Civil Court Rules and Jury Charges

Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.
2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817

Thursday, May 20, 2010

2A:23A-12. Determination in writing; application for modification of award by umpire; confirmations

2A:23A-12. Determination in writing; application for modification of award by umpire; confirmations
a. The award in an alternative resolution proceeding shall be in writing and acknowledged or proved in the same manner as a deed for the conveyance of real estate and delivered personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, or as provided in the agreement to each party or his attorney who has appeared in the proceeding. The award shall state findings of all relevant material facts, and make all applicable determinations of law.

b. An award shall be made within the time fixed by the agreement for alternative resolution or, if not fixed, within such time as the Superior Court orders on application of a party. The parties or the Superior Court upon application and for good cause shown may extend the time for making the award either before or after the expiration of that time. A party waives the right to object that an award was not made within the time required unless the party notifies the umpire of the party's objection prior to the delivery of the award.

c. The power of the umpires may be exercised by a majority of them unless otherwise provided by the agreement for alternative resolution or by this act.

d. On written application of a party to the umpire within 20 days after delivery of the award to the applicant, the umpire may modify the award upon the grounds stated in subsection e. of section 13 of this act. Written notice of the application shall be given to other parties to the proceeding. Written objection to modification must be served on the umpire and other parties to the proceeding within 10 days of receipt of the notice. The umpire shall dispose of any application made under this section in writing, signed and acknowledged by him, within 30 days after either written objection to modification has been served or the time for serving an objection has expired, whichever is earlier. The parties may in writing extend the time for the disposition either before or after its expiration.

e. The umpire shall make the award on all issues submitted for alternative resolution in accordance with applicable principles of substantive law.

f. The court shall confirm an award upon application of a party made within one year after its delivery to him, unless the award is vacated or modified upon a ground specified in section 13 of this act.

L. 1987, c. 54, s. 12.

2A:23A-13. Application to court for review of award
a. A party to an alternative resolution proceeding shall commence a summary application in the Superior Court for its vacation, modification or correction within 45 days after the award is delivered to the applicant, or within 30 days after receipt of an award modified pursuant to subsection d. of section 12 of this act, unless the parties shall extend the time in writing. The award of the umpire shall become final unless the action is commenced as required by this subsection.

b. In considering an application for vacation, modification or correction, a decision of the umpire on the facts shall be final if there is substantial evidence to support that decision; provided, however, that when the application to the court is to vacate the award pursuant to paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4) of subsection c., the court shall make an independent determination of any facts relevant thereto de novo, upon such record as may exist or as it may determine in a summary expedited proceeding as provided for by rules adopted by the Supreme Court for the purpose of acting on such applications.

c. The award shall be vacated on the application of a party who either participated in the alternative resolution proceeding or was served with a notice of intention to have alternative resolution if the court finds that the rights of that party were prejudiced by:

(1) Corruption, fraud or misconduct in procuring the award;

(2) Partiality of an umpire appointed as a neutral;

(3) In making the award, the umpire's exceeding their power or so imperfectly executing that power that a final and definite award was not made;

(4) Failure to follow the procedures set forth in this act, unless the party applying to vacate the award continued with the proceeding with notice of the defect and without objection; or

(5) The umpire's committing prejudicial error by erroneously applying law to the issues and facts presented for alternative resolution.

d. The award shall be vacated on the application of a party who neither participated in the proceeding nor was served with a notice of intention to have alternative resolution if the court finds that:

(1) The rights of that party were prejudiced by one of the grounds specified in subsection c. of this section; or

(2) A valid agreement to have alternative resolution was not made; or

(3) The agreement to have alternative resolution had not been complied with; or

(4) The claim was barred by any provision of this act.

e. The court shall modify the award if:

(1) There was a miscalculation of figures or a mistake in the description of any person, thing or property referred to in the award;

(2) The umpire has made an award based on a matter not submitted to them and the award may be corrected without affecting the merits of the decision upon the issues submitted;

(3) The award is imperfect in a matter of form, not affecting the merits of the controversy; or

(4) The rights of the party applying for the modification were prejudiced by the umpire erroneously applying law to the issues and facts presented for alternative resolution.

f. Whenever it appears to the court to which application is made, pursuant to this section, either to vacate or modify the award because the umpire committed prejudicial error in applying applicable law to the issues and facts presented for alternative resolution, the court shall, after vacating or modifying the erroneous determination of the umpire, appropriately set forth the applicable law and arrive at an appropriate determination under the applicable facts determined by the umpire. The court shall then confirm the award as modified.

L. 1987, c. 54, s. 13.

2A:23A-14. Rehearing, confirmation
Upon vacating an award pursuant to section 13, except for the reasons stated in paragraph (5) of subsection c. of section 13, the court may order a rehearing and determination of all or any of the issues, either before the same umpire, having due regard for whether the award was vacated by reason of the actions of the umpire which were violative of paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4) of subsection c. of section 13 or before a new umpire appointed in accordance with the alternative resolution agreement of this act. Time, in any provision limiting the time for a rehearing or an award, shall be measured from the date of the order or rehearing, whichever is appropriate, or from a time as may be specified by the court. Upon denial of a motion to vacate or modify, the court to which the application for that relief is directed shall confirm the award.

L. 1987, c. 54, s. 14.
2A:23A-15. Death, incompetency of party
When a party dies after making a written agreement to submit a controversy to alternative resolution, the proceedings may be initiated or continued upon the application of, or upon notice to, the party's executor or administrator or, when it relates to real property, the party's distributee or devisee who has succeeded to the party's interest in the real property. When a custodian of the property or a guardian of the person of a party to an agreement is appointed, the proceedings may be continued upon the application of, or notice to, the custodian or guardian. Upon the death or incompetency of a party, the court may extend the time within which an application to confirm, vacate or modify the award or to stay alternative resolution must be made. Where a party has died since an award was delivered, the proceedings thereupon are the same as when a party dies after a verdict.

L. 1987, c. 54, s. 15.

2A:23A-16. Limitation of time
If, at the time a demand for alternative resolution was made or served, the claims sought to be resolved would have been barred by a limitation of time had it been asserted in a court of this State, a party may assert the limitation as a bar to the alternative resolution to a court to which application has been made to compel alternative resolution under this act. A party may also assert such bar before the umpire, who shall promptly rule upon that issue in a separate determination.

L. 1987, c. 54, s. 16.

2A:23A-17. Fees, expenses
Unless otherwise provided in the agreement for alternative resolution, the expenses and fees of the umpire with other expenses, including, but not limited to, costs for the place where the hearings are held, deposition or hearing transcripts, expert fees, and copying of documents, incurred in the conduct of the proceeding, shall be paid as provided in the award. When the agreement for alternative resolution expressly provides, the umpire may provide for payment of attorney's fees.

L. 1987, c. 54, s. 17.

2A:23A-18. Judgment on award
a. Whenever a court shall vacate, modify or correct an award as provided for in this act and thereupon enter an award based on that determination, the court, upon application, shall in a summary proceeding as provided for herein determine all costs and expenses permitted by section 17 of this act. The court may thereupon include the costs and expenses in the final judgment entered confirming the award.

b. Upon the granting of an order confirming, modifying or correcting an award, a judgment or decree shall be entered by the court in conformity therewith and be enforced as any other judgment or decree. There shall be no further appeal or review of the judgment or decree.

L. 1987, c. 54, s. 18.

2A:23A-19 Superior Court jurisdiction of proceedings.

19.Whenever a party to an agreement for alternative resolution has the right to apply to the Superior Court under this act, those proceedings shall be heard in accordance with any rules adopted by the New Jersey Supreme Court. These proceedings shall be summary in nature and expedited. This act shall be liberally construed to effectuate its remedial purpose of allowing parties by agreement to have resolution of factual and legal issues in accordance with informal proceedings and limited judicial review in an expedited manner.

L.1987,c.54,s.19; amended 2005, c.338.