Motions based on Rule 4:50-1 must be brought within a reasonable time

Law Lessons from STEVEN ORNER, ROSEANNA ORNER, SALVATORE IONNO, JR., and JOANNE IONNO v. GUANG LIU, SUSAN LIU, and CHENGCHIH F. LIU, __ N.J. Super. __ (App. Div. 2011), A-6185-09T4, April 26, 2011: For motions based on Rule 4:50-1(a), (b) and (c), the Rule bars relief when the motion is filed "more than one year after the judgment, order or proceeding was entered or taken." [1] The Rule does not mean that it is reasonable to file such a motion