Law Office Of Paul DePetris
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Passaic County Court Information

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PASSAIC COUNTY COURT INFORMATION


WHERE IS THE PASSAIC COUNTY COURT?
Passaic County Courthouse
77 Hamilton Street
Paterson, NJ 07505
973-247-8000


WHAT ARE THE HOURS OF THE PASSAIC COUNTY COURT?
The Passaic County Court is normally open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


WHAT COURTS HEAR NEW JERSEY PASSAIC COUNTY CIVIL COURT CASES? 
Passaic County Civil Court cases are heard by the following subparts of the New Jersey Court system:
Passaic County Law Division - Civil Part
Passaic County Law Division - Special Civil Part
Passaic County Law Division – Special Civil Part - Landlord Tenant Section
Passaic County Law Division – Special Civil Part – Small Claims Section
Passaic County Chancery Division


WHAT IS THE PASSAIC COUNTY SPECIAL CIVIL PART?
The Passaic County Special Civil Part is a subpart of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division.  In the Passaic County Special Civil Part, disputes involving a limited amount of money -- $15,000 or less – may be heard.   This article does not attempt to discuss all of the details of cases heard in the small claims section or landlord tenant part of the Passaic County Special Civil Part.  This article does not attempt to discuss small claims disputes or landlord tenant cases.  Passaic County Special Civil Part cases seeking money damages between $3,000-$15,000 are assigned a docket number beginning with “DC”.   


WHAT TYPES OF CLAIMS ARE USUALLY FILED IN PASSAIC COUNTY SPECIAL CIVIL PART?
Contract disputes
Property damage disputes, such as car accidents where only property is damaged (and persons do not sustain serious personal injuries)
Bill collection disputes
Security deposit disputes
Disputes between consumers and merchants involving unsatisfactory goods or services


WHAT MATTERS ARE HEARD IN PASSAIC COUNTY SPECIAL CIVIL PART COURT?
The Passaic County Special Civil Part Court hears the following types of New Jersey cases:
(1) Civil actions (exclusive of professional malpractice, probate, and matters cognizable in the Family Division or Tax Court) seeking legal relief when the amount in controversy does not exceed $15,000;
(2) Small claims actions, which are defined as all actions in contract and tort (exclusive of professional malpractice, probate, and matters cognizable in the Family Division or Tax Court) and actions between a landlord and tenant for rent, or money damages, when the amount in dispute, including any applicable penalties, does not exceed, exclusive of costs, the sum of $3,000. Small claims also include actions for the return of all or part of a security deposit when the amount in dispute, including any applicable penalties, does not exceed, exclusive of costs, the sum of $5,000. The Small Claims Section may provide such ancillary equitable relief as may be necessary to effect a complete remedy. Actions in lieu of prerogative writs and actions in which the primary relief sought is equitable in nature are excluded from the Small Claims Section;
(3) Summary landlord/tenant actions;
(4) Summary actions for the possession of real property pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:35-1 et seq., where the defendant has no colorable claim of title or possession, or pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:39-1 et seq.; 
(5) Summary proceedings for the collection of statutory penalties not exceeding $15,000 per complaint;
(6) Municipal court actions, pursuant to R. 7:1, in the counties of Bergen, Hudson and Warren.
(b) Distinct Negligence Claims. An action for damages resulting from negligence composed of several distinct claims may be brought in the Passaic County Special Civil Part if the amount recoverable on each claim is within the monetary limit even though the amount recoverable on all claims exceeds that limit.
(c) Waiver of Excess. Where the amount recoverable on a claim exceeds the monetary limit of the Passaic County Special Civil Part or the Small Claims Section, the party asserting the claim shall not recover a sum exceeding the limit plus costs and on the entry of judgment shall be deemed to have waived the excess over the applicable limit.


WHAT IS THE PASSAIC COUNTY SMALL CLAIMS COURT?
The Passaic County Small Claims Section is a subpart of the Passaic County Special Civil Part court.  Passaic County Small Claims cases are handled by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Passaic County Special Civil Part, Small Claims Section.   Passaic County Small Claims cases are civil cases in which the money sought to be recovered does not exceed $3,000 (or $5,000 if the case involves the return of a rental security deposit).   Passaic County Small Claims cases are assigned a docket number beginning with “SC”.   Lawsuits for higher amounts of money must be filed with other New Jersey courts.   In cases for damages up to $15,000, the claimant should file in the regular Passaic County Special Civil Part and in Cases involving damages greater than $15,000, the claimant should file in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Civil Part.  There are also exceptions to these rules – not all types of cases are able to be filed in the Passaic County Small Claims Court.   For example, if you have a claim involving a family law situation, you may have to file in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part.  Also, if you are a landlord who seeks to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent, you may have to file your claim in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Passaic County Special Civil Part, Landlord Tenant Section.    If you file your lawsuit in the Passaic County Small Claims Court, you shall very likely be prevented from recovering more money than $3,000 (or $5,000 if the case involves the return of a rental security deposit).    Because the procedures for handling cases in the Passaic County Small Claims Court are relatively easier than in courts deciding cases involving larger sums of money, most lawsuits filed in the Passaic County Small Claims Court move more rapidly through the New Jersey court system than lawsuits filed for larger sums of money.   Most New Jersey Special Civil Part Court cases are New Jersey nonjury trials, meaning the New Jersey case is only heard by a Passaic County judge, although a New Jersey jury trial may be requested for an extra fee.  


WHAT IS THE “REGULAR” PASSAIC COUNTY SPECIAL CIVIL PART COURT?
Passaic County Special Civil Part cases that are not landlord tenant or Small Claims cases are typically Passaic County Special Civil cases that are assigned a New Jersey “DC” case docket number.  You can file your Passaic County Special Civil case as your Passaic County Special Civil case that is assigned a “DC” docket and not your Passaic County Small Claims case that is assigned an “SC” docket even if you are asking for an amount of money less than $3,000.00 – the limit for most Passaic County Small Claims cases (or $5,000 if the case involves the return of a rental security deposit).   The regular Passaic County Special Civil Part Court has some different procedures and forms from Passaic County Small Claims Court and higher filing fees.  Most New Jersey Special Civil Part Court cases are New Jersey nonjury trials, meaning the New Jersey case is only heard by a Passaic County judge, although a New Jersey jury trial may be requested for an extra fee.


HOW DO I KNOW IF MY PASSAIC COUNTY SPECIAL CIVIL CASE IS YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY SMALL CLAIMS CASE OR A REGULAR PASSAIC COUNTY SPECIAL CIVIL CASE?
The Passaic County Special Civil Part hears both Passaic County Small Claims cases and “regular” Passaic County Special Civil cases.   Passaic County Small Claims cases are identified by the number that the Passaic County Small Claims Court assigns to the Passaic County Small Claims case – a number beginning in “SC”.  “SC” stands for Passaic County Small Claims Court.  Passaic County Special Civil cases are identified by the number that the Passaic County Special Civil Part Court assigns to the Passaic County Special Civil case – a number beginning in “DC”.   “DC” stands for “New Jersey District Court” – the old name for Passaic County Special Civil Part Court.  


WHAT IS THE PASSAIC COUNTY LAW DIVISION AND WHAT CASES ARE HEARD BY THE PASSAIC COUNTY LAW DIVISION?
For purposes of this article, when we refer to the Passaic County Law Division, we are referring to the Passaic County Law Division Civil Part – a New Jersey court in which money damages are not limited to any dollar amount.   The Passaic County Law Division cases use a docket number starting with the letter “L” and often, different Passaic County Law Division County Courts also use the first few letters of the County in which the Passaic County Law Division Case is being heard, placing those letters before the “L”.  Most civil cases that are heard in the Passaic County Law Division involve bodily injury lawsuits also known as personal injury lawsuits, such as New Jersey automobile accidents, New Jersey slip and fall accidents or New Jersey medical malpractice cases.  The Passaic County Law Division also hears many New Jersey collection lawsuits usually for amounts over $15,000.00 and New Jersey breach of contract lawsuits usually for amounts over $15,000.00.  Most Passaic County Law Division cases are New Jersey jury trials, although some are New Jersey nonjury trials, meaning the New Jersey case is only heard by a Passaic County judge.


WHAT IS THE PASSAIC COUNTY CHANCERY DIVISION AND WHAT CASES ARE HEARD BY THE PASSAIC COUNTY CHANCERY DIVISION?
For purposes of this article, when we refer to the Passaic Chancery Division, we are referring to the Passaic Chancery Division, General Equity Part.  The Passaic Chancery Division hears New Jersey civil cases in which monetary damages are not the focus of the New Jersey case but instead, equitable relief is the focus of the New Jersey case – the Passaic Chancery Division is being asked to enforce a right or obligation.  Most Passaic Chancery Division General Equity judges handle non-jury cases such as those involving trade secrets, labor matters, foreclosures and other disputes in which court relief, often in the form of restraining orders, is sought on an emergency basis.  The Passaic Chancery Division cases use a docket number starting with the letter “C”.   Most Passaic Chancery Division cases are New Jersey nonjury trials, meaning the New Jersey case is only heard by a Passaic County judge, although some New Jersey jury trials are heard in Chancery Division.  Often, it is up to the Passaic Chancery Division to decide if a Passaic Chancery Division Case should be heard by a New Jersey Jury.  Some Passaic County Chancery Division cases include the following:
Passaic County Chancery Division cases to enforce the performance of contracts, trusts and fiduciary obligations 
Passaic County Chancery Division cases to re-execute or correct instruments lost or erroneously drafted 
Passaic County Chancery Division cases to set aside transactions that were illegal, fraudulent, etc. 
Passaic County Chancery Division cases to execute writs of attachment 
Passaic County Chancery Division cases to stop actions that will cause immediate or irreparable harm 
Passaic County Chancery Division cases to grant the reacquisition of property upon default of mortgage or tax payments 
Passaic County Chancery Division cases for emergency relief - emergent Applications 
There are three types of Passaic County Chancery Division cases heard on an emergency basis: (1) Orders to Show Cause; (2) Sheriff’s Evictions; and (3) Special Medical Guardianships.
HOW DO I START MY PASSAIC COUNTY COURT CASE?
You may file a lawsuit – called a “the Passaic County complaint” -- preparing a written New Jersey the Passaic County complaint and filing it by either visiting the New Jersey Superior Courthouse or appropriate Court Finance Office in the county where you intend to file the Passaic County complaint – all of which are located in the county seat of the appropriate county -- or by sending the necessary paperwork to the appropriate county office of the Superior Court of New Jersey.  You must pay a fee to file your the Passaic County complaint that is determined based on the number of parties you are suing, the dollar amount of the dispute and the type of New Jersey trial you want.  The court filing fees often change, so it is important that you check with the court as to the appropriate fee when you are actually ready to file your papers.  Only persons age 18 or older are able to file the Passaic County complaint for themselves (minors must file a lawsuit through their parent or guardian).  There are specific rules about where to file the Passaic County complaints, which depend on various considerations.  The Passaic County complaint forms are often available at the courthouse and vithe worldwide web.  However, neither court forms, websites nor advice from court personnel are good substitutes for a competent attorney’s legal services.  Each case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges.  It is extremely important that you prepare your the Passaic County complaint very carefully and make sure that you include in the document a detailed list of all factual and legal reasons why you may have a right to win your case, since failure to do so could cause you to lose your case.  It is very common for people to file inadequate or incorrect the Passaic County complaints that result in the Passaic County complaints or the Passaic County answers to the Passaic County complaints being rejected by the court or being dismissed by the court after filing and before or after New Jersey trial because of procedural deficiencies.   If you are not represented by an attorney in a New Jersey case, you are called a “pro se litigant”.  Most the Passaic County complaints filed in special civil part that go to New Jersey trial are Passaic County nonjury trials, meaning that only a Passaic County judge hears the case.  For an extra fee paid only when you first file your first the Passaic County complaint (or paid when you file your first the Passaic County answer, if you are responding to the Passaic County complaint), you may demand a New Jersey trial by 6 jurors in Special Civil Part.  In the Law Division, Civil Part, you merely file the appropriate jury request with no additional fee beyond the Passaic County complaint filing fee necessary to secure a Passaic County jury trial.   Passaic County jury trials are much more complex than Passaic County nonjury trials and usually require much more preparation, including extensive paperwork.  However, a Passaic County jury trial demand may result in the facts of your case being decided by a jury of ordinary people rather than by a single Passaic County judge.  Even where a party requests an Passaic County jury trial, the legal issues in the New Jersey trial are normally decided by the Passaic County judge hearing the case. 


