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Wiley v. Cameron-Walton

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

August 28, 2013

JERRY WILEY, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
GLORIA CAMERON-WALTON, Defendant-Respondent,

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted November 15, 2012

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Special Civil Part, Hudson County, Docket No. DC-13958-08.

Ronald Kurzeja, attorney for appellant.

Stanziale & Stanziale, P.C., attorneys for respondent (Benjamin A. Stanziale, Jr., of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Fuentes and Hayden.

PER CURIAM

Plaintiff Jerry Wiley appeals from the October 3, 2008 Special Civil Part judgment ordering him to pay $15, 000 to defendant Gloria Cameron-Walton and the January 23, 2009 order denying plaintiff's motion for reconsideration. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

We glean the following facts from the record. Plaintiff and defendant knew each other for many years and had some business dealings together. In 2001, plaintiff loaned defendant $15, 000. In return, she conveyed a partial interest in property she owned in Hillside to New Conception Enterprises, Inc. (New Conception), plaintiff's contracting company. On January 26, 2004, plaintiff filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and was discharged on April 30, 2004.

Plaintiff subsequently loaned defendant $5000 on September 12, 2005, to be used as a multi-marketing type of investment. Defendant never repaid this loan. On January 23, 2006, New Conception conveyed its interest in the Hillside property to defendant. Plaintiff executed the deed as president of New Conception.

Defendant then listed the Hillside property for sale with plaintiff acting as her broker. Prior to the closing, defendant discovered two liens recorded against the property that derived from judgments against plaintiff or his company. The first lien was due to a July 26, 2002 judgment against plaintiff and New Conception for $24, 647 from a suit by Charles Miller. The other lien was a franchise tax lien of the State of New Jersey, Division of Taxation, against plaintiff and New Conception, totaling $4231. Defendant then conveyed the property to a third party on March 20, 2006. Plaintiff was paid a $10, 000 commission on the sale. The closing papers showed that adjustments were made for the payoffs of the judgments out of defendant's share of the proceeds.

On April 30, 2008, plaintiff sued defendant for $5000 plus $712 interest based on nonpayment of the 2005 loan. Defendant answered the complaint and filed a counterclaim for recovery of the amount paid to satisfy plaintiff's judgments at closing.

At the October 3, 2008 trial, defendant and plaintiff testified. Defendant acknowledged that she had not paid back the 2005 loan but said she had asked plaintiff to credit that amount against the amount he owed her from paying off the liens. Defendant testified that, in return for her satisfaction of plaintiff's two liens, plaintiff agreed to repay defendant that amount. Plaintiff argued that he did not actually owe the judgments on the liens because the debts had been discharged in the bankruptcy.[1] The judge found defendant's testimony credible that she paid the judgment and tax lien at the closing because plaintiff indicated that he would pay her back. The judge found as follows:

Because at the time Ms. Cameron sold the home, whether or not that debt had been discharged, it was still shown as a lien on the property, that something that had to be paid off by her in order for her to sell the property. Whether it was discharged in bankruptcy or not, it still showed as a lien and she had to pay it off and ...

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