Recent Decisions of the New Jersey Appellate Courts
from 2017-04-10 to 2017-04-24

Supreme Court Decisions


Appellate Division PUBLISHED Decisions


Docket No.: a5028-14
Decided: 2017-04-11
Caption: JACLYN THOMPSON v. BOARD OF TRUSTEES TEACHERS PENSION AND ANNUITY FUND
Status: published
Summary:
Petitioner Jaclyn Thompson alleged that she was mentally disabled as a result of three incidents at work.

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Appellate Division UNPUBLISHED Decisions


Docket No.: a0627-15
Decided: 2017-04-17
Caption: DIVISION OF CHILD PROTECTION AND PERMANENCY v. R.N.
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant, R.N., made a voluntary directed surrender of his parental rights to his then four-year-old daughter, Rita.1 Defendant subsequently filed a motion seeking to vacate his voluntary surrender, which the court denied. Defendant appeals from that denial. He contends he was denied due process and fundamental fairness in connection with his motion to vacate because he received ineffective assistance of counsel during the motion proceeding and because the trial court lacked a sufficient record upon which to make an informed decision on the motion under Rule 4:50-1. Defendant also contends that denial of his motion must be reversed because the trial court committed plain error in accepting his surrender.

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Docket No.: a0665-15
Decided: 2017-04-17
Caption: State v. David
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Following the denial of his motion to suppress physical evidence, defendant David G. Smith pled guilty to third-degree distribution of Alprazolam, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1) and -5(b)(13). Defendant also pled guilty to three other separate crimes: fourth-degree violation of community supervision for life, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.4(d); third-degree failure to register under Megan's Law, N.J.S.A. 2C:7-2(e); and third-degree theft, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3. On the distribution conviction, defendant was sentenced to six years in prison with three years of parole ineligibility. His sentences for the other three convictions were for terms of one to four years in prison and were run concurrent to each other and to his distribution sentence.

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Docket No.: a0897-15
Decided: 2017-04-17
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. EDWARD HUMPHREY
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant Edward Humphrey appeals from the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR), contending he established a prima facie case of ineffective assistance of counsel requiring an evidentiary hearing, and that the court abused its discretion in conducting argument on the petition in his absence. We affirm.

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Docket No.: a1484-15
Decided: 2017-04-17
Caption: BANK OF AMERICA, N.A. v. ANTHONY GUGLIELMI
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM In this contested mortgage foreclosure action, defendant Anthony Guglielmi appeals from the entry of final judgment, summary judgment and the orders denying reconsideration of those judgments, contending plaintiff Bank of America, N.A. violated the Fair Foreclosure Act and the Court Rules by failing to include "the actual name of the obligee and mortgagee" in its notice of intent to foreclose and the complaint it filed in this matter. Because defendant does not dispute he borrowed the funds from and gave a mortgage to Bank of America, and nothing in the title records or this record suggests Bank of America relinquished control of the note and mortgage before or during the pendency of the case, we affirm.

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Docket No.: a2117-16
Decided: 2017-04-17
Caption: UNITED SERVICES, INC v. CITY OF NEWARK
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM By our leave granted, plaintiff United Services Inc. (USI) appeals from a December 16, 2016 Law Division order which vacated temporary restraints previously entered against defendant City of Newark, and denied plaintiff's application for a preliminary injunction to prevent Newark from proceeding with public contracting for janitorial services for city-owned buildings. After granting leave to appeal, we filed an amended order denying USI's request to enjoin Newark from receiving responses to its solicitation for proposals, but enjoined Newark from awarding a contract based on those solicitations pending this appeal.

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Docket No.: a2777-14
Decided: 2017-04-17
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. JOSE CARRANZA
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant Jose Carranza appeals from an October 22, 2014 Law Division order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). On appeal, defendant argues: POINT I.

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Docket No.: a4294-14
Decided: 2017-04-17
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. JAIME M. KANTER
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant, Jaime M. Kanter, appeals from the December 15, 2014 order denying his petition for post-conviction relief and declining to conduct an evidentiary hearing.

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Docket No.: a5596-14
Decided: 2017-04-17
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. R.M.
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Following a jury trial, defendant R.M. was found guilty of first-degree aggravated sexual assault of N.S., N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(a); second-degree sexual assault of N.S., N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b); second-degree endangering the welfare of N.S., N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a); second-degree sexual assault of D.S., N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(c); and second-degree endangering the welfare of D.S., N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a). Defendant subsequently pled guilty before a different judge to two counts of the same indictment that were severed from trial charging him with second-degree sexual assaults of two other victims. Defendant was sentenced to an aggregate term of twenty-two years imprisonment subject to an 85% period of parole ineligibility pursuant to the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, and the second judge imposed concurrent sentences on defendant's guilty pleas.

