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Muhammad v. City of Newark

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

October 21, 2013

KWASI SEKOU MUHAMMAD, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
CITY OF NEWARK, ESSEX COUNTY PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE and UNIVERSITY OF MEDICINE AND DENTISTRY OF NEW JERSEY, Defendants-Respondents.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 3, 2013.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. L-1758-11.

Kwasi Sekou Muhammad, appellant pro se.

John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General, attorney for respondent University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (Lewis A. Scheindlin, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Peter D. Wint, Assistant Attorney General, on the brief).

Anna P. Pereira, Corporation Counsel, attorney for respondent City of Newark, joins in the brief of respondent University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

James R. Paganelli, Essex County Counsel, attorney for respondent Essex County Prosecutor's Office, joins in the brief of respondent University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Before Judges Alvarez and Maven.

PER CURIAM.

Plaintiff Kwasi Sekou Muhammad appeals from a Law Division order entered on June 15, 2012, denying a motion to reinstate his complaint pursuant to Rule 4:50-1. Given the procedural posture of the case we dismiss the appeal as moot.

In 2011, plaintiff filed a motion seeking Leave to File a Late Notice of Claim against the City of Newark, Essex County, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) (collectively defendants) pursuant to the New Jersey Tort Claims Act (Act), N.J.S.A. 59:8-9. In his motion, plaintiff asserted various causes of action against defendants stemming from injuries he sustained in a 1993 shooting incident in Newark when he was fourteen years old.

After an August 19, 2011 hearing, the trial court denied plaintiff's motion. Plaintiff did not appeal the trial court's order. On December 1, 2011, plaintiff moved before the Appellate Division to file a late notice of appeal as within time. This court denied that motion on February 17, 2012, reasoning that plaintiff filed the motion well beyond the seventy-five-day 'outer limit' for filing an appeal. See In re Hill, 241 N.J.Super. 367, 370-71 (App. Div. 1990).

Plaintiff later filed a motion for reconsideration, which we denied on March 15, 2012. In April 2012, the Supreme Court permitted plaintiff to file a notice of petition for certification.

While the matter was pending before the Supreme Court, plaintiff filed a motion for relief from the trial court's August 19, 2011 order, pursuant to Rule 4:50-1, seeking to reinstate his complaint, as well as a motion to inspect documents pursuant to Rule 4:11-1. On June 15, 2012, the trial court denied both motions. As to the former motion, the court ruled that it lacked jurisdiction since the matter was under appellate review.[1] See R. 2:1-9(a). As to the latter motion, the court found that it lacked any basis in the law.

On September 5, 2012, the Supreme Court denied plaintiff's petition for certification, [2] thereby upholding our earlier denial of plaintiff's late notice of appeal. As a result, the August 19, 2011 trial court order remained in effect.

In light of this procedural history, we conclude that plaintiff's claims are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in an opinion, Rule 2:11-3(e)(1)(E), and dismiss plaintiff's appeal from the trial court's June 15, 2012 order as moot.

Dismissed.


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