WHAT IF I AM SUED IN THE PASSAIC COUNTY COURT CASE?
If you are sued in the Passaic County Court case, you shall be named to the Passaic County complaint or the Passaic County counterclaim and must file a written response to the Passaic County complaint or the Passaic County counterclaim, called an “the Passaic County answer”.   Failure to do so will normally result in your being defaulted and exposes you to the risk of having a money judgment entered against you and thereafter, possibly losing money or property.  You may file the Passaic County answer in civil court by preparing a written the Passaic County answer disputing charges made against you in the Passaic County complaint or the Passaic County counterclaim and requesting that the court dismiss the case.  If plaintiff or someone that isn’t named in the Passaic County complaint owes you money or property based on the same set of facts as those in dispute in the Passaic County complaint or facts related to the dispute, in addition to filing the Passaic County answer, you may also be able to file the Passaic County counterclaim or third party the Passaic County complaint to recover the money or property (discussed below).  Forms are often available at the appropriate court office and vithe worldwide web.  However, neither court forms, websites nor advice from court personnel are good substitutes for a competent attorney’s legal services.  Each case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges.  It is very common for people to file inadequate or incorrect the Passaic County complaints that result in the Passaic County complaints or the Passaic County answers to the Passaic County complaints being rejected by the court or being dismissed by the court after filing and before or after New Jersey trial because of procedural deficiencies.  It is important to be truthful and not to make misstatements of facts when the Passaic County answering the Passaic County complaints and the Passaic County counterclaims.   It is extremely important that you prepare your the Passaic County answer very carefully and make sure that you include in the Passaic County answer a detailed list of all defenses against the Passaic County complaint or the Passaic County counterclaim that you are responding to, since failure to do so could cause you to lose your case.  Accordingly, when you are sued, you should seriously consider hiring an attorney to prepare your response to the Passaic County complaint or the Passaic County counterclaim, to prepare written requests for information to the party that sued you (discussed further below) and if you can afford it, to have an attorney represent you in court.  After your the Passaic County answer is prepared, you must file it by either visiting the New Jersey Superior Courthouse or appropriate Court Finance Office in the county where the Passaic County complaint was filed – all of which are located in the county seat of the appropriate county -- or by sending the necessary paperwork to the appropriate county office of the Superior Court of New Jersey.  You must pay a fee to file your the Passaic County answer that is determined based on the amount of the original dispute and the type of New Jersey trial you want and whether you intend to add parties to the lawsuit (discussed below).   Only persons age 18 or older are able to file the Passaic County answer for themselves (minors must file the Passaic County answer through their parent or guardian).   If you are not represented by an attorney in a New Jersey case, you are called a “pro se litigant”.  Most the Passaic County complaints filed in special civil part that go to New Jersey trial are Passaic County nonjury trials, meaning that only a Passaic County judge hears the case.  For an extra fee paid only when you first file your first the Passaic County complaint (or paid when you file your first the Passaic County answer, if you are responding to the Passaic County complaint), you may demand a New Jersey trial by 6 jurors in Special Civil Part.  In the Law Division, Civil Part, you merely file the appropriate jury request with no additional fee beyond the Passaic County complaint filing fee necessary to secure a Passaic County jury trial.   Passaic County jury trials are much more complex than Passaic County nonjury trials and usually require much more preparation, including extensive paperwork.  However, a Passaic County jury trial demand may result in the facts of your case being decided by a jury of ordinary people rather than by a single Passaic County judge.  Even where a party requests a Passaic County jury trial, the legal issues in the New Jersey trial are normally decided by the Passaic County judge hearing the case. 


 WHAT IF I AM SUED BUT SOMEONE OWES ME MONEY BECAUSE OF THE SITUATION THAT IS THE SUBJECT OF THE PASSAIC COUNTY COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST ME?
If you are a defendant and plaintiff or someone that isn’t named in the Passaic County complaint owes you money or property based on the same set of facts as those in dispute in the Passaic County complaint or facts related to the dispute, in addition to filing the Passaic County answer, you may also be able to file the Passaic County counterclaim or third party the Passaic County complaint to recover the money or property (discussed below).  If there are valid facts and legal reasons to support it, a defendant can file their own lawsuit against a plaintiff, called a “the Passaic County counterclaim If you are sued and someone who is not named in the lawsuit is partially or totally responsible for the plaintiff’s damages or for damages you suffered and there are valid facts and legal reasons to support it, a defendant can file their own the Passaic County complaint, called a “third party the Passaic County complaint”.  By doing so, the defendant names parties not originally named to the Passaic County complaint as additional parties to the case.  The Passaic County counterclaims and third party the Passaic County complaints must be prepared in writing and filed with the appropriate court where the original the Passaic County complaint is being heard normally require extra fees above the cost of filing the Passaic County answer to the original the Passaic County complaint.  In the case of a third party the Passaic County complaint, once properly filed, the special civil part normally serves it on the plaintiff.  Forms may be available at the appropriate office of the special civil part and via ithe worldwide web.  However, neither court forms, websites nor advice from court personnel are good substitutes for a competent attorney’s legal services.  Each case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges.  It is very common for people to file inadequate or incorrect the Passaic County complaints or the Passaic County counterclaims that result in the Passaic County complaints or the Passaic County answers to the Passaic County complaints or the Passaic County counterclaims being rejected by the special civil part or being dismissed by the special civil part after filing and before or after New Jersey trial because of procedural deficiencies.  It is important to be truthful and not to make misstatements of facts when the Passaic County answering the Passaic County complaints and filing the Passaic County counterclaims and third party the Passaic County complaints.   It is extremely important that you prepare your the Passaic County answer, the Passaic County counterclaim or third party the Passaic County complaint carefully and make sure that you include in the documents a detailed list of all reasons why you may have a right to win your case, since failure to do so could cause you to lose your case.  Accordingly, when you are sued and when you want to file the Passaic County counterclaim or third party the Passaic County complaint, you should seriously consider hiring an attorney to prepare your response to the Passaic County complaint or the Passaic County counterclaim, to prepare written requests for information to the party that sued you (discussed further below) and if you can afford it, to have an attorney represent you in court.  After your the Passaic County counterclaim or third party the Passaic County complaint is prepared, you must file it by either visiting the New Jersey Superior Courthouse or appropriate Court Finance Office in the county where the Passaic County complaint was filed – all of which are located in the county seat of the appropriate county -- or by sending the necessary paperwork to the appropriate county office of the Superior Court of New Jersey.  You must pay a fee to file the document that is determined based on the amount of the original dispute and the type of New Jersey trial you want and it may also be based on whether you intend to add parties to the lawsuit.


WHAT IF I FILED THE PASSAIC COUNTY COMPLAINT AND DEFENDANT FILED THE PASSAIC COUNTY COUNTERCLAIM AGAINST ME?
If there are valid facts and legal reasons to support it, a defendant can file their own lawsuit against a plaintiff, called a “the Passaic County counterclaim”.  If you are named to the Passaic County counterclaim, you must file a written the Passaic County answer to the Passaic County counterclaim.  Failure to do so will normally result in your being defaulted and exposes you to the risk of having a money judgment entered against you and thereafter, possibly losing money or property.  It is possible for plaintiffs to win on their the Passaic County complaint only to lose on a defendant’s the Passaic County counterclaim.  You may file the Passaic County answer in special civil part by preparing a written the Passaic County answer disputing charges made against you in the Passaic County complaint or the Passaic County counterclaim and requesting that the special civil part dismiss the wrong charges.  If plaintiff or someone that isn’t named in the Passaic County complaint owes you money or property based on the same set of facts as those in dispute in the Passaic County complaint or facts related to the dispute, in addition to filing the Passaic County answer, you may also be able to file the Passaic County counterclaim or third party the Passaic County complaint to recover the money or property (discussed below).  Forms are available at the appropriate office of the special civil part and vithe worldwide web.  However, neither court forms, websites nor advice from court personnel are good substitutes for a competent attorney’s legal services.  Each case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges.  It is very common for people to file inadequate or incorrect the Passaic County complaints that result in the Passaic County complaints or the Passaic County answers to the Passaic County complaints being rejected by the special civil part or being dismissed by the special civil part after filing and before or after New Jersey trial because of procedural deficiencies.  It is important to be truthful and not to make misstatements of facts when the Passaic County answering the Passaic County complaints and the Passaic County counterclaims.   It is extremely important that you prepare your the Passaic County answer very carefully and make sure that you include in the Passaic County answer a detailed list of all defenses against the Passaic County complaint or the Passaic County counterclaim that you are responding to, since failure to do so could cause you to lose your case.  Accordingly, when you are sued, you should seriously consider hiring an attorney to prepare your response to the Passaic County complaint or the Passaic County counterclaim, to prepare written requests for information to the party that sued you (discussed further below) and if you can afford it, to have an attorney represent you in court.  After your the Passaic County answer is prepared, you must file it by either visiting the New Jersey Superior Courthouse or appropriate Court Finance Office in the county where the Passaic County complaint was filed – all of which are located in the county seat of the appropriate county -- or by sending the necessary paperwork to the appropriate county office of the Superior Court of New Jersey.  You must pay a fee to file your the Passaic County answer that is determined based on the amount of the original dispute and the type of New Jersey trial you want and whether you intend to add parties to the lawsuit (discussed below).   Only persons age 18 or older are able to file the Passaic County answer for themselves (minors must file the Passaic County answer through their parent or guardian).   Most the Passaic County complaints filed in special civil part that go to New Jersey trial are Passaic County nonjury trials, meaning that only a Passaic County judge hears the case.  For an extra fee paid only when you first file your first the Passaic County complaint (or paid when you file your first the Passaic County answer, if you are responding to the Passaic County complaint), you may demand a New Jersey trial by 6 jurors in Special Civil Part.  In the Law Division, Civil Part, you merely file the appropriate jury request with no additional fee beyond the Passaic County complaint filing fee necessary to secure a Passaic County jury trial.   Passaic County jury trials are much more complex than Passaic County nonjury trials and usually require much more preparation, including extensive paperwork.  However, a Passaic County jury trial demand may result in the facts of your case being decided by a jury of ordinary people rather than by a single Passaic County judge.  Even where a party requests a Passaic County jury trial, the legal issues in the New Jersey trial are normally decided by the Passaic County judge hearing the case. 


