in the federal court seeking an order compelling Partyka to immediately restore the hot water. On February 9, 2012, Partyka responded to the motion, stating that he did not deprive Role and his family of hot water. Partyka noted that the "situation" was of Role's "own doing and part of a careful, although crazy plan to try to force a hardship on himself and his family and make it look as though [Partyka was] responsible."

Partyka also pointed out that Role had instructed PSE&G to turn off the gas service to the apartment, which he noted was necessary to operate the hot water heater. Partyka said the four tenants in the building had their own hot water heaters and paid for the gas required for their heat and hot water. Partyka added that the tenants paid these costs since he owned the building and prior thereto. He said that ...


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