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Adamar of New Jersey, Inc. v. Mason

399 N.J. Super. 63, 942 A.2d 878 (App. Div. 2008)

JUDGMENTS — A judgment creditor is not required to take meaningful steps to enforce a judgment during its original twenty year period as a pre-condition to filing a timely motion to renew that judgment.

In 1986, a creditor obtained a judgment in New Jersey against a debtor who was a Pennsylvania resident. The judgment was recorded in Pennsylvania and the creditor tried unsuccessfully to levy on the debtor’s bank account in Pennsylvania. Prior to the expiration of New Jersey’s twenty year period for levying on a judgment, the creditor filed a motion in New Jersey to renew its judgment for an additional twenty years. It provided a copy of the judgment and a certification that the judgment was valid and unpaid, and that there were no outstanding impediments to enforcement. The debtor opposed, arguing that the creditor should not be allowed to renew its judgment because it failed to take meaningful steps to enforce it in New Jersey during its original twenty year period. The lower court granted the creditor’s motion to renew the judgment. The debtor appealed.

The Appellate Division affirmed, hold that the twenty year term for New Jersey judgments can be extended for an additional twenty-year term if the creditor files a timely motion to renew and satisfies the following elements: (1) the judgment is valid and subsisting; (2) it remains unpaid in full, or, if in part, the unpaid balance; and (3) there is no outstanding impediment to its judicial enforcement, such as a pending bankruptcy proceeding. The Appellate Division held that the lower court reasonably held that the creditor had satisfied these elements upon application for revival. It also noted that the debtor did not contest the validity of the underlying judgment or the timeliness of the creditor’s motion, and offered no evidence of impediment to enforcement. Lastly, the Court held that it was immaterial to the creditor’s right to renew the judgment that the creditor had taken no steps to execute the judgment in New Jersey during the original twenty year period.

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