BALDWIN CRANE & EQUIPMENT CORP. v. MOMETAL INTERNATIONAL, INC., et al.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE
APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY
DOCKET NO. A-6404-04T36404-04T3
BALDWIN CRANE & EQUIPMENT
MOMETAL INTERNATIONAL, INC. and
RELIANCE INSURANCE COMPANY,
Submitted March 14, 2006 - Decided March 28, 2006
Before Judges Skillman and Sabatino.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Docket No. L-3535-03.
Robert E. Turtz, attorney for appellants.
Lindabury, McCormick & Estabrook, attorneys for respondent (Barry J. Donohue, of counsel; Timothy M. Jabbour, on the brief).
Defendants appeal from a judgment for $108,362.13 entered on June 23, 2005 on a claim for rental payments for equipment used in a construction project. The judgment was based on the evidence presented at a one-day bench trial.
On appeal, defendants present the following arguments:
I. THE COURT BELOW COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR IN HOLDING MOMETAL INTERNATIONAL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONTRACTUAL OBLGATIONS, IF ANY, OF MOMETAL, INC. TO PLAINTIFF BECAUSE THE FACTS ESTABLISH THAT MOMETAL, INC. WAS THE PARTY THAT CONTRACTED WITH PLAINTIFF, AND PLAINTIFF UTTERLY FAILED TO PROVE THE ELEMENTS WHICH WOULD ENTITLE IT TO PIERCE THE CORPORATE VEIL TO MAKE INTERNATIONAL RESPONSIBLE FOR MOMETAL'S OBLGIATIONS, IF ANY, TO PLAINTIFF.
II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THE STATUTE OF FRAUDS INAPPLICABLE BECAUSE MOMETAL INTERNATIONAL INC. NEVER ADMITTED, EITHER IN A WRITING OR IN THE COURSE OF THIS LITIGATION, THE EXISTENCE OF A CONTRACT WITH BALDWIN CRANE AND NEVER PROMISED TO PAY ANY AMOUNT WHATEVER TO BALDWIN CRANE ON ACCOUNT OF A CONTRACT.
III. ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE TRIAL COURT SHOULD HAVE CONSIDERED THE TERMS OF THE CONTRACT AS BEING MATERIAL TO THE DETERMINATION OF THIS CONTROVERSY, PLAINTIFF HAS NOT CARRIED ITS BURDEN OF PROVING BY A PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE WHAT THOSE TERMS ARE OR THAT IT IS ENTITLED TO RECOVER ANYTHING MORE THAN IT HAS ALREADY BEEN PAID; ACCORDINGLY, WE SUBMIT THAT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO ENTER JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF DEFENDANTS.
We reject these arguments and affirm the judgment in plaintiff's favor substantially for the reasons set forth in Judge Malone's June 8, 2005 letter opinion.
March 28, 2006