ALAN R. ACKERMAN, ESQ v. SHIRLEY GOODHEARTAnnotate this Case
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE
APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY
DOCKET NO. A-4495-09T2
ALAN R. ACKERMAN, ESQ.,
SubmittedJune 1, 2011 Decided June21, 2011
Before Judges Parrillo and Skillman.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Special Civil Part, Morris County, Docket No. DC-003597-09.
Shirley Goodheart, appellant pro se.
Alan R. Ackerman, respondent pro se.
Plaintiff, an attorney at law of the State of New Jersey, represented defendant in post-judgment proceedings relating to a matrimonial action. On March 31, 2009, plaintiff filed an action in the Special Civil Part for the recovery of fees for his services. On June 12, 2009, plaintiff secured a default judgment against defendant for $8,702.50 based on her failure to file a timely answer to the complaint. Since then, defendant has filed five separate motions to vacate that default judgment. The trial court denied each of those motions. Defendant did not appeal from the orders denying her first four motions to vacate the default judgment. She now appeals not only from the order denying her fifth motion but also the orders denying her previous four motions.
Defendant's notice of appeal was patently out of time with respect to the post-judgment orders denying her first four motions to vacate the default judgment. The notice was also out of time with respect to the order denying her fifth motion because Rule 2:4-1(a) requires an appeal to be filed "within 45 days of . . . entry" of the order appealed from, and defendant's notice of appeal was not filed until June 2, 2010, which was forty-nine days after entry of that order on April 14, 2010.
Moreover, even if defendant's confusion concerning calculation of the time for filing a notice of appeal were deemed to provide "good cause" for an extension of time, see R. 2:4-4(a), the trial court correctly concluded in denying defendant's motions that she had failed to show that her failure to file a timely answer "was excusable under the circumstances" or that she had a "meritorious defense" to plaintiff's claim. Mancini v. EDS ex rel. N.J. Auto. Full Ins. Underwriting Ass'n, 132 N.J. 330, 334-35 (1993) (quoting Morales v. Santiago, 217 N.J. Super. 496, 501 (App. Div. 1987)).