Civil Court Rules and Jury Charges

Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on Criminal Law and litigation topics. (732) 572-0500 http://www.njlaws.com. He was awarded the NJ State State Bar Municipal Court Practitioner of the Year. He lectures and handles criminal cases, Municipal Court, DWI, traffic and other litigation matters. He is Co- Chair of the ABA Criminal Law Committee,GP and lectured at the ABA Annual Meeting attended by 10,000 attorneys and professionals. Visit Website www.njlaws.com

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4:37-2. Involuntary Dismissal; Effect Thereof

(a) For Failure to Comply With Rule or Order. For failure of the plaintiff to cause a summons to issue within 15 days from the date of the Track Assignment Notice or to comply with these rules or any order of court, the court in its discretion may on defendant's motion dismiss an action or any claim against the defendant. Such a dismissal shall be without prejudice unless otherwise specified in the order.

(b) At Trial-Generally. After having completed the presentation of the evidence on all matters other than the matter of damages (if that is an issue), the plaintiff shall so announce to the court, and thereupon the defendant, without waiving the right to offer evidence in the event the motion is not granted, may move for a dismissal of the action or of any claim on the ground that upon the facts and upon the law the plaintiff has shown no right to relief. Whether the action is tried with or without a jury, such motion shall be denied if the evidence, together with the legitimate inferences therefrom, could sustain a judgment in plaintiff's favor.

(c) At Trial-Claim for Contribution. When a claim for contribution has been asserted pursuant to R. 4:7-5, a motion for dismissal as to any defendant against whom such claim has been asserted shall be held in abeyance until the close of all the evidence, and at that time the granting of the motion shall constitute an adjudication upon the merits of the claim for contribution. If the motion is denied, the claim for contribution need not be separately submitted to the jury but the verdict as to the liability of each defendant shall determine which of the parties are joint tortfeasors. If the amount of the contribution of each defendant may be determined as a matter of law, the judge shall enter judgment thereon at the request of any party. If any party asserts any settlement or part payment or other matter not determined in the negligence action which may affect the amount of the contribution, and there is a dispute as to any material fact, a separate trial shall be held to determine the same.

(d) Dismissal With Prejudice; Exceptions. Unless the order of dismissal otherwise specifies, a dismissal under R. 4:37-2(b) or (c) and any dismissal not specifically provided for by R. 4:37, other than a dismissal for lack of jurisdiction, operates as an adjudication on the merits.

(e) Continued Participation in Subsequent Proceedings. If a claim is dismissed as to a defendant before final judgment as to all issues and all parties, that defendant shall have notice of and the right to participate in any subsequent proceedings in the case.