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Docket No.: a0706-15
Decided: 2017-04-13
Caption: J.M. v. D.M.
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant D.M. appeals from the Family Part's August 14, 2015 final restraining order (FRO), issued after a three-day trial, pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (Act), N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35. After our consideration of the record and the Family Part judge's cogent and detailed decision, we affirm. The judge heard testimony from three witnesses: plaintiff, J.M., who was self-represented, defendant, and a police officer from Florham Park. In addition to testifying, plaintiff played voicemails that defendant acknowledged leaving on her cell phone.

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Docket No.: a0817-15
Decided: 2017-04-13
Caption: R.R. v. B.R.
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Plaintiff appeals from an August 25, 2015 order denying her request for a final restraining order (FRO) under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA), N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35. After conducting a trial, the Family Part judge found that plaintiff had not proven any of her allegations of harassment, nor had she shown the need for the protection of an FRO. We affirm because the court's findings are supported by substantial, credible evidence in the record. I.

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Docket No.: a2184-15
Decided: 2017-04-13
Caption: IN THE MATTER OF RUTGERS THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW JERSEY
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Appellant Brian Clancy appeals a January 15, 2016 final agency decision of the Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC) denying as untimely his request for the appointment of an arbitrator under N.J.S.A. 40A:14-210(b) and N.J.A.C. 19:12-6.3(b). Because there is substantial credible evidence supporting PERC's determination that appellant requested the appointment of the arbitrator beyond the twenty-day time period required under the statute and regulation, we affirm. I.

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Docket No.: a2362-15
Decided: 2017-04-13
Caption: MILL POINTE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION INC v. ASAD A. RIZVI
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM This matter stems from the failures of a condominium unit owner to make payments on both his delinquent residential mortgage loan due to his lender's assignee and unpaid common expense assessments due to appellant, Mill Pointe Condominium Association, Inc. ("the Association").

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Docket No.: a3523-15
Decided: 2017-04-13
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. STATE TROOPERS FRATERNAL ASSOCIATION
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant State Troopers Fraternal Association (Association) appeals from an April 14, 2016 order granting an application by plaintiff Division of State Police (Division) to vacate an arbitration award, and from a second order of the same date denying the Association's application to confirm the award. The arbitration concerned a dispute over whether the Division was required to reimburse State Troopers for their personal commuting expenses on the State's major toll roads. We affirm for the reasons stated by the motion judge in his oral opinion issued April 14, 2016, and for the reasons stated below.

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Docket No.: a3754-15
Decided: 2017-04-13
Caption: IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION OF TIME WARNER CABLE, INC
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Appellants seek our review of a final agency decision to which they were not a party and as to which they did not comment upon or complain until after the agency voted to approve the merger in question. Because the procedural events govern our decision to affirm, we describe those events in some detail.

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Docket No.: a3802-14
Decided: 2017-04-13
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. MIASHARI FOX
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant Miashari Fox appeals the February 25, 2015 order, which denied her petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) without an evidentiary hearing. We affirm.

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Docket No.: a5700-14
Decided: 2017-04-13
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. SADDIQUE WILLIAMS
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of third- degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(7) arising out of a domestic violence incident. On appeal, defendant raises one point for our consideration:

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Docket No.: a5767-14
Decided: 2017-04-13
Caption: DIVISION OF CHILD PROTECTION AND PERMANENCY v. M.R.
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM In these separate, but consolidated appeals, defendants M.R. (Mary)1 and M.C (Michael) appeal from an August 10, 2015 guardianship judgment, entered following a nine-day trial, which terminated their parental rights to two children born out of their relationship, M.R. (Miles), born in 2009, and K.R. (Kathy), born in 2010. From that same judgment, Mary appeals the termination of her parental rights to S.R. (Sidney), born in 2007.2 The judgment awarded guardianship of the three children to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (Division).

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Docket No.: a0064-14
Decided: 2017-04-12
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. BRIAN M. YOHNNSON
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant Brian Yohnnson appeals a Law Division order denying his post-conviction relief (PCR) petition following an evidentiary hearing. We affirm. Defendant was charged in an indictment with four counts of first-degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1(a)(1) and (2). He filed a motion to suppress statements he made to the police, arguing his Miranda1 rights were violated. Following denial of his motion, defendant pled guilty to two counts of first-degree robbery and two amended counts of second-degree robbery pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement. Defendant was sentenced to an aggregate fifteen-year custodial term, subject to the requirements of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2.

