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Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.

DELSEA GARDENS, LLC, Plaintiff–Respondent, v. LOUISA RIVERA & OCCUPANTS, Defendant–Appellant.

DOCKET NO. A–4741–12T1

    Decided: March 21, 2014

Before Judges Grall and Nugent. Brenda L. Rascher argued the cause for appellant (South Jersey Legal Services, Inc., attorneys;  Ms. Rascher, on the brief). Marian E. Haag argued the cause for respondent (Bertram & Haag, LLC, attorneys;  Ms. Haag, on the brief.

Defendant Louisa Rivera appeals a judgment of possession entered in favor of her landlord, plaintiff Delsea Gardens, LLC (Delsea Gardens).   The judgment was entered pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:18–61.1. That statute provides that a tenant may be removed if “found, by a preponderance of the evidence, liable in a civil action for removal” for an enumerated offense.  N.J.S.A. 2A:18–61.lp. The list includes assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12–1, and terroristic threats, N.J.S.A. 2C:12–3, when either of those offenses is committed “against the landlord, a member of the landlord's family or an employee of the landlord.”   N.J.S.A. 2A:18–61.1p.

Following a bench trial, the judge found Rivera liable for assaulting and making terroristic threats to Beth Osborn, an employee of Delsea Gardens.   The judge set forth his findings of fact and legal conclusions in a “memorandum of decision” that he filed on May 10, 2013.

We affirm substantially for the reasons set forth in the judge's memorandum of decision.   Our review of the record convinces us that the “judgment is based on findings of fact which are adequately supported by the record.”   R. 2:11–3(e)(1)(A).   Rivera's claim that the determinations are not supported by adequate credible evidence and rest on inadmissible hearsay lack sufficient merit to warrant extended discussion in a written opinion.   It suffices to note that the hearsay was admitted and considered for the limited purpose of establishing the reasonableness of a person in Osborn's situation believing in the immediacy of the threat.   See N.J.S.A. 2C:12–3b;  State v. Cesare, 154 N.J. 394, 403 (1998).1



1.  FN1. At oral argument counsel for Rivera argued that the notice to quit did not give adequate notice of assault to permit entry of judgment on that basis.   That argument, which is not set forth in a point heading, was not properly raised on appeal.   R. 2:6–2(a)(5).   In any event, because the judgment can be sustained based on the judge's findings of terroristic threats and without regard to assault, any error relevant to assault is clearly incapable of producing an unjust result.   R. 2:10–2.


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