WHAT HAPPENS IF THE PASSAIC COUNTY COURT CASE INVOLVES A CORPORATION, PARTNERSHIP OR LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY?
The officers of corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and the like cannot generally appear in Special Civil Part in cases involving disputes exceeding $3,000 or in cases heard in the Law Division, Civil Part, since the corporation, partnership or limited liability company must usually be represented by an attorney.  There may be some exceptions to this rule, such as where the case involves a summary action for possession of premises.   Also, if you sue a company and the company represents itself at New Jersey trial and you thereafter win the case and recover a judgment, it is possible that the company shall get the judgment overturned because they were not permitted to appear in court for themselves in the first place!


WHAT IS NEW JERESY DISCOVERY IN PASSAIC COUNTY COURT CASES?
Discovery is a period of fact finding, which occurs after your New Jersey lawsuit is filed or after your New Jersey answer is filed and before you have your Passaic County Court trial.  During New Jersey discovery, New Jersey plaintiffs and New Jersey defendants seek information about the New Jersey case.  The information sought during discovery may include a wide range of information, from copies of New Jersey records to New Jersey witness statements.  Unless otherwise limited by a New Jersey court order, New Jersey plaintiffs and New Jersey defendants may obtain New Jersey discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action, whether it relates to the New Jersey claim or New Jersey defense of the New Jersey plaintiff or New Jersey defendant seeking discovery or to the claim or defense of any other party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition and location of any books, documents, electronically stored information, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter. It is not ground for objection that the information sought will be inadmissible at the trial if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence; nor is it ground for objection that the examining party has knowledge of the matters as to which discovery is sought.  The methods of investigation used during discovery include New Jersey interrogatories, New Jersey request for production of documents, New Jersey notice to produce documents and New Jersey admissions which are also called New Jersey request for New Jersey admissions.  To get a better understanding of the facts surrounding the case, New Jersey plaintiffs and New Jersey defendants may serve New Jersey interrogatories, New Jersey request for production of documents, New Jersey notice to produce documents and New Jersey request for New Jersey admissions.  These are forms of New Jersey written discovery, which require the New Jersey plaintiff or New Jersey defendant served with them to answer in writing the New Jersey interrogatory questions, New Jersey admission questions and requests for documents.    The New Jersey plaintiff or New Jersey defendant that receives the written requests has a certain number of days to answer them.  If a New Jersey plaintiff or New Jersey defendant fails to answer the New Jersey requests in the time allotted, their New Jersey lawsuit or answer to the New Jersey lawsuit can be dismissed or suppressed or in the case of New Jersey admissions, the claims can be admitted conclusively against the New Jersey plaintiff or New Jersey defendant that failed to answer the New Jersey requests.   


WHAT IF I DON’T GET NEW JERSEY ANSWERS TO NEW JERSEY INTERROGATORIES, NEW JERSEY ANSWERS TO NEW JERSEY REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUEMNTS OR NEW JERSEY ANSWERS TO A NOTICE TO PRODUCE DOCUMENTS?
If you ignore New Jersey court interrogatories and you are the New Jersey defendant or a New Jersey plaintiff facing a New Jersey counterclaim, then the New Jersey plaintiff or New Jersey defendant that serves them on you can ask to have any New Jersey answer that you file with the court “suppressed” or “stricken” or may ask the court to “compel” you or force you to provide New Jersey answers or face court penalties.  If the New Jersey plaintiff or New Jersey defendant requesting the In New Jersey court New Jersey answers files the proper New Jersey court papers with the court, this could eventually lead the requesting party to win their case, either by getting a money judgment in their favor. If you ignore New Jersey court interrogatories and you are the plaintiff or a defendant with a New Jersey counterclaim, then the New Jersey plaintiff or New Jersey defendant that serves them on you can ask to have any complaint or New Jersey counterclaim that you file with the court “dismissed” or may ask the court to “compel” you or force you to provide New Jersey answers or face court penalties.  If the New Jersey plaintiff or New Jersey defendant requesting the In New Jersey court New Jersey answers files the proper New Jersey court papers with the court, this could eventually lead the requesting party to win their case, by getting a New Jersey lawsuit or New Jersey counterclaim forever dismissed.  


It is your duty to follow the New Jersey court rules and use them to get complete responses to your New Jersey interrogatories and New Jersey requests for documents (also called a New Jersey notice to produce documents).  Unless you take action to make sure you get complete responses to your New Jersey interrogatories and New Jersey requests for documents (also called a New Jersey notice to produce documents), you may go to your Passaic County Court trial unprepared and lose your New Jersey case!  The New Jersey court rules include penalties for New Jersey plaintiffs and New Jersey defendants failing to answer properly prepared and served New Jersey interrogatories and New Jersey requests for documents (also called a New Jersey notice to produce documents).  Take advantage of the New Jersey court rules to get complete responses to your New Jersey interrogatories and New Jersey requests for documents (also called a New Jersey notice to produce documents).   If a New Jersey plaintiff or New Jersey defendant only gives you objections or incomplete New Jersey answers to your New Jersey interrogatories and New Jersey requests for documents (also called a New Jersey notice to produce documents), you can prepare and file papers to seek New Jersey penalties against the offending New Jersey plaintiffs and New Jersey defendants!    Many times, New Jersey plaintiffs and New Jersey defendants win their Passaic County Court cases by refusing to be satisfied with unresponsive or incomplete responses to New Jersey interrogatories and New Jersey requests for documents (also called a New Jersey notice to produce documents)!


WHAT HAPPENS IF NEW JERSEY INTERROGATROY ANSWERS ARE INCOMPLETE?
If New Jersey interrogatory answers are incomplete, the New Jersey plaintiff or New Jersey defendant, upon reasonable notice to other New Jersey plaintiffs or New Jersey defendants and all persons affected thereby, may apply for a New Jersey court order compelling discovery.  For example, The New Jersey plaintiff or New Jersey defendant serving a New Jersey interrogatory question answered by a statement that it is improper may, within 20 days after being served with the New Jersey interrogatory answers, serve a New Jersey notice of motion to compel an answer to the question, and, if granted, the question shall be answered within such time as the New Jersey court directs.   The New Jersey plaintiff or New Jersey defendant serving a request for a copy of a paper which is not complied with, may, within 20 days after being served with the New Jersey interrogatory answers, serve a notice of motion directing compliance with the request or for other appropriate relief.


WHAT IS A NEW JERSEY DISCOVERY DISPUTE?
If a New Jersey plaintiff or New Jersey defendant fails to timely or completely answer New Jersey interrogatories, New Jersey request for production of documents, New Jersey notice to produce documents and New Jersey admissions the New Jersey plaintiff or New Jersey defendant that served the New Jersey discovery requests needs to quickly and timely take action to get the missing information or be unprepared for their Passaic County Court trial.


WHAT IS PASSAIC COUNTY LAW DIVISION MEDIATION IN PASSAIC COUNTY LAW DIVISION CASES?
Passaic County Law Division mediation is the Passaic County Law Division complimentary Passaic County Law Division lawsuit resolution program used in certain Passaic County Law Division cases.  Passaic County Law Division complementary Passaic County Law Division lawsuit resolution programs constitute an integral part of the Passaic County Law Division process, intended to enhance its quality and efficacy.  In many Passaic County Law Division cases heard in the Passaic County Law Division, before the Passaic County Law Division trial occurs the Passaic County Law Division requires the Passaic County Law Division plaintiff and Passaic County Law Division defendant to mediate their Passaic County Law Division lawsuit.  Passaic County Law Division mediation is an informal Passaic County Law Division hearing normally held in a conference room.  You and the other Passaic County Law Division plaintiff or Passaic County Law Division defendant and any attorneys involved in the Passaic County Law Division case appear at the Passaic County Law Division mediation.  Accordingly, the Passaic County Law Division mediator attempts to resolve the Passaic County Law Division case by suggesting a possible settlement to both Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants.  Note that Passaic County Law Division cases do not always undergo Passaic County Law Division mediation hearings.


WHO DECIDES TO SEND OR REFER YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY LAW DIVISION CASE TO THE PASSAIC COUNTY LAW DIVISION MEDIATION HEARING?
Except as otherwise provided by the New Jersey Court Rules, the Passaic County Law Division judge may require the Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants to attend the Passaic County Law Division mediation hearing at any time following the filing of the Passaic County Law Division complaint.  The Passaic County Law Division may, on the Passaic County Law Division’s own initiative and by written order, refer any Passaic County Law Division civil case, Passaic County Law Division general equity case, or Passaic County Law Division probate action case to Passaic County Law Division mediation for an initial two hours, which shall include an organizational telephone conference, preparation by the Passaic County Law Division mediator, and the first Passaic County Law Division mediation hearing. In addition, the Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants to the Passaic County Law Division lawsuit may request the Passaic County Law Division referral order to Passaic County Law Division mediation and may either select the Passaic County Law Division mediator or request the Passaic County Law Division to designate the Passaic County Law Division mediator from the Passaic County Law Division-approved roster.