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Docket No.: a0446-15
Decided: 2017-04-12
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. RONALD BURNS
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant Ronald Burns appeals from an August 5, 2015 order denying his motion for a new trial.1 We affirm for the reasons stated by the motion judge in his letter opinion dated July 2, 2015.

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Docket No.: a1198-15
Decided: 2017-04-12
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. FRANCIS MITCHELL
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant Francis Mitchell appeals from an order entered by the Law Division on August 21, 2015, which denied his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

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Docket No.: a1892-15
Decided: 2017-04-12
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. DAVID ARISTE
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant David Ariste appeals from an order filed by the Law Division on October 5, 2015, denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

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Docket No.: a2245-16
Decided: 2017-04-12
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. HASHEEN SANDERS
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM We granted the State's motion for leave to appeal the trial court's January 31, 2017 order denying the State's motion for the detention of defendant and imposing conditions for defendant's pretrial release. We affirm.

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Docket No.: a2371-14
Decided: 2017-04-12
Caption: OBADIAH NEELY v. NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Obadiah Neely, a State prisoner, appeals the December 30, 2014 final agency decision of the Department of Corrections (the "Department") upholding the confiscation of certain items from his prison cell. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

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Docket No.: a2709-14
Decided: 2017-04-12
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. LAWRENCE T. ROBINSON, JR.
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM After his motion to suppress was denied, defendant Lawrence T. Robinson pled guilty to third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(b)(3), and was sentenced in accordance with the plea agreement to a four-year term of imprisonment with two years of parole ineligibility.

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Docket No.: a3445-14
Decided: 2017-04-12
Caption: ROBERT J. TRIFFIN v. SUNRISE BANKS
Status: unpublished
Summary:
J.A.D. Plaintiff Robert J. Triffin appeals from an order that denied his motion to reinstate his complaint and granted a cross-motion for entry of an order enforcing settlement. We affirm. Triffin brought suit in the Special Civil Part against defendants Sunrise Banks, N.A., The Tax Authority, Inc., and Jackson Hewitt, Inc., seeking to recover $6,190.79 on a dishonored cashier's check. Following written discovery, the parties entered into settlement negotiations. There followed an exchange of correspondence that addressed the settlement amount, terms of payment and a proposed settlement agreement.

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Docket No.: a3664-14
Decided: 2017-04-12
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. CHARLES H. RASHID
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant appeals from the denial of his motion to compel discovery from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, the Criminal Case Manager's Office and the Public Defender and for a bill particulars. We affirm. Defendant was convicted of murder in 2004. On direct appeal, the following arguments were presented:

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Docket No.: a5037-14
Decided: 2017-04-12
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. MARCUS HUNT
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM A Bergen County grand jury charged defendant Marcus Hunt in a six-count indictment with two counts of first-degree armed robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (counts one and four); two counts of third-degree possession of a weapon, a metal wrench, for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(d) (counts two and five); and two counts of fourth-degree unlawful possession of the metal wrench, N.J.S.A. 39:39-5(d) (counts three and six). After conducting an evidentiary hearing, the trial judge denied defendant's motion to suppress two out-of-court identifications and defendant's subsequent statement to the police. Pursuant to a plea agreement reached by the parties with the input of the trial judge pursuant to Rule 3:9-3(c), defendant thereafter pled guilty to two amended counts of second-degree robbery (counts one and four). In accordance with the terms of the plea, the judge sentenced defendant to two concurrent five-year terms, subject to the 85% parole ineligibility provisions of the No Early Release Act ("NERA"), and three years of parole supervision upon his release. The judge also assessed appropriate fines and penalties, and dismissed the remaining counts of the indictment.

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Docket No.: a5659-14
Decided: 2017-04-12
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. R.F.
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant R.F. appeals from a June 4, 2015 order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) without an evidentiary hearing. We affirm.

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Docket No.: a0603-15
Decided: 2017-04-11
Caption: CUMMINS POWER SYSTEMS, LLC v. ABSOLUTE POWER SYSTEMS
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM certify We have been advised that this matter has been amicably adjusted and the parties have stipulated to the dismissal of this appeal. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed with prejudice and without costs.

