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Civil Division

 

Thomas F. Brogan
Presiding Judge, Civil Division

Vanessa Hendrickson
Vanessa Hendrickson,
Civil Division Manager
973-247-8176

Dawn Thomas
Dawn Thomas,
Assistant Civil Division Manager
973-247-8176

 


ABOUT THE CIVIL DIVISION

In accordance with the New Jersey Constitution, the Civil Division is part of the Law Division of the New Jersey Superior Court. The Civil Division has general jurisdiction in actions to enforce, redress or protect private rights.  Cases involving monetary damages over $15,000 are within the jurisdiction of the Civil Division.  The Special Civil Part has jurisdiction in contract, penalty and tort actions up to $15,000; landlord/tenant disputes; collection of statutory penalties and small claims actions up to $3,000.

Civil Division (Law and Special Civil Part) Team Leaders

Name Phone Area/Duties
Joyce Bolton 973-247-8215 Landlord/Tenant
Aleshia Brandon 973-247-8242 Chancery (Judge McVeigh)
Cecelia Nardone 973-247-8205 Law calendar, Judge Ernest M. Caposela, A.J.S.C., Judge Thomas F. Brogan, P.J.Cv, Judge Rudolph A. Filko, J.S.C.
Denice McNamee 973-247-8198 Arbitration Administrator, Judge Raymond A. Reddin, J.S.C.
Jackie Powell 973-247-8171 Civil Intake, Judge Thomas J. LaConte, J.S.C., Judge Lawrence M. Maron, J.S.C.
Barbara Rabinowitz 973-247-8239 JEFIS point person, DC (special civil) calendar
Alex Sousa 973-247-8211 Small Claims calendar, Records/Public Access and Post Judgment

Civil Division Manager's Office
77 Hamilton Street, New Courthouse, Third Floor

The Civil Division Manager and staff oversee the administration of the operations and procedures in the Civil Division. Cases are managed from intake through disposition to ensure accurate and expeditious case flow. The duties of the Civil Division Manager's staff include:

  • scheduling hearings
  • assigning trial dates for both Civil and Special Civil Part matters
  • handling adjournment requests
  • maintaining Civil Judges' schedules
  • receiving and filing court-related documents
  • preparing weekly and monthly statistics.

Civil Intake Office
77 Hamilton Street, New Courthouse, First Floor

Civil Intake staff performs the following functions:

  • maintaining files on all civil cases
  • locating and distributing files for scheduled court hearings
  • filing all court documents in the appropriate case file
  • fielding requests for copies of files or information in case files
  • the filing of new complaints
  • the collection of appropriate fees
  • processing emergent matters and name change applications

Intake staff is heavily involved with the public in carrying out these duties and answering inquiries.

Law Division Schedule Information

Trial Calls for "L" Docket Numbers:
Monday at 9:00 AM, Courtroom #322
Civil Motions: Alternate Fridays

Special Civil Part

77 Hamilton Street, New Courthouse, First Floor

The Special Civil Part handles the processing of cases that fall within its jurisdiction as stated above. Staff handles all aspects of intake, collection of fees, scheduling of trials and motions, records management and post judgment. In addition, the staff assists with overseeing the operation of the mediation programs.

Complementary Dispute Resolution

Consistent with Best Practices, many cases that come into the system participate in one or more diversionary programs or Complementary Dispute Resolution (CDR) programs. These programs are established under the authority of the Supreme Court and are subject to the rules and regulations found in the New Jersey Court Rules.
The programs in place in the Civil Division are:

  • Automobile Arbitration (every Thursday, sixth floor Arbitration Room)
    In accordance with New Jersey Rule 4:21A, all tort actions arising out of the operation, ownership, maintenance or use of an automobile in which the amount in controversy does not exceed $15,000 are submitted to mandatory arbitration. Cases are screened and scheduled, and parties are notified for arbitration by the arbitration staff in the Civil Division Manager's Office. Arbitrators must be attorneys with at least seven years of experience in personal injury law or retired Superior Court Judges, who are compensated by the State of New Jersey.
  • Personal Injury Arbitration (every other Friday, not Civil Motions day)
    In accordance with New Jersey Court Rule 4:21A, all actions for personal injury not arising out of the operation, ownership, maintenance or use of an automobile in which the amount in controversy does not exceed $20,000 are submitted to arbitration. Cases are screened and scheduled, and parties are notified for arbitration by the arbitration staff in the Civil Division Manager's Office. Arbitrators must be attorneys with at least seven years of experience in personal injury law or retired Superior Court Judges, who are compensated by the State of New Jersey.
  • Contract Arbitration (one Wednesday per month)
    The program is identical in format to the Auto and Personal Injury Arbitration Programs, except that only cases involving contractual disputes are eligible.
  • Attorney/Carrier Settlement Conference Program
    The Attorney/Carrier Settlement Conference Program was initiated at the request of the Passaic County Bar Association for settling civil cases involving specific insurance carriers that have substantial numbers of cases on the trial docket. On a given day, cases involving one specific insurance carrier are scheduled for settlement conferences. The cases are the ones that the carrier has identified as being appropriate for settlement. When a carrier indicates a willingness to participate in a day or half-day of settlement conferences, a judge designated by the Presiding Judge of the Civil Division takes responsibility for setting up the conferences. A notice scheduling the conference is then sent from the Court to all parties. The Presiding Judge of the Civil Division or another Civil Division judge conducts the conference.
  • Small Claims Mediation
    Small claims mediation is organized by the judge assigned to the Special Civil Part and that judge's law clerk. All law clerks participate as mediators in this program. The law clerk assignment roster is prepared and distributed by the Court Administrator's Office. Individuals who have filed civil claims involving amounts of $3,000.00 or less will have their matter heard in Small Claims Court. After the calendar is called, each small claims matter must first be mediated by a law clerk or other personnel trained in mediation techniques. During mediation, the mediator listens to each party's side and reviews any receipts or papers offered as proof for the claim. The mediator then attempts to assist the parties in arriving at an agreement.

Special Civil Mediation

Special Civil Part Mediation is organized by the Judge of the Special Civil Part, the Judge's law clerk, and volunteer attorneys organized by the Passaic County Bar Association. Individuals who have filed civil claims involving amounts of $15,000.00 or less will have their matter heard by a Judge of the Special Civil Part. Cases scheduled for trial may be referred by the judge for mediation before being heard in court. Mediation is conducted by a volunteer attorney who sits with each party and their attorney, if represented, and assists them in discussing settlement.

Landlord-Tenant Mediation

In an effort to provide further avenues of expeditious resolution to cases filed in landlord/tenant matters, the Civil Division has formed a partnership with the Board of Social Services for mediation of all landlord/tenant actions. Trained individuals from the Board of Social Services assist law clerks and court staff in mediating these matters to achieve fair, equitable and expedient resolutions.

In addition, the members of the Board of Social Services can provide qualified individuals with the necessary information to obtain alternative housing or financial rental assistance. In many instances, this information resolves the litigation to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.

Mediation in landlord/tenant actions takes place for all cases scheduled for trial. The mediation precedes the court action and in approximately 60% of the cases, disposes of the matter without the need for a trial. Those matters not disposed at the mediation level, proceed immediately to trial.


Handy Links

Rules Governing the State of New Jersey

http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/rules/rules_toc.htm

Civil Motions Calendar

http://ttnntweb1.aoc.judiciary.state.nj.us/ACMSINFO/MOTN/CV0390W0O.ASP

Job Opportunities with the Judiciary

http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/jobs/index.htm
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