WHO SERVES AS THE PASSAIC COUNTY LAW DIVISION MEDIATOR?
The Passaic County Law Division mediation is conducted by a neutral Passaic County Law Division appointed Passaic County Law Division mediator.  The Passaic County Law Division mediator is a person trained to attempt to resolve Passaic County Law Division lawsuits between Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants by sitting down with them and mediating their Passaic County Law Division settlement.  The Passaic County Law Division mediator is trained in resolving Passaic County Law Division lawsuits through the process of Passaic County Law Division mediation. Unless otherwise specified by the New Jersey Court Rules, no special occupational status or educational degree is required for Passaic County Law Division mediator service and Passaic County Law Division mediation training. An applicant for listing on a roster of Passaic County Law Division mediators maintained by either the Administrative Office of the Passaic County Law Divisions or the Passaic County Law Division Assignment Judge shall, however, certify to good professional standing. An applicant whose professional license has been revoked shall not be placed on the roster, or if already on the roster shall be removed therefrom. Passaic County Law Division mediator applicants for civil, general equity, and probate actions shall have at least five years of professional experience in the field of their expertise, as well as either an advanced degree or an undergraduate degree, coupled in both cases with Passaic County Law Division mediation experience. For purposes of the applicable New Jersey Court Rule, an advanced degree means a juris doctor or equivalent; an advanced degree in business, finance, or accounting, an advanced degree in the field of expertise in which the applicant will practice Passaic County Law Division mediation, for example, engineering, architecture, or mental health; or state licensure in the field of expertise, for example, certified public accountant, architect, or engineer. For purposes of the applicable New Jersey Court Rule, Passaic County Law Division mediation experience which, together with an advanced degree, will qualify an applicant means evidence of successful Passaic County Law Division mediation of a minimum of two cases within the last year, provided however that Passaic County Law Division mediation experience is waived if Passaic County Law Division mediation training was completed within the last five years. For purposes of the applicable New Jersey Court Rule, Passaic County Law Division mediation experience which, together with an undergraduate degree, will qualify an applicant means evidence of successful Passaic County Law Division mediation of a minimum of ten cases involving subject matter otherwise cognizable in the Superior Passaic County Law Division within the last five years.  All persons serving as Passaic County Law Division mediators shall have completed the basic Passaic County Law Division lawsuit resolution training course as prescribed by the New Jersey Court Rules and approved by the Administrative Office of the Passaic County Law Divisions. Volunteer Passaic County Law Division mediators in the Special Civil Part and Municipal Passaic County Law Division mediators shall have completed 18 classroom hours of basic Passaic County Law Division mediation skills complying with the requirements of the applicable New Jersey Court Rule. Passaic County Law Division mediators on the Passaic County Law Division civil court, Passaic County Law Division general equity court, and Passaic County Law Division probate court roster of the Superior Passaic County Law Division shall have completed 18 classroom hours of basic Passaic County Law Division mediation skills complying with the requirements of the applicable New Jersey Court Rules and at least five hours being mentored by an experienced Passaic County Law Division mediator on the roster in accordance with guidelines promulgated by the Administrative Office of the Passaic County Law Divisions in at least two cases in the Superior Passaic County Law Division. Individuals may obtain a waiver of the mentoring requirement from the Administrative Office of the Passaic County Law Divisions on the successful demonstration that they have previously served as the Passaic County Law Division mediator in at least five cases under R. 1:40-4 or comparable Passaic County Law Division mediation program or have satisfactorily completed at least 10 hours in an approved advanced Passaic County Law Division mediation course. Judicial law clerks shall have successfully completed 12 classroom hours of basic Passaic County Law Division mediation skills complying with the requirements of the applicable New Jersey Court Rule.  Commencing in the year following the completion of the basic training course or the waiver thereof, all Passaic County Law Division mediators shall annually attend four hours of continuing education and shall file with the Administrative Office of the Passaic County Law Divisions or the Passaic County Law Division Assignment Judge, as appropriate, an annual certification of compliance. To meet the requirement, this continuing education shall include instruction in ethical issues associated with Passaic County Law Division mediation practice, program guidelines and/or case management and should cover at least one of the following: (A) reinforcing and enhancing Passaic County Law Division mediation and negotiation concepts and skills, (B) other professional matters related to Passaic County Law Division mediation. Passaic County Law Division mediators who have been approved to serve as mentors under the applicable New Jersey Court Rules may apply the time spent mentoring to satisfy this requirement.  Within 14 days after entry of the Passaic County Law Division mediation referral order, the Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants may select the Passaic County Law Division mediator, who may, but need not, be listed on the Passaic County Law Division's Roster of Civil Passaic County Law Division mediators. Lead Passaic County Law Division plaintiff's counsel in the Passaic County Law Division case must in writing provide the Passaic County Law Division Complimentary Dispute Resolution Point Person in the Passaic County Law Division county court, as well as the individual designated by the Passaic County Law Division in the Passaic County Law Division mediation referral order, with the name of the selected Passaic County Law Division mediator. If the Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants do not timely select the Passaic County Law Division mediator, the individual designated by the Passaic County Law Division in the Passaic County Law Division mediation referral order shall serve. All Passaic County Law Division mediators on the Passaic County Law Division's roster as well as those not on the roster, whether Passaic County Law Division plaintiff or Passaic County Law Division defendant-selected or Passaic County Law Division-designated, shall comply with the terms and conditions set forth in the Passaic County Law Division mediation referral order.


PASSAIC COUNTY LAW DIVISION MEDIATOR’S DUTIES TO DISCLOSE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
Before accepting the Passaic County Law Division mediation, a person who is requested to serve as the Passaic County Law Division mediator shall:  (A) make an inquiry that is reasonable under the circumstances to determine whether there are any known facts that a reasonable person would consider likely to affect the impartiality of the Passaic County Law Division mediator, including a financial or personal interest in the outcome of the Passaic County Law Division mediation or an existing or past relationship with the Passaic County Law Division mediation Passaic County Law Division plaintiff or Passaic County Law Division defendant or foreseeable participant in the Passaic County Law Division mediation; and (B) disclose any such known fact to the Passaic County Law Division mediation Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants as soon as is practicable before accepting the Passaic County Law Division mediation.  If the Passaic County Law Division mediator learns any disqualification fact described in the New Jersey Court Rules after accepting the Passaic County Law Division mediation, the Passaic County Law Division mediator shall disclose it as soon as is practicable.  After entry of the Passaic County Law Division mediation referral order in an economic Passaic County Law Division mediation, if the Passaic County Law Division is advised by the Passaic County Law Division mediator, counsel, or one of the Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants that a conflict of interest exists, the Passaic County Law Division shall reassign the case to a different Passaic County Law Division mediator. The Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants shall have the opportunity to select a replacement Passaic County Law Division mediator from the roster or the Passaic County Law Division may appoint one. An amended Passaic County Law Division mediation order of referral shall then be prepared and provided to the Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants. 


WHO PAYS FOR THE PASSAIC COUNTY LAW DIVISION MEDIATOR’S SERVICES?
Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants in Superior Passaic County Law Division, except in the Special Civil Part, assigned to Passaic County Law Division mediation pursuant to the applicable New Jersey Court Rule shall equally share the fees and expenses of the Passaic County Law Division mediator on an ongoing basis, subject to Passaic County Law Division review and allocation to create equity. Any fee or expense of the Passaic County Law Division mediator shall be waived in cases, as to those Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants exempt, pursuant to Rule 1:13-2(a). The Passaic County Law Division plaintiff or Passaic County Law Division defendant may opt out of the Passaic County Law Division mediation process after the Passaic County Law Division mediator has expended two hours of service, which shall be allocated equally between preparation and the first Passaic County Law Division mediation hearing, and which shall be at no cost to the Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants. Fees shall be as determined by the Passaic County Law Division mediator and the Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants. Failure to pay the Passaic County Law Division mediator may result in an order by the Passaic County Law Division to pay the fees and costs of the Passaic County Law Division mediator including any additional costs and fees incurred due to the non-payment and imposing appropriate sanctions.


CONFIDENTIALITY OF CERTAIN COMMUNICATIONS DURING THE PASSAIC COUNTY LAW DIVISION MEDIATION PROCESS
Unless the participants in the Passaic County Law Division mediation agree otherwise or to the extent disclosure is permitted by the applicable New Jersey Court Rule, no Passaic County Law Division plaintiff or Passaic County Law Division defendant, Passaic County Law Division mediator, or other participant in the Passaic County Law Division mediation may disclose any Passaic County Law Division mediation communication to anyone who was not a participant in the Passaic County Law Division mediation. The Passaic County Law Division mediator may disclose the Passaic County Law Division mediation communication to prevent harm to others to the extent such Passaic County Law Division mediation communication would be admissible in the Passaic County Law Division proceeding. The Passaic County Law Division mediator has the duty to disclose to a proper authority information obtained at the Passaic County Law Division mediation hearing if required by law or if the Passaic County Law Division mediator has a reasonable belief that such disclosure will prevent a participant from committing a criminal or illegal act likely to result in death or serious bodily harm. No Passaic County Law Division mediator may appear as counsel for any person in the same or any related matter. The Passaic County Law Division lawyer representing a client at the Passaic County Law Division mediation hearing shall be governed by the provisions of the applicable New Jersey Court Rules of Professional Conduct.


WHAT IS THE PASSAIC COUNTY LAW DIVISION TELEPHONIC CONFERENCE AND PASSAIC COUNTY LAW DIVISION MEDIATION STATEMENT?
The Passaic County Law Division mediator shall fix a date following the Passaic County Law Division mediation telephonic conference for the exchange by the Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants and service upon the Passaic County Law Division mediator of a brief Passaic County Law Division mediation statement of facts and proposals for settlement not exceeding ten pages. At the discretion of the Passaic County Law Division mediator, each Passaic County Law Division plaintiff or Passaic County Law Division defendant's statement of facts may be prepared and submitted to the Passaic County Law Division mediator for review without service of the Passaic County Law Division mediation statement of facts on the other Passaic County Law Division plaintiff or Passaic County Law Division defendant. All Passaic County Law Division mediation documents prepared for Passaic County Law Division mediation shall be confidential and subject to Rule 1:40-4(c) and (d).


WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE PASSAIC COUNTY LAW DIVISION MEDIATION HEARING?
Passaic County Law Division mediation proceedings shall commence with an opening statement by the Passaic County Law Division mediator describing the purpose and procedures of the process. Passaic County Law Division mediators may require the participation of persons with negotiating authority. An attorney or other individual designated by the Passaic County Law Division plaintiff or Passaic County Law Division defendant may accompany the Passaic County Law Division plaintiff or Passaic County Law Division defendant to and participate in the Passaic County Law Division mediation hearing. A waiver of representation or participation given before the Passaic County Law Division mediation may be rescinded. Non-Passaic County Law Division plaintiff or Passaic County Law Division defendant witnesses may be heard in the discretion of the Passaic County Law Division mediator, and other non-Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants shall be permitted to attend only with the consent of the Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants and the Passaic County Law Division mediator. Multiple Passaic County Law Division mediation hearings may be scheduled. Passaic County Law Division attorneys and Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants have an obligation to participate in the Passaic County Law Division mediation process in good faith in accordance with Passaic County Law Division mediation program guidelines. The Passaic County Law Division mediator or a participant may terminate the Passaic County Law Division mediation hearing if: (A) there is an imbalance of power between the Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants that the Passaic County Law Division mediator cannot overcome, (B) the Passaic County Law Division plaintiff or Passaic County Law Division defendant challenges the impartiality of the Passaic County Law Division mediator, (C) there is abusive behavior that the Passaic County Law Division mediator cannot control, or (D) the Passaic County Law Division plaintiff or Passaic County Law Division defendant continuously resists the Passaic County Law Division mediation process or the Passaic County Law Division mediator. The Passaic County Law Division mediator shall terminate the Passaic County Law Division mediation hearing if:  (A) there is a failure of communication that seriously impedes effective discussion, (B) the Passaic County Law Division mediator believes the Passaic County Law Division plaintiff or Passaic County Law Division defendant is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or (C) the Passaic County Law Division mediator believes continued Passaic County Law Division mediation is inappropriate or inadvisable for any reason.