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Docket No.: a0692-15
Decided: 2017-04-11
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. SCHYLER A. MAY
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM After the trial judge denied his motion to suppress a handgun seized from a motel room, defendant Schyler May pled guilty to second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(d). In accordance with the negotiated plea, the judge sentenced defendant to five years in prison, subject to a three-year period of parole ineligibility. The judge also assessed appropriate fines and penalties. On appeal, defendant raises the following contentions:

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Docket No.: a0879-15
Decided: 2017-04-11
Caption: LARRY YELLOCK v. NEW JERSEY STATE PAROLE BOARD
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Appellant Larry Yellock appeals from a September 23, 2015 determination of the New Jersey State Parole Board (Board), denying his appeal from the decision of a two-member Board Panel, which denied parole and established a one-hundred and twenty-month (120) future parole eligibility term (FET), in accordance with N.J.A.C. 10A:71-3.21(a).

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Docket No.: a1131-15
Decided: 2017-04-11
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. MICHAEL A. TUCKER
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant Michael Jones, also known as Michael Tucker, pled guilty to third-degree possession with intent to distribute heroin, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1), (b)(3), and fourth-degree possession with intent to distribute marijuana, N.J.S.A. 2C:35(a)(1), (b)(12). He was sentenced to concurrent three-year terms. On appeal he challenges the denial of his motion to suppress evidence which resulted from a warrantless search. Defendant also challenges his three-year sentence on the fourth-degree marijuana possession count. We vacate the sentence on that count and remand for resentencing, but otherwise affirm his September 24, 2015 judgment of conviction.

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Docket No.: a1300-15
Decided: 2017-04-11
Caption: KSS CERTIFICATES, INC v. JERILEAN G. ROBERTS
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM In this tax sale foreclosure proceeding, defendant Jerilean G. Roberts appeals from an October 15, 2015 final judgment barring her right of redemption and vesting title to the property at issue in plaintiff, KSS Certificates, Inc. We affirm.

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Docket No.: a2247-16
Decided: 2017-04-11
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. IYAHNA BAKER
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM We granted the State's motion for leave to appeal to examine the trial court's denial of the State's motion for pretrial detention of defendant. We now affirm.

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Docket No.: a2459-15
Decided: 2017-04-11
Caption: S.M.E. v. A.E.
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM A.E. appeals from a January 5, 2016 final restraining order (FRO) entered after a finding that he assaulted his wife, S.M.E. at her residence and threatened her when the couple was in the process of obtaining a divorce. We affirm substantially for the reasons expressed in Judge David J. Weaver's thorough oral opinion rendered before he entered the FRO. Judge Weaver found plaintiff's testimony to be "consistent and credible." He found her testimony of being assaulted was corroborated by a photograph of a bruise on her body. The judge also found credible plaintiff's mother's testimony that she heard a loud crash and heard plaintiff calling out "he's attacking me." The judge found that defendant's claim that plaintiff injured herself when she knocked the doorknob against herself was not credible, nor was it consistent with the way the door was constructed, as depicted in a photograph of the door. In light of the current violent incident as well as prior threats over past years, Judge Weaver found that plaintiff was in need of an FRO for her protection.

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Docket No.: a3401-15
Decided: 2017-04-11
Caption: DIVIAION OF CHILD PROTECTION AND PERMANENCY v. R.L.
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant R.L. (Ray)1 appeals from the March 7, 2016 order terminating the parental rights to his daughter S.G.R. (Sarah). Ray contends that the Division of Child Placement and Permanency (the Division) failed to prove all four prongs of the best-interests-of-the-child standard, N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1(a), and that he had ineffective assistance of counsel during the termination hearing. The Division and the Law Guardian contend that the order should be affirmed. After reviewing the record in light of the applicable legal standards, we affirm substantially for the reasons stated by Judge David B. Katz in his oral opinion rendered on the date of the order.

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Docket No.: a4174-13
Decided: 2017-04-11
Caption: KERYN BROWN v. JORGE LOPEZ
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM In A-4174-13, defendant Jorge Lopez appeals from the amended judgment entered by the Law Division on April 11, 2014, which found that he violated New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act (CFA), N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 to -204, and awarded plaintiff Keryn Brown damages and attorney's fees. In A-4351-13, Brown appeals from the provision of the amended judgment, which dismissed her claims against defendants Steven Carracio and Luis Velasco. We address both appeals in this opinion, and for the reasons set forth herein, we affirm.

