DANIELLE D. POTE, Plaintiff-Appellant,
PINE HILL MUNICIPAL UTILITIES ASSOCIATION, Defendant-Respondent.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued May 15, 2013
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, Docket No. L-5545-09.
George R. Szymanski argued the cause for appellant.
John Philip Maroccia argued the cause for respondent.
Before Judges Grall, Simonelli and Koblitz.
Plaintiff Danielle D. Pote appeals the trial court's February 3, 2012 denial of her motion to enforce settlement, March 16, 2012 denial of reconsideration and the April 9, 2012 judgment of no cause. We affirm.
On December 6, 2007, plaintiff went to defendant Pine Hill Municipal Utilities Association (Pine Hills MUA) to pay her water bill. She slipped on ice in the parking lot and sustained injuries to her back, incurring more than $83, 000 in medical bills. On November 4, 2009, plaintiff initiated this premises liability action.
The attorneys for the parties attended a settlement conference in court November 2011 during which plaintiff conveyed a demand of $70, 000 and defendant offered $50, 000. A month later, plaintiff's counsel sent a letter to defense counsel requesting that he place the last offer in writing. On December 26, 2011, defense counsel responded, "Please be advised that the offer to settle this matter is $50, 000.00 subject to any and all acceptance. Please get back to me as the time is running short." On January 12, 2012, plaintiff's counsel wrote a letter to his adversary stating "plaintiff accepts your offer of $50, 000.00, as tendered in your letter to me of December 26, 2011."
The following day defense counsel replied that there was no settlement. Defense counsel wrote:
You asked recently me [sic] about an offer and I responded on December 26, 2011 by advising that same was subject to approval by the adjuster and the JIF MEL fund. I am enclosing a copy of same for your reference.
I recently told you that the adjuster did not approve of my offer and, therefore, the conditions for the offer are not met. I have always told you that I had no authority but would recommend to ...