IS IT POSSIBLE TO SETTLE MY PASSAIC COUNTY LAW DIVISION CASE DURING THE PASSAIC COUNTY LAW DIVISION MEDIATION HEARING?
Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants may voluntarily agree to settle their Passaic County Law Division case but preparing the proper Passaic County Law Division settlement agreement requires great care.  Each Passaic County Law Division case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges.   For example, what if you don’t include protections to yourself in the Passaic County Law Division agreement?   The Passaic County Law Division may refuse to enforce the Passaic County Law Division settlement agreement if it is unclear what the Passaic County Law Division plaintiff and Passaic County Law Division defendant agreed to.  Also, if the Passaic County Law Division plaintiff or Passaic County Law Division defendant fails to honor the Passaic County Law Division settlement, you may have to return to Passaic County Law Division if you want to enforce the Passaic County Law Division settlement, which normally requires you to file the Passaic County Law Division motion.  If you can afford the Passaic County Law Division attorney, it is best to have the Passaic County Law Division attorney prepare the Passaic County Law Division settlement agreement so that they can try to make the other Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants agree to the best Passaic County Law Division settlement terms for you. If the Passaic County Law Division mediation results in the Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants' total or partial Passaic County Law Division settlement agreement, it shall be reduced to writing and a copy thereof furnished to each Passaic County Law Division plaintiff or Passaic County Law Division defendant. The Passaic County Law Division settlement agreement need not be filed with the Passaic County Law Division, but if formal proceedings have been stayed pending Passaic County Law Division mediation, the Passaic County Law Division mediator shall report to the Passaic County Law Division whether the Passaic County Law Division settlement agreement has been reached. 


WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END OF THE PASSAIC COUNTY LAW DIVISION MEDIATION HEARING?
Promptly upon termination of the Passaic County Law Division mediation process, the Passaic County Law Division mediator shall report to the Passaic County Law Division in writing as to whether or not the action or any severable claim therein has been settled.  During the Passaic County Law Division mediation, none of the Passaic County Law Division plaintiff and Passaic County Law Division defendant is required to settle the Passaic County Law Division case.  Indeed, one or all of the Passaic County Law Division plaintiffs and Passaic County Law Division defendants may not even make any offer to settle.   If the Passaic County Law Division settlement agreement is not reached, the Passaic County Law Division case shall be referred back to Passaic County Law Division for formal disposition.  If the Passaic County Law Division mediation is unsuccessful at settling the Passaic County Law Division case, the Passaic County Law Division case normally continues through the Passaic County Law Division system until the Passaic County Law Division case is dismissed or won or lost, such as by the Passaic County Law Division motion order or Passaic County Law Division trial verdict entered in either the Passaic County Law Division plaintiff’s favor or the Passaic County Law Division defendant’s favor.  If the Passaic County Law Division case cannot be settled before the Passaic County Law Division trial and your Passaic County Law Division case is called to be tried, you must be prepared to present your Passaic County Law Division case or Passaic County Law Division defenses to the Passaic County Law Division.


APPEARING FOR THE PASSAIC COUNTY COURT TRIAL
Many people think they just file a complaint or answer and then show up in Passaic County Court with papers and tell their story.  This is not always how Passaic County trials work!   Never assume you can just show up to court with documents and use them to support your Passaic County trial of your New Jersey Law Division case or even refer to them at your Passaic County trial.  While it is true that you must bring all documents, photographs, videos and other items with you to your Passaic County trial that are necessary to prove your New Jersey Law Division case (preferably originals), even if you bring such documents and items to court, your New Jersey Law Division may refuse to allow you to use them at your Passaic County trial.  New Jersey has published cases, laws, regulations, court rules and rules of evidence that are very tricky and that can be used to prevent you from doing much of what you want to do at your Passaic County trial.  Accordingly, before trial, you must consult all of the New Jersey Court Rules to determine how you intend to get your documents and items into evidence or how to properly use them at your Passaic County trial.  Hearsay rules of evidence are particularly troublesome and you should study them carefully before trial.  For example, it is very common for courts to refuse to allow a party to use or refer to documents or items that the person themselves never prepared.  Often parties stumble into court with a video, photograph, bill or affidavit or other form of written statement, thinking they are going to use it as proof that they lost money or that they are not responsible for someone else’s damages, only to have a judge tell the parties that it is not going to even consider such items or documents.  Without the proper preparation, items and documents may never be considered by your Passaic County Court.  Written requests for information served and answered in advance of the Passaic County trial are often useful tools to get the information needed before the Passaic County trial to prove a case or a defense.  NOTE THAT THE PROCEDURES FOR PASSAIC COUNTY SPECIAL CIVIL PART COURT TRIALS, PASSAIC COUNTY LAW DIVISION TRIALS AND PASSAIC COUNTY CHANCERY DIVISION TRIALS MAY DIFFER – CONSULT ALL APPLICABLE RULES!


SUBPOENA ALL WITNESSES IN ADVANCE OF TRIAL TO APPEAR AT YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY TRIAL
If you need to present information to prove your Passaic County Court case but do not have firsthand knowledge of the information, you must have a person familiar with that information to testify in Passaic County Court.  To assure that they appear in Passaic County Court, you need to serve those witnesses with subpoenas requiring them to appear before your Passaic County on your Passaic County trial date.   The Passaic County subpoena may be issued by the clerk of the court or by an attorney or party in the name of the clerk. Your Passaic County subpoena must state the name of the court and the title of the action and shall command each person to whom it is directed to attend and give testimony at the time and place specified therein. The testimony of a party to the lawsuit (a plaintiff or a defendant involved in the lawsuit) who could be subpoenaed may be compelled by a notice in lieu of subpoena served upon the party's attorney demanding that the attorney produce the client at your Passaic County trial. If the party is a corporation or other organization, the testimony of any person deposable on its behalf, under R. 4:14-2, may be compelled by like notice. The notice shall be served in accordance with R. 1:5-2 at least 5 days before trial.  Passaic County subpoenas must include witness fees required by New Jersey law. A subpoena may be served by any person 18 or more years of age. Service of a subpoena shall be made by delivering a copy thereof to the person named together with tender of the fee allowed by law, except that if the person is a witness in a criminal action for the State or an indigent defendant, the fee shall be paid before leaving the court at the conclusion of the trial by the sheriff or, in the municipal court, by the clerk thereof. A subpoena or, in a civil action, a notice in lieu of subpoena as authorized by R. 1:9-1 may require production of books, papers, documents, electronically stored information, or other objects designated therein. The court on motion made promptly may quash or modify the subpoena or notice if compliance would be unreasonable or oppressive and, in a civil action, may condition denial of the motion upon the advancement by the person in whose behalf the subpoena or notice is issued of the reasonable cost of producing the objects subpoenaed. The court may direct that the objects designated in the subpoena or notice be produced before the court at a time prior to the trial or prior to the time when they are to be offered in evidence and may upon their production permit them or portions of them to be inspected by the parties and their attorneys and, in matrimonial actions and juvenile proceedings, by a probation officer or other person designated by the court. Except for pretrial production directed by the court pursuant to this rule, subpoenas for pretrial production shall comply with the requirements of R. 4:14-7(c).  Failure without adequate excuse to obey a subpoena served upon any person may be deemed a contempt of the court from which the subpoena issued.


ORGANIZE AND PREMARK EXHIBITS FOR USE AT YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY TRIAL
Before your Passaic County trial, gather together all of your evidence, such as photographs, drawings, charts, parts, invoices, bills  and other types of records and mark them – with a pen on a place where the writing shall not obscure any print – “P-1”, “P-2”, “P-3”, etc. for plaintiff’s exhibits and “D-1”, “D-2”, “D-3”, etc. for defendant’s exhibits.  You only need to premark the exhibits you are using at your Passaic County trial – not those your opponents may use at your Passaic County trial.  Be sure to bring all original evidence (and copies if only copies are available) to trial for use at your Passaic County trial.  Make a list of all of your exhibits to refer to during the trial and bring enough copies of the list and each complete set of exhibits to your Passaic County trial - one for the judge, one for each of your opponents and one for you to use at your Passaic County trial.  Failure to have all evidence at your Passaic County trial could cause you to lose your Passaic County Court case! 


ORGANIZE AND BRING YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY COURT CASE FILE TO TRIAL
Before your Passaic County trial, gather together all motions, briefs, court notices, complaints, summonses, answers, subpoenas, written requests for information and answers to those requests and letters exchanged between the parties to the Passaic County Court case to your Passaic County trial.  Bring all these documents to your Passaic County trial.  Before your Passaic County trial, organize these documents into separate files so that you can easily find what you need during your Passaic County trial.  Failure to have your complete your Passaic County Court case file at your Passaic County trial could cause you to lose your Passaic County Court case! 


