BRUCE CALLIGARO AND DIANA CALLIGARO, Plaintiffs-Appellants/ Cross-Respondents,
RAMAPO VALLEY POOL SERVICE OF OAKLAND, N.J., Defendant-Respondent/ Cross-Appellant, RAMAPO VALLEY POOL SERVICE, INC., Plaintiff,
SOLANA STONE, INC., AND JOEL LEIFER, Defendants.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued September 23, 2013.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Docket Nos. L-2685-10 and L-9662-09.
Richard T. Garofalo argued the cause for appellants/cross-respondents (Garrity, Graham, Murphy, Garofalo & Flinn, P.C., attorneys; Mr. Garofalo, of counsel; Jane Garrity Glass, on the brief).
Yolanda L. Ayala argued the cause for respondent/cross-appellant (Gallo, Vitucci & Klar, LLP, attorneys; Ms. Ayala, on the brief).
Before Judges Parrillo, Harris, and Guadagno.
This appeal and cross-appeal stem from a failed home improvement contract that was supposed to guide the renovation of plaintiffs' back yard and outdoor swimming pool. After a two-day bench trial, a modest monetary award was entered in favor of plaintiff-homeowners. Plaintiffs primarily appeal from that award, citing its meagerness, and further challenge other aspects of the proceedings. Defendant appeals from the entry of the judgment in toto. We affirm in part, and remand in part.
Plaintiffs Bruce and Diana Calligaro own a home in Ringwood. In 2007, they decided to re-landscape their entire backyard and renovate the in-ground swimming pool. They contacted the owners of defendant Ramapo Valley Pool Service, Inc. (Ramapo) about doing the swimming pool renovations. The Calligaros had been friends with Ramapo's owners for more than fifteen years, and had used Ramapo for swimming pool maintenance.
Plaintiffs negotiated an agreement for Ramapo to perform the renovations. Ramapo agreed to install new tile, replace the coping, re-plaster the inside of the pool, and move the plumbing lines. Plaintiffs never received a written contract encompassing all of the parties' agreements, despite Ramapo's proposals that provided written estimates for the tile and coping work.
Plaintiffs also discussed replacing the decking around the pool, which resulted in Ramapo supplying the stone to accomplish the work. Ramapo's showroom displayed a stone sample of "Ocean Deep, " which was imported and distributed by Solana Stone, Inc. (Solana). After being assured that the Solana stone could withstand the freeze and thaw cycles of a northern New Jersey winter, plaintiffs agreed to acquire it from Ramapo, at cost, for approximately $18, 000.
The Solana stone was ultimately incorporated into plaintiffs' renovation by another contractor, landscaper Alan J. Federici, who performed many of plaintiffs' other backyard renovations in 2008. Solana stone was used for both the coping and decking, ...