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Ribaudo v. City of Garfield

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

July 17, 2013

GIUSEPPE RIBAUDO, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
CITY OF GARFIELD, GERALD WALLACE, [1] THOMAS DUCH, and NICHOLAS MELFI, Defendants-Respondents.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted April 15, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Docket No. L-9814-10.

Giuseppe Ribaudo, appellant pro se.

O'Toole Fernandez Weiner Van Lieu, L.L.C., attorneys for respondents (Robert J. Gallop, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Ashrafi and Guadagno.

PER CURIAM

Plaintiff Giuseppe Ribaudo appeals from the February 17, 2012 Law Division order granting summary judgment to defendants and dismissing plaintiff's complaint. Plaintiff also appeals from the April 27, 2012 order denying his motion for reconsideration. We affirm.

On August 30, 2005, defendant Gerald Wallace, a construction official with the City of Garfield, issued a "Notice of Violation" to plaintiff citing three conditions at a home he owned: (1) pool must be enclosed by fencing; (2) remove accumulated garbage/rubbish; and (3) exterior wall needs repair. The notice required that the violations be rectified within ten days and warned that "a municipal summons will be issued for each outstanding violation" if they were not.

In response, plaintiff removed the accumulated garbage but did not immediately repair the exterior wall or enclose the pool with a fence.

On October 20, 2005, Wallace served plaintiff with a summons alleging a failure to secure the pool and repair the deteriorated wall. Plaintiff appeared in municipal court on November 15, 2005. By then, plaintiff had enclosed the pool and agreed to Wallace's request that he install a lock on the gate. The municipal judge ordered plaintiff to repair the wall and gave him three months to complete the repairs.

On April 6, 2006, plaintiff again appeared in municipal court. Plaintiff had not completed the repairs due to recent surgery, but had purchased some of the materials needed. Defendant Nicholas Melfi, a Garfield building sub-code official, appeared and requested that plaintiff provide an engineer's report before undertaking repairs. The municipal judge ordered plaintiff to obtain the report within ten days. Plaintiff obtained an engineering report from the PMK Group (PMK) containing recommendations for the repair of the wall and provided it to Melfi. Melfi disagreed with some of the engineer's recommendations and met two of the PMK engineers at the site on May 30, 2006. After the meeting, Melfi requested construction plans for the repairs. As PMK was not able to provide construction plans, plaintiff retained another engineering firm, E2 Project Management L.L.C. (E2PM). Plaintiff disagreed with some of the recommendations of E2PM, including a reduction in the height of the wall.

On August 17, 2007, plaintiff informed Melfi that repairs to the exterior wall had been completed. Plaintiff noted that he did not change the elevation of the wall as recommended in the E2PM report.

On November 8, 2007, the municipal court held a trial. Melfi, Wallace and plaintiff testified. The municipal judge found that plaintiff failed to comply with the prior order to secure the pool as it was full of debris and "should be covered and cleaned." The judge was not satisfied as to the proofs regarding the wall violations ...


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