IF YOU HAVE TO PROVE YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY COURT CASE BY PRESENTING TECHNICAL, SCIENTIFIC OR MEDICAL INFORMATION, HIRE AN EXPERT WITNESS TO WRITE A COMPLETE EXPERT REPORT AND TO TESTIFY AT TRIAL
Often to prove one’s Passaic County Court case or to successfully defend against the Passaic County complaint, it is necessary to hire an expert witness to prepare a proper expert report and to testify regarding another party’s misconduct and the damages sustained as a result of the misconduct.  If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the factfinder at your Passaic County trial to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise.  To be considered by your Passaic County, an expert’s opinion must meet three basic requirements:   (1) the intended testimony must concern a subject matter that is beyond the knowledge of the average juror; (2) the subject testified to must be at a state of the art such that an expert’s testimony could be sufficiently reliable; and (3) the witness must have sufficient expertise to offer the intended testimony.  To meet the element of whether expert testimony is sufficiently reliable, the party offering the expert testimony must demonstrate that the expert’s opinion or theory is generally accepted within the scientific community.   An expert's opinion must be supported by facts or data either in the record or of a type usually relied upon by experts in the field.  Bare conclusions of an expert that are not supported by factual evidence are inadmissible.  Likewise, expert conclusions based on discredited or improperly performed diagnostic tools are suspect.  An expert's trial testimony is confined to the opinion reflected in his or her report.  Many expert opinions are never admitted into evidence and experts are thereby prevented from testifying at your Passaic County trial because your Passaic County finds the reports unreliable and/or inadequate.  Therefore, simply hiring an expert does not assure that you shall get their testimony into evidence.  Professional experts usually charge a fee to inspect your property and write a report – sometimes they bill by the hour and sometimes via a flat fee arrangement linked to each service they are to perform.  The expert normally sends a copy of their report to the party who hired the expert.  If your Passaic County Court case requires expert testimony and the matter goes all the way to trial, it shall be necessary to have the expert appear at and testify at same.  The expert usually charges additional fees for the time during which they must appear at your Passaic County trial but you may get the expert to include such services as part of the fee to perform inspections and to write reports.  While there are some exceptions, normally, Passaic County Courts do not allow people to show up at your Passaic County trial to introduce into evidence estimates, expert reports and other documents that they never prepared and witnesses are often necessary to prove one’s case, especially when it comes to the party’s damages.   


MAKE SURE YOU SUBPOENA YOUR EXPERT WITNESS TO SHOW UP AT YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY TRIAL
If you have any witnesses that you need to testify for you at your Passaic County trial, then in advance of your Passaic County trial and as required by court rules, laws and published cases, you must prepare a written subpoena (or subpoenas if your Passaic County Court case is adjourned).   Such a subpoena must normally be personally served by a process server rather than by mail.  If you want to force one of the parties to your Passaic County Court case to testify as part of your Passaic County Court case, since they might not show up at your Passaic County trial (it is possible that only their attorney will show up), you should serve them with a notice in lieu of subpoena.  If you think that you could have problems getting someone to show up to provide testimony at your Passaic County trial, you should have a process server serve them with a subpoena or  if they are a party to the dispute, a notice in lieu of subpoena.  Without witnesses to testify at your Passaic County trial (especially experts, discussed above), you may lose your Passaic County Court case.  


PREPARE TRIAL BRIEFS TO EXPLAIN YOUR POSITION ON COMPLEX LEGAL OR FACTUAL ISSUES
Before your Passaic County trial, review your Passaic County Court case and for any complex legal or factual issues that you think you might face at your Passaic County trial, perform legal research on those issues and write an explanation of your position.  Be sure to bring enough copies of each trial brief you prepare for your Passaic County trial to your Passaic County trial – one for the judge, one for each opponent and one for you.


IF YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY COURT CASE IS SCHEDULED TO BE PRETRIED, PREPARE ANY TRIAL BRIEFS ORDERED BY YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY
Some Passaic County Court cases are scheduled by your Passaic County to be “pretried” or undergo pretrial conferences, which are held in the discretion of your Passaic County Court either on its own motion or upon a party's written request. The request of a party for a pretrial conference shall include a statement of the facts and reasons supporting the request. The pretrial conference shall be recorded verbatim.   The parties shall submit to the court and serve on all other parties a pretrial memorandum, as prescribed by R. 4:25-3, at least three days prior to the pretrial conference date specified in the notice of pretrial conference.  In addition, if trial briefs are ordered at a pretrial conference a pretrial order entered by your Passaic County shall specify to which judge or other court official they shall be submitted and within what time and you should, in addition to any other steps required, submit briefs required by the pretrial order.  Be sure to bring enough copies of each trial brief you prepare for your Passaic County trial to your Passaic County trial – one for the judge, one for each opponent and one for you.


IF YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY COURT CASE IS NOT SCHEDULED FOR A PRETRIAL CONFERENCE, CONFER WITH YOUR OPPONENTS & PREPARE A PRETRIAL INFORMATION EXCHANGE 
Before your Passaic County trial, in cases that have not been scheduled to be pretried, attorneys shall confer and, seven days prior to the initial trial date, you must prepare and forward to your opponents the pretrial information exchange as prescribed by Appendix XXIII to the New Jersey Court Rules.  Also, at trial and prior to opening statements, the parties shall submit to the court the following in writing: (1) copies of any Pretrial Information Exchange materials that have been exchanged pursuant to this rule, and any objections made thereto; and (2) stipulations reached on contested procedural, evidentiary, and substantive issues.   Be sure to bring enough copies of each document you prepare for your Passaic County trial to your Passaic County trial – one for the judge, one for each opponent and one for you.


IF YOU HAVE THE PASSAIC COUNTY JURY TRIAL, PREPARE ALL NECESSARY JURY TRIAL DOCUMENTS 
If you or your opponents asked for the Passaic County jury trial in the time and manner required by the New Jersey Court Rules and paid the court the necessary fee, you must appear at trial with documents necessary to handle your Passaic County jury trial.   These documents are in addition to any of the other documents normally needed for the Passaic County trial that is not being heard by a jury.   For example, you must have the following additional documents ready at trial:  (1) any proposed voir dire questions, (2) a list of proposed jury instructions pursuant to R. 1:8-7, with specific reference either to the Model Civil Jury Charges, if applicable, or to applicable legal authority, and (3) a proposed jury verdict form that includes all possible verdicts the jury may return.   Failure to exchange and submit all the information required by this rule may result in court penalties as determined by the trial judge.  You should also seriously consider preparing and having ready the following additional documents for any jury trial:  (1) a statement to read to the jury, (2) an opening statement to read to the jury at the opening of your Passaic County Court case and (3) a closing statement to read to the jury at the closing of your Passaic County Court case.  Bring enough copies of the jury trial documents to your Passaic County trial - one for the judge, one for each of your opponents and one for you to use at your Passaic County trial.  Failure to have all or even some of these documents at your Passaic County trial could cause you to lose your Passaic County Court case!


NOW THAT I HAVE PREPARED FOR MY PASSAIC COUNTY TRIAL, WHAT USUALLY HAPPENS ON THAT DATE?
On the day that your Passaic County Court case is scheduled for the Passaic County trial, whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant, you must appear at Passaic County Court in the proper courtroom.    Usually, many cases are heard on the day that your Passaic County Court case is called for your Passaic County trial by your Passaic County and it is not uncommon for many people to wait in a single courtroom for their Passaic County Court case to be called.  You must be on time to avoid losing your Passaic County Court case!  It is best to arrive early to Passaic County Court, since it is not unusual for your Passaic County Courtroom’s seats to fill up quickly!   


HOW DOES YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY COURT INFORM THE PARTIES ABOUT THE PASSAIC COUNTY TRIAL DATE IN THE PASSAIC COUNTY COURT CASE?
In most cases, your Passaic County informs the parties or their attorneys of the Passaic County trial date at least 30 days before trial.  However, if your Passaic County Court has good cause, it may provide a longer or shorter notice of your Passaic County trial.  Usually, your Passaic County Court sends a notice card to the parties advising them of trial.  However, it is not uncommon for the notices to be sent long after the date that they are prepared, resulting in the parties receiving far less than 30 days’ notice of your Passaic County trial.


AM I GUARANTED TO HAVE MY TRIAL IN THE PASSAIC COUNTY COURT CASE ON THE DATE ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED?
Passaic County trials can be very complex and time consuming – sometimes they take all day or more than one day to complete.  Also, it is very common for Passaic County trials to get adjourned because someone is not ready to present their Passaic County Court case for a valid reason (but you can never expect that you shall automatically get an adjournment and you must always be fully ready to try your Passaic County Court case on the date that your Passaic County trial is scheduled since courts often refuse adjournment requests and dismiss cases if parties are not prepared to proceed with their Passaic County Court case or defense on your Passaic County trial date).   It is not unusual for a judge hearing trials in your Passaic County to decide to tell a plaintiff and defendant in a case to return to your Passaic County Court on another day to have their trial because the judge does not have time to handle your Passaic County trial on the date originally scheduled.   Sometimes, a party will ask your Passaic County Court for an adjournment and your Passaic County Court grants that adjournment but in violation of the court rules, the party that did not request the adjournment is not told that your Passaic County trial is adjourned! To avoid unnecessary trips to your Passaic County Court, it is best to call one or two days before trial to make certain that your Passaic County trial has not been rescheduled without your knowledge. 


WHAT IF I CAN’T SHOW UP ON THE DATE OF TRIAL FOR SOME REASON – CAN I GET YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY TRIAL RESCHEDULED IN MY PASSAIC COUNTY COURT CASE?
All requests for Passaic County trial adjournments must be made to your Passaic County Court as soon as the need for the adjournment is known, but absent good cause for the delay, the request must usually be made a certain time before the date your Passaic County trial.  Before you make an adjournment request, notify all of your opponents that the request is going to be made and then notify your Passaic County Court clerk of the opponent’s response.  Your Passaic County Court shall then decide the issue and if your Passaic County Court grants the request, shall assign a new date. The requesting party must notify all their opponents of your Passaic County Court's response.  It is highly recommended to make all these requests in writing, such as with a letter and to keep a copy for your records (and to allow the request to be properly processed you should submit the request to your Passaic County preferably at least 10 days before your Passaic County trial date).  That way, if your Passaic County Court improperly denies the adjournment request (not uncommon) you shall have proof to use to have a higher authority decide the issue. 


Often, your Passaic County Court schedules your Passaic County trial of a case before parties have enough time to gather the information they need to prove their Passaic County Court case.  This period of factfinding before trial is called “discovery”.  If a party needs additional time to complete discovery and the discovery period has not expired, your Passaic County Court is normally required to adjourn your Passaic County trial.  If you qualify for such an adjournment, you do not need your opponent’s agreement to the adjournment but it is best to first ask your opponent for their agreement.  If they refuse or do not respond in a timely manner, send a letter to your Passaic County Court explaining the situation and asking for a new date for your Passaic County trial.   A motion to extend discovery is often necessary to secure extensions before the discovery period expires.  Be certain to consult the New Jersey Court Rules for further details.


If you are making a request to adjourn the Passaic County trial and you know in advance of making your request that you have any vacation plans or would otherwise be unable to appear at a new trial date for a good reason, let your Passaic County Court know the dates you are unavailable.  If you wait too close to your Passaic County trial date before forwarding an adjournment request, the request shall very likely be denied.


WHAT HAPPENS IF THE PLAINTIFF FAILS TO SHOW UP ON YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY TRIAL DATE IN THE PASSAIC COUNTY COURT CASE?
If a plaintiff fails to appear when their Passaic County Court case is called for your Passaic County trial, your Passaic County is likely to dismiss your Passaic County complaint.  If this happens and the plaintiff has a good reason for failing to appear at your Passaic County trial, the plaintiff could file a motion with your Passaic County requesting that your Passaic County Court case be reinstated and your Passaic County trial rescheduled.


