Arabruny Lindor v. Janoris Jenkins, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, A-1671-22 (Mar. 5, 2024)

A Cautionary Tale – Diary, Diary, Diary

It is a well-known tenet of law in New Jersey that a party has 30 days from the arbitration award to file a trial de novo, rejecting the arbitration award and returning the matter to the trial calendar. Recently, the New Jersey Appellate Court upheld a Bergen County judge’s finding that the filing of a trial de novo even one day late results in the acceptance of the arbitration award, leaving the client on the hook for payment. 

Counsel for the defendant, who shackled his client with a $400,000 arbitration award, argued that the court’s calculation of when the 30 days began was incorrect. Neither the trial court nor the Appellate Court agreed with counsel and found that defense counsel had failed to timely file the trial de novo by one day. 

In order to avoid this problem in the future, diary, diary, diary—diary the day it is due, diary seven days before that, and diary seven days before that. The court has spoken: If you miss the trial de novo date, you do so at your own peril or, rather, the peril of your client.  

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