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Docket No.: a4552-14
Decided: 2017-04-11
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. CARLOS M. LOPEZ
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Indicted on four counts of armed robbery and related offenses for robbing four gas stations — Lukoil, Fuel One, Raceway, and Delta — defendant Carlos M. Lopez was tried by a jury for the Lukoil robbery, convicted, and sentenced to an aggregate twenty-seven year prison term. The court denied the State's motion to impose a life sentence without parole. Defendant appeals (Docket No. A-4552-14) from the judgment of conviction, and the State cross-appeals from the denial of its sentencing motion.

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Docket No.: a5138-13
Decided: 2017-04-11
Caption: IN THE MATTER OF JOSEPH INVERSO STATE PAROLE BOARD
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Joseph Inverso appeals from the Civil Service Commission's April 29, 2014 final decision, denying his request for relief from the September 26, 2013 decision terminating him from a provisional appointment with the New Jersey State Parole Board. We affirm.

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Docket No.: a5233-14
Decided: 2017-04-11
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. JOSE C. GAUTIER-RODRIGUEZ
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant Jose Gautier-Rodriguez appeals from an April 6, 2015 judgment of conviction after he pled guilty to first-degree unlawful possession of a handgun, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b).1 On June 5, 2015, the court sentenced defendant to ten years of imprisonment with five years of parole ineligibility. Defendant's appeal focuses solely on the denial of his suppression motion. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm. I.

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Docket No.: a5465-14
Decided: 2017-04-11
Caption: PILGRIM PLAZA, LLC v. XIU FANG LIU
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM In this shopping center tenancy dispute tried in the Chancery Division, defendant tenant, Xiu Fang Liu, appeals from an amended final judgment reforming the parties' lease, declaring her in default of the lease as reformed and as failing to have exercised an option to renew and awarding the landlord damages, including attorneys' fees.

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Docket No.: a0916-15
Decided: 2017-04-10
Caption: MARK SROKA v. BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABO
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM We were advised prior to argument that appellant passed away on February 18, 2017.  The parties have stipulated to the dismissal of this appeal.  Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed with prejudice and without costs.

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Docket No.: a2122-15
Decided: 2017-04-10
Caption: MARIEL MIRALLES FERRER v. JOSEPH DURKIN
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant Joseph Durkin appeals from a Family Part order of December 16, 2015, entered after a plenary hearing, denying his request to expand his parenting time. Because we conclude Judge Shusted conscientiously applied the law to the parties' circumstances as he found them after taking testimony, we affirm. See Hand v. Hand, 391 N.J. Super. 102, 111-12 (App. Div. 2007).

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Docket No.: a2351-15
Decided: 2017-04-10
Caption: JAMIE BENIMADHO v. SOMERVILLE BOROUGH FIRE DEPARTMENT
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Petitioner Jamie Benimadho, a volunteer firefighter with the Somerville Borough Fire Department (SFD), suffered a traumatic brain injury in an altercation with another firefighter prior to a training class they were required to attend, and filed an employee claim petition with the Division of Workers' Compensation. The sole issue on appeal is whether he was "engaged in the direct performance of duties assigned or directed by [his] employer" at the time of his injury. See N.J.S.A. 34:15-36. He appeals from a decision by the judge of compensation that dismissed his claim for temporary and medical benefits on the ground that he was not injured in the scope of his employment. We affirm. On the date of the injury, petitioner arrived at the Somerset County Emergency Services Training Academy (SCESTA) for a scheduled test. Other volunteer firefighters, including Joseph Wise and Darin Watkins, were waiting in the parking lot. Upon arriving, petitioner observed Watkins putting Kenneth Wise (Watkins's cousin), into a headlock from which Kenneth could not break free. Petitioner knew Watkins to frequently wrestle and "roughhouse" with his peers, including Kenneth. Watkins was not punching Kenneth or trying to slam him into something, but petitioner considered this a "violent altercation" rather than mere horseplay. Cody Hresan, an SFD volunteer firefighter, did not consider Watkins' interaction with Kenneth to be bullying but did think it was too aggressive. He told Watkins to "calm down" and "relax."

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Docket No.: a2504-16
Decided: 2017-04-10
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. VICTORIA WILLIAMS
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant filed this expedited appeal, pursuant to Rule 2:9-13(a), to challenge the trial court's February 14, 2017 order, which granted the State's motion for pretrial detention pursuant to the new Bail Reform Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:162-15 to -26 (the Act). In light of the unusual circumstances presented, we find it was fundamentally unfair for the trial court to apply the Act in this case, and reverse.

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Docket No.: a2870-15
Decided: 2017-04-10
Caption: DIVISION OF CHILD PROTECTION AND PERMANENCY v. D.M.K.
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM D.M.K. and T.A.C., the biological parents of Emily and Anna, appeal the March 1, 2016 final judgment of guardianship, which terminated their parental rights to these children.

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Docket No.: a3662-14
Decided: 2017-04-10
Caption: AVNESH SUPPIAH v. SYSTEMS 3000, INC
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Plaintiff Avnesh Suppiah filed a complaint alleging an ownership interest in his former employer, defendant Systems 3000, Inc. (Systems), and seeking various related relief. The company, its shareholders and principles – defendant Lorenzo Fiorentini and his former wife, defendant Allison Meisenbacher – filed responsive pleadings denying plaintiff's allegations. The parties agreed to a bifurcated trial, addressing only Count Three of the complaint that alleged plaintiff had an ownership interest in Systems. After a bench trial in the Chancery Division, the trial judge entered orders dismissing the parties' claims because she determined that plaintiff was not a shareholder as alleged in his complaint. Plaintiff appeals from those orders. On appeal, plaintiff argues that the trial judge misinterpreted the parties' agreement and erred as "a matter of law" by failing to recognize that, while the agreement provided for the transfer of stock to plaintiff over a ten-year vesting schedule, with conditions, the parties later modified that agreement by their conduct. The modification eliminated the vesting schedule and recognized plaintiff's ownership interest at an earlier point in time. In addition, he asserts defendants were judicially estopped from denying his status as a shareholder, the weight of the evidence did not support the trial judge's findings, and that his claims should be reinstated. We disagree and affirm.

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Docket No.: a4177-14
Decided: 2017-04-10
Caption: R&K ASSOCIATES, LLC v. NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM This is the third appeal stemming from the efforts of Des Champs Laboratories, Inc. ("Des Champs") to obtain from the Department of Environmental Protection (the "DEP") under the Industrial Site Recovery Act ("ISRA"), N.J.S.A. 13:1K-6 to -14, a De Minimis Quantity Exception ("DQE") for property that Des Champs formerly owned and occupied in Livingston Township. The property has been identified as a source of contamination in the local water supply.

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Docket No.: a4197-15
Decided: 2017-04-10
Caption: DIVISION OF CHILD PROTECTION AND PERMANENCY v. M.F.
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant M.F. (mother) appeals from the May 18, 2016 Family Part judgment terminating her parental rights to her son, N.F. (Nick), currently three years of age.1 Nick's father, M.M. (father), died during the guardianship litigation.

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Docket No.: a4273-13
Decided: 2017-04-10
Caption: STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. MARC SUTTON
Status: unpublished
Summary:
PER CURIAM Defendant Marc Sutton absconded after his trial began but before the jury returned its verdict of guilty on October 18, 2007. As a result, he was not sentenced until February 25, 2014. Defendant appeals and we affirm, but vacate the sentence and remand for a resentencing hearing. The jury convicted defendant of all the counts in Indictment No. 05-10-1399: three charges of third-degree theft by unlawful taking, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3 (counts one to three); two counts of third-degree unlawful possession of a weapon (handguns), N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b) and 2C:58-4 (counts four and five); and one count of third-degree unlawful possession of a weapon (rifle), N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(c)(1) and 2C:58-3 (count six). Following the bifurcated trial, defendant was convicted on Indictment No. 05-12-1543 of three counts of second-degree certain persons not to possess (Ruger forty-five caliber handgun, Smith & Wesson forty-four caliber handgun, and Mossberg shotgun), N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7(b).

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Docket No.: a5660-14
Decided: 2017-04-10
Caption: NEW YORK-CONNECTICUT DEVELOPMENT CORP v. BLINDS-TO-GO
Status: unpublished
Summary:
J.A.D. In this matter arising out of the construction of a building, we address whether a verdict can be sustained where the jury found that plaintiff, New York-Connecticut Development Corp. (NYCT), breached the pertinent contract, but nevertheless, awarded it damages under a quantum meruit theory. We conclude that once the jury determined that an express contract existed between the parties, it was erroneous for it to be directed to a consideration of quantum meruit. Consequently, we are constrained to reverse and remand for a new trial. I.

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Tax Court Cases

Docket No.: 04481-09
Decided: 2017-04-13
Caption: Rite Aid Corporation v. Borough of Roselle
Summary:
This letter constitutes the court opinion after trial in the above-referenced matters challenging the assessments on real property leased by plaintiff for tax years 2009 and 2010.

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