WHAT HAPPENS IF THE DEFENDANT FAILS TO SHOW UP ON YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY TRIAL DATE IN THE PASSAIC COUNTY COURT CASE?
If a defendant fails to appear when your Passaic County Court case is called for your Passaic County trial, your Passaic County shall likely enter a default against the defendant.  If you are a plaintiff and you receive a default in your Passaic County Court case, you shall have to prepare and file paperwork with your Passaic County Court asking your Passaic County Court to enter a default judgment in your favor.  If this happens and the defendant has a good reason for failing to appear at your Passaic County trial, the defendant could file a motion with your Passaic County requesting that the default judgment be removed (vacated), that your Passaic County Court case be reinstated and your Passaic County trial rescheduled.


WHAT IF PLAINTIFF AND DEFENDANT (OR THEIR ATTORNEYS) SHOW UP AT YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY TRIAL IN THE PASSAIC COUNTY COURT CASE?
If no dismissal or default is entered in your Passaic County Court case, you must be prepared to present your Passaic County Court case or defense.  It is not uncommon for judges to get very frustrated by an unrepresented party’s lack of preparation or ignorance of the facts or law of your Passaic County Court case.  A court has the power to punish unprepared parties, such as by throwing their Passaic County Court case out of court or limiting what they can present at your Passaic County trial.  You must bring all documents, photographs, videos and other items with you to your Passaic County trial that are necessary to prove your Passaic County Court case (preferably originals).  Even if you bring such documents and items to court, your Passaic County may refuse to allow you to use them at your Passaic County trial.  New Jersey has many published cases, laws, regulations, court rules and rules of evidence that are very tricky and that can be used to prevent you from doing much of what you want to do at your Passaic County trial.  Accordingly, before trial, you must consult all of the New Jersey Court Rules to determine how you intend to get your documents and items into evidence or how to properly use them at your Passaic County trial.  Hearsay rules of evidence are particularly troublesome and you should study them carefully before your Passaic County trial.  For example, it is very common for  Passaic County Courts to refuse to allow a party to use or refer to documents or items that the person themselves never prepared.  Often parties stumble into Passaic County Court with a video, photograph, bill or affidavit or other form of written statement, thinking they are going to use it as proof that they lost money or that they are not responsible for someone else’s damages, only to have a judge tell the parties that it is not going to even consider such items or documents.  Without the proper preparation, items and documents may never be considered by your Passaic County.  Also, if there are any legal issues to be dealt with at your Passaic County trial, you must be prepared to argue them, which may require you to refer to court rules, evidence rules, laws, regulations or published cases.  While there are exceptions, evidence is most frequently admitted to your Passaic County Court by calling witness to testify before your Passaic County Court.  It is best to have your questions for any witnesses prepared in advance.  During the Passaic County trial parties normally call witnesses and prevent evidence about their dispute and argue legal issues in support of their positions.  The judge hearing the Passaic County trial may ask questions of the witnesses.  At the end of your Passaic County trial, your Passaic County normally enters a judgment for or against you.  Your Passaic County may also withhold or “reserve” judgment for a later date, which normally results in your Passaic County taking time to write up its reasons for its decision and mailing it to the parties’ last known addresses (or to their attorneys, if they are represented).  


WILL MY PASSAIC COUNTY TRIAL BE DECIDED BY A JUDGE OR A JURY?
If none of the parties requests a jury trial, your Passaic County Court case shall usually be tried without a jury – which means only a judge shall hear your trial and decide your Passaic County Court case.  Normally, you can’t show up at your Passaic County trial and request a jury trial – the request must be made when you file your Passaic County complaint or file your answer to your Passaic County complaint with the Passaic County Court or within a certain number of days of the filing of the complaint or answer and the jury trial request must be in writing.   


If you or your opponent properly requested a jury trial, unless the judge throws your Passaic County Court case out of court for some reason, your Passaic County Court case is tried by a judge deciding the legal issues and a jury deciding the factual issues.  Parties may withdraw their demand for the Passaic County trial if all parties to your Passaic County Court case agree to the withdrawal, in which case your Passaic County Court case will be decided by a judge alone.  Judges may decide to on their own to order a jury trial (very rare). 


IF I AM A PLAINTIFF OR DEFENDANT IN THE PASSAIC COUNTY TRIAL, WILL THE OTHER SIDE HAVE AN ATTORNEY?
Most parties in Passaic County Court cases are represented by an attorney.  If you are not represented by an attorney in the Passaic County Court case, you are called a “pro se litigant”.  While people can and often do represent themselves Passaic County Court, their opponent may be represented by an attorney, which often places the unrepresented party at a major disadvantage.  If possible, hire an attorney to at least prepare any necessary court paperwork and if you can afford it, to also appear and represent you in court at any motions or trials.   The proper preparation of legal papers and preparation of a case for your Passaic County trial often requires knowledge of legal issues that only attorneys have.  Court rules and evidence rules are often complex and accordingly, are often difficult to follow.  Trials can be very complex and time consuming – sometimes they take all day or more than one day to complete.  People who are not attorneys licensed to practice law in New Jersey are not able to give you legal advice about Law Division disputes that are heard by New Jersey courts, regardless of whether the people work for a court or work for an attorney.  If a party is represented by an attorney in the Passaic County dispute, you must generally avoid having oral or written contact regarding your Passaic County Court case with the represented party and instead, must make all communications involving your Passaic County Court case through the represented party’s attorney.


WILL I HAVE A CHANCE TO SETTLE MY CASE BEFORE MY TRIAL IN YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY?
In most cases, before your Passaic County trial occurs, the parties meet with the judge and discuss their dispute.  This could be done informally in the judge’s chambers or formally in the courtroom.   Usually, before the trial starts, the judge attempts to resolve your Passaic County Court case by suggesting a possible settlement to both parties.  During such a settlement conference, none of the parties is required to settle the Passaic County Court case.  Indeed, one or all of the parties may not even make any offer to settle.   Note that cases do not always undergo such settlement conferences.  If your Passaic County Court case cannot be settled before trial and your Passaic County Court case is called to be tried, you must be prepared to present your Passaic County Court case or defenses.  Regardless of whether the parties participate in a settlement conference before the Passaic County trial, parties may voluntarily agree to settle their Passaic County Court case Judges are usually willing to help parties settle their Passaic County Court case but they cannot force any part to settle their Passaic County Court case so that if a party refuses to settle, it is very likely that your Passaic County Court case shall proceed to trial.  Judges may schedule a conference in your Passaic County Court case and at that time, try to settle your Passaic County Court case.  Preparing the proper settlement agreement requires great care.  Many settlements fail, which leads to unhappy parties and often, more court proceedings.  Normally, at any trial proceeding, your Passaic County has settlement forms for the parties to complete.  However, neither court forms, websites nor advice from court personnel are good substitutes for a competent attorney’s legal services.  Each case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges.   For example, what if your agreement fails to include the proper protections to your interest?   A court may refuse to enforce a settlement agreement if it is unclear what the parties agreed to.  Also, if a party fails to honor a settlement, you may have to return to court if you want to enforce the settlement, which normally requires you to file a motion.  If you can afford an attorney, it is best to have the attorney prepare the settlement agreement so that they can try to make the other parties agree to the best settlement terms for you.  If you do settle your Passaic County Court case yourself, you should notify your Passaic County as soon as possible – with a phone call and then followed up in writing.  If your Passaic County Court case is settled before trial, you should make every effort to advise your Passaic County Court before your Passaic County trial occurs.  


WHAT HAPPENS IF DEFENDANT IS DEFAULTED?
If a defendant is automatically defaulted by your Passaic County, then no trial will occur (unless your Passaic County vacates the default) and the plaintiff has a set amount of time from the date of the entry of default to file additional paperwork with your Passaic County to seek a default judgment against a defendant.  In some cases, securing a default judgment only requires the plaintiff to submit paperwork, while in other cases, the plaintiff has to prepare and file a motion and your Passaic County may require the plaintiff and defendant to appear at a court hearing – a “proof hearing”.


WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T SHOW UP AT YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY TRIAL AND PLAINTIFF THEREAFTER GETS A DEFAULT JUDGMENT AGAINST ME AND I IGNORE IT?
If you ignore a judgment, your bank account may be frozen and money in it turned over to the judgment holder, some of your wages may be taken from you, your personal property may be seized by the sheriff and sold to satisfy the judgment and/or a lien may be put against a house you own.  If your Passaic County complaint is for money damages caused by a motor vehicle accident and the judgment requires a defendant to pay $500 or more, the defendant must pay within 60 days and if they do not, the plaintiff may file papers asking your Passaic County to direct the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to stop the defendant's driving and registration privileges until that judgment is paid.  Often people wait until their bank account is frozen or until their wages are attached to take action – at that point it is difficult and sometimes too late to do anything to successfully stop those collection efforts.  It is not uncommon to refuse to help such latecomers from taking issue with the collection efforts unless they file papers with your Passaic County Court for relief.  However, once a judgment is entered against you, you may ask your Passaic County Court to remove or “vacate” the judgment by filing the appropriate motion with your Passaic County.


WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET A JUDGMENT?
Once you get a judgment, you become a judgment creditor and you may decide to do nothing or more likely, you may decide to try to collect it.  To collect the Passaic County judgment, Law Division officers may be of assistance in taking steps to collect it, but they cannot provide legal advice.  Normally, to collect on a judgment, you need to know the whereabouts of the debtor’s assets and you need to fill out paperwork to direct your Passaic County Court officer to try to recover the judgment from those assets.  The collection process is often difficult and if a debtor files for bankruptcy, you may never collect your judgment.  Your Passaic County Court normally has forms available at your Passaic County Courthouse and on the worldwide web.  However, neither court forms, websites nor advice from court personnel are good substitutes for a competent attorney’s legal services.  Each case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges.   If you can afford an attorney, it is best to have the attorney perform the steps necessary to collect any judgment.  


WHAT IF A DEFAULT AND/OR DEFAULT JUDGMENT IS ENTERED AGAINST YOU AND YOU STILL WANT THE PASSAIC COUNTY TRIAL?
If a default and/or default judgment was entered against you, you may seek to remove it, called “vacating the default” or “vacating the default judgment”.  To vacate either, you must normally prepare a written motion and file the motion with your Passaic County asking that the default and/or default judgment be vacated.   Your Passaic County Court normally has forms available at your Passaic County Courthouse and on the worldwide web.  However, neither court forms, websites nor advice from court personnel are good substitutes for a competent attorney’s legal services.  Each case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges.   If you can afford an attorney, it is best to have the attorney perform the steps necessary to prepare the proper motion.  If you ignore the default, it may lead to the entry of a judgment against you.  If you ignore a judgment, your bank account may be frozen and money in it turned over to the judgment holder, some of your wages may be taken from you, your personal property may be seized by the sheriff and sold to satisfy the judgment and/or a lien may be put against a house you own.  If your Passaic County complaint is for money damages caused by a motor vehicle accident and the judgment requires a defendant to pay $500 or more, the defendant must pay within 60 days and if they do not, the plaintiff may file papers asking your Passaic County to direct the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to stop the defendant's driving and registration privileges until that judgment is paid.
 
