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Bradshaw v. Gluck

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

August 23, 2013

STEVEN J. BRADSHAW, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
DONALD J. GLUCK, Defendant-Respondent.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued December 12, 2012

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Atlantic County, Docket No. L-9347-11.

Michael J. Confusione argued the cause for appellant (Hegge & Confusione, LLC, attorneys; Mr. Confusione, of counsel and on the brief).

Tracy L. Burnley argued the cause for respondent (Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin, attorneys; Ms. Burnley, on the brief).

Before Judges Simonelli and Accurso.

PER CURIAM

Plaintiff Steven J. Bradshaw appeals from the May 25, 2012 Law Division order, which granted summary judgment to defendant Donald J. Gluck and dismissed the complaint with prejudice. We affirm.

The following facts are derived from evidence submitted by the parties in support of, and in opposition to, the summary judgment motion, viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiff. See Brill v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 142 N.J. 520, 540 (1995).

Defendant is a realtor who represented a landlord in the lease of the landlord's home. On January 14, 2011, plaintiff executed a lease to rent the home from January 22, 2011 to January 26, 2012. Plaintiff paid a $3500 security deposit and pre-paid the yearly rent of $28, 000. A realtor represented plaintiff in the transaction.

The lease contained a clause prohibiting pets (the "no pets" clause). It also contained a three-day review clause, which provided that the three-day review period began on the date the signed lease was delivered, and the lease became binding unless cancelled within the review period. Other clauses provided that the lease could not be changed "except in writing signed by the Landlord and the Tenant[, ]" and that in the event of the tenant's default, the tenant forfeited "any and all deposits as liquid[ated] damages."

Plaintiff claimed that at the time he signed the lease, defendant verbally agreed that plaintiff could have a cat and the "no pets" clause would be amended accordingly. Plaintiff also claimed he did not receive a copy of the lease signed by the landlord until after he moved into the home, and that this was when he discovered that the "no pets" clause had not been updated. Plaintiff did not cancel the lease within three-days of delivery or otherwise contact the landlord about the "no pets" clause or defendant's alleged verbal agreement that plaintiff could have a cat.

The landlord eventually discovered that plaintiff had a cat and sent him a notice to cease on April 1, 2011. Thereafter, as the dispute over the cat intensified, plaintiff did a "google" search of the landlord, whom he had never met. Plaintiff claimed that his "google" search revealed articles indicating that the landlord was affiliated with a Philadelphia crime family.

On April 6, 2011, plaintiff retained an attorney. Plaintiff vacated the home on May 21, 2011, and never asked the landlord or defendant to return his security deposit or the balance of the pre-paid rent. According to plaintiff's attorney, in June 2011, defendant told him that defendant "knew, prior to the time that [plaintiff] rented the subject property, ...


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