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Triffin v. Jem Mechanical

A-978-01T5 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2002) (Unpublished)

DAMAGES— Costs of litigation including the cost to determine if the automatic bankruptcy stay was in effect are not includable in a judgment for a bad check.

A frequent buyer of dishonored checks successfully obtained a judgment against the maker of such a check. The lower court, however, awarded only the amount of the check and taxed costs. The buyer of the check appealed, arguing that the lower court should have allowed pre-judgment interest, a returned-check fee, “costs of inquiring whether the defendants were subject to the automatic [bankruptcy] stay,” and taxed costs from a previous appeal. The Appellate Division concluded that the lower court judgment should have included pre-judgment interest, but found no basis for awarding “any additional expenses incurred in pursuing [the] claim, such as a the ‘costs of inquiring whether the defendants were subject to the automatic [bankruptcy] stay… .’” Absent an express agreement or court rule or statute to the contrary, the costs of litigation are to be borne by each litigant without recovery from the other. Further, the judgment should have included the previously-taxed costs.


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