The Civil Division mainly handles tort and contract cases of a monetary value of $15,000 or more. Approximately 7,000 complaints are filed in the Civil Division annually.
The main offices for the division are located at 583 Newark Avenue, in the Brennan Courthouse. There are nine judges assigned to the Civil Division, six of them are located in the Brennan Courthouse and three are in the Administration Building.
The Honorable Mary K Costello is the Presiding Judge and is located in the Brennan Courthouse.
Antoinette Outwater, Civil Division Manager, oversees the operations of the division along with the Presiding Judge. Susan Statile is the Assistant Civil Division Manager.
1. The Customer Service/Post Judgment Team
The Civil Law Division Customer Service/Post Judgment Team, along with their Team Leader, Diana Ortiz is situated in the Civil Records Room located on the 1st floor of the Brennan Courthouse. In addition to providing excellent customer service, the Customer Service Team is responsible for filing and docketing initial complaints, in addition to processing all post judgment documents.
2. Case Management Teams
Team 1, which is supervised by Team Leader by Ida Vargas, is also located in the Civil Records Room. Team 1 currently provides support for 4 pretrial judges, along with the Assignment Judge.
Team 2, is located in the Case Management office on the 3rd floor of the Brennan Courthouse and is supervised by Ann DiMase, Team Leader. They support 4 pretrial judges as well as the Civil Presiding Judge. As fully integrated case management teams, both Teams 1 and 2 are responsible for the entire progression of a case, beginning with the filing of an answer, through to disposition.
Note: The Civil Records Room maintains all of the Division’s files. Since civil records are open to the public, anyone interested in reviewing a file or obtaining a copy of a document may come to the Civil Records Room. For more information call the Customer Service Desk at 201-217-5162.
3. Complementary Dispute Resolution (CDR) Team
The arbitration program is coordinated and supervised by Laura LaRosa, Team Leader. All auto negligence, personal injury and contract cases are scheduled for arbitration. Approximately 50% of the cases scheduled for arbitration are disposed of through the program. This avoids the need for a long costly trial. The unit is located on the 3rd floor of the Brennan Courthouse. For more information call 201-795-6372.
The CDR Team also oversees the Foreclosure Mediation Program. The high incidence of foreclosures has had a negative financial and social effect on many of New Jersey’s communities. Court-referred mediation is an important method to foster an open and effective channel of communication between homeowners and lenders.
The Civil Division is constantly exploring new types of complimentary dispute resolution programs that may help bring cases to a more expeditious and cost effective resolution. Programs currently used in Hudson County are mandatory non-binding arbitration, voluntary binding arbitration, court-annexed mediation, and presumptive mediation and settlement conferences.