TAKING PASSAIC COUNTY APPEALS -- WHAT IF I LOSE MY TRIAL OR YOUR PASSAIC COUNTY COURT REFUSES TO VACATE A DEFAULT JUDGMENT? 
If you are a plaintiff and you lose the Passaic County Court case, it could mean the dismissal of your lawsuit forever and it could prevent you from ever recovering money damages against a defendant who you believe owes you money.  If you are a defendant and you lose the Passaic County Court case, it could mean the entry of a money judgment against you and the beginning of the plaintiff’s efforts to collect the judgment from you by freezing your bank accounts, attaching your wages, putting a lien on your home and forcing you to answer detailed questions about your finances.  If you disagree with your Passaic County Court’s decision about a summary judgment motion, you may file papers for your Passaic County Court for various forms of post trial relief, such as a motion for your Passaic County Court to reconsider its decision (called a motion for reconsideration) or a motion to overturn the verdict or a motion for a new trial.  In most cases, such post trial motions must be made in a specific time frame, such as 20 days from the date of your Passaic County Court’s order deciding the summary judgment motion.  If your Passaic County’s decision in your Passaic County Court case is final, you may also appeal your Passaic County Court case to a higher court -- the Appellate Division of the Superior Court.  There are very strict deadlines for filing Passaic County appeals.   To appeal the Passaic County final judgment that resolves all issues in your Passaic County Court case, you may file a notice of appeal and other required documents with the Appellate Division within 45 days from the date of judgment and pay a fee to the Appellate Division – Passaic County appeals are not heard by your Passaic County and you should not try to file appellate papers with your Passaic County!   As part of your Passaic County appeal, you usually must also prepare a written court transcript request and order a court transcript from the appropriate court that decided the matter against you and pay a fee for it.  Appeals are some of the most complex proceedings in your Passaic County Court system.  Your Passaic County Court normally has forms available on the worldwide web.  However, neither court forms, websites nor advice from court personnel are good substitutes for a competent attorney’s legal services.  Each case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges.   If you can afford an attorney, it is best to have the attorney perform the steps necessary to take the Passaic County appeal.  Appeals from Passaic County orders or judgments that are not final are called “interlocutory appeals” and the procedure for such appeals is somewhat different than those for Passaic County appeals from final judgments or orders.


NEED HELP WITH YOUR NEW JERSEY CASE?
Handling your New Jersey case wrong from the beginning may only cost you more money and time in the end!!  Do it right the first time by seeking legal advice from a competent New Jersey lawyer!
Let the Law Office of Paul DePetris help you with your New Jersey case.  Not all New Jersey cases require you to pay expensive legal fees to get legal help.  


WHY SHOULD NEW JERSEY PRO SE PLAINTIFFS AND NEW JERSEY PRO SE DEFENDANTS SEEK HELP FROM A NEW JERSEY LAWYER?
Handling your New Jersey case wrong from the beginning may only cost you more money and time in the end!!   Do it right the first time by seeking legal advice from a competent New Jersey lawyer!
Many New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants make the mistake of not consulting a New Jersey lawyer before filing New Jersey Court papers only to later learn that the New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants made serious mistakes that could cause them to lose their New Jersey case.  Let the Law Office of Paul DePetris help you with your New Jersey case.  


CAN I RELY ON NEW JERSEY COURT PERSONNEL FOR LEGAL ADVICE?
New Jersey Court employees cannot give you “free” legal advice and a New Jersey Court judge may refuse to let you claim that you were right in taking an action (or in deciding not to take action) because you relied on advice from such employees.  Most New Jersey Court employees are not trained New Jersey attorneys and therefore, they may not know what advice to give you.  Working at the New Jersey Court as a non-judge is not the same as practicing law. 


CAN I RELY ON NEW JERSEY COURT FORMS PROVIDED BY THE NEW JERSEY COURT?
The New Jersey Court usually provides certain types of New Jersey Court legal forms to the public and those forms are often very helpful.  However, beware relying on New Jersey Court forms provided by the New Jersey Court – the New Jersey Court forms are often deceptively simple, while New Jersey cases often are much more complex than they first appear to be.   There is simply no substitute for a competent New Jersey attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey who has experience handling New Jersey cases.  New Jersey Court forms don’t talk and New Jersey Court forms and their directions rarely, if ever, cover every possible situation, set of facts or legal issue that may arise in a New Jersey case.  Each New Jersey case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges.   If you can afford a competent New Jersey attorney, it is best to have the New Jersey attorney prepare your New Jersey Court paperwork for you.  


CAN I HANDLE A NEW JERSEY CASE MYSELF?
Many New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants can and do successfully handle New Jersey cases, from filing the first paperwork to the collection of a New Jersey Court judgment.  However, many other New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants also make mistakes that lead to the dismissal of their New Jersey cases or that result in the entry of a New Jersey Court money judgment against them.  The greater the money at stake, the greater the reason to consider using the services of a competent attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey to handle part or all of the New Jersey case.  The following are reasons to use an attorney to handle part or all of your New Jersey case:
New Jersey Court fees often change
New Jersey Court rules often change
New Jersey Court employees cannot give you “free” legal advice and a New Jersey Court judge may refuse to let you claim that you were right in taking an action (or in deciding not to take action) because you relied on advice from such employees
New Jersey Court forms available on websites may not cover every situation you may face in Court
each New Jersey case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges
it is very common for New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants to file inadequate or incorrect New Jersey Court complaints that result in the New Jersey Court complaints or answers to New Jersey Court complaints being rejected by the New Jersey Court or being dismissed by the New Jersey Court after filing and before or after trial because of procedural deficiencies.   
it is not uncommon for judges to get very frustrated by an unrepresented party’s lack of preparation or ignorance of the facts or law of the New Jersey case.  
a Court has the power to punish unprepared New Jersey plaintiffs and New Jersey defendants, such as by throwing their New Jersey case out of Court or limiting what they can present at the New Jersey Court trial.  
New Jersey has many published cases, laws, regulations, Court rules and rules of evidence that can be very tricky to understand and that can be used to prevent you from doing much of what you want to do at the New Jersey Court trial.  
it is very common for Courts to refuse to allow a party to use or refer to documents or items at the New Jersey Court trial that the person themselves never prepared.  Often New Jersey plaintiffs and New Jersey defendants stumble into New Jersey Court with a video, photograph, bill or affidavit or other form of written statement, thinking they are going to use it as proof that they lost money or that they are not responsible for someone else’s damages, only to have a New Jersey Court judge tell the New Jersey plaintiffs and New Jersey defendants that it is not going to even consider such items or documents.  
without the proper preparation, items and documents may never be considered by the New Jersey Court.  Also, if there are any legal issues to be dealt with at the New Jersey Court trial, you must be prepared to argue them, which may require you to refer to Court rules, evidence rules, laws, regulations or published cases.  
you cannot show up at the New Jersey Court expecting the judge hearing your New Jersey case to explain Court rules, evidence rules, Court procedure or the details of the law that applies to your New Jersey case.  The judge hearing your New Jersey case is not permitted to give you legal advice.


It is important to remember that even if you have an attorney, you could lose your New Jersey case.  Hiring an attorney to handle part or all of your New Jersey case does not guarantee your success.  However, it may provide what is needed to win your New Jersey case or to avoid certain mistakes.


DOES THE LAW OFFICE OF PAUL DEPETRIS HAVE EXPERIENCE HANDLING NEW JERSEY CASES?
Yes.  Paul DePetris has performed the following tasks:
handled New Jersey cases for plaintiffs and defendants across New Jersey, from Bergen County New Jersey to Cumberland County New Jersey, including representations of individuals, small businesses and large corporations.
settled New Jersey cases for plaintiffs and defendants across New Jersey.
reviewed many New Jersey Court settlement agreements.
enforced many New Jersey Court settlement agreements.
provided New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants with New Jersey Court legal advice and prepared New Jersey Court legal forms
prepared and filed many New Jersey Court complaints 
tried New Jersey Court jury trials
mediated many New Jersey cases
argued New Jersey Court motions
handled New Jersey Court proof hearings
handled New Jersey Court post judgment collection proceedings


Mr. DePetris has appeared before the Superior Court of New Jersey in the following counties:
Passaic County New Jersey Court 
Bergen County New Jersey Court
Passaic County New Jersey Court
Passaic County New Jersey Court
Cape May County New Jersey Court
Cumberland County New Jersey Court
Essex County New Jersey Court
Passaic County New Jersey Court
Hudson County New Jersey Court
Passaic County New Jersey Court
Passaic County New Jersey Court
Passaic County New Jersey Court
Morris County New Jersey Court
Passaic County New Jersey Court
Passaic County New Jersey Court
Salem County New Jersey Court
Somerset County New Jersey Court
Sussex County New Jersey Court
Union County New Jersey Court
Warren County New Jersey Court 


IN WHAT NEW JERSEY COUNTIES WILL THE LAW OFFICE OF PAUL DEPETRIS HANDLE NEW JERSEY CASES?
The Law Office of Paul DePetris offers to handle and help individuals and businesses with New Jersey Court Claims cases in North, Central and Southern New Jersey, including cases in the following New Jersey counties: 
Passaic County New Jersey Court 
Bergen County New Jersey Court
Passaic County New Jersey Court
Passaic County New Jersey Court
Cape May County New Jersey Court
Cumberland County New Jersey Court
Essex County New Jersey Court
Passaic County New Jersey Court
Hudson County New Jersey Court
Passaic County New Jersey Court
Passaic County New Jersey Court
Passaic County New Jersey Court
Morris County New Jersey Court
Passaic County New Jersey Court
Passaic County New Jersey Court
Salem County New Jersey Court
Somerset County New Jersey Court
Sussex County New Jersey Court
Union County New Jersey Court
Warren County New Jersey Court 


WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY TO HANDLE MY NEW JERSEY CASE FROM BEGINNING TO END?
In many situations, the Law Office of Paul DePetris offers alternatives to handling New Jersey cases for an hourly fee, such as by offering to handle your New Jersey case up to trial for a fixed fee or to help you handle your New Jersey case by yourself.  Such flexible methods may allow you to keep the amount legal fees you spend on your New Jersey case to a fixed sum, while providing you the help you need to handle your New Jersey case.  For a no obligation phone consultation about what the Firm might be able to do for you, call Mr. DePetris at 609-714-2020 or send an email to Mr. DePetris.    




 


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