Thomas F. Brogan
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
Civil Division Manager's Office
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
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
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
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.
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.
Rules Governing the State of New Jerseyhttp://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/rules/rules_toc.htm
Civil Motions Calendarhttp://ttnntweb1.aoc.judiciary.state.nj.us/ACMSINFO/MOTN/CV0390W0O.ASP
Job Opportunities with the Judiciaryhttp://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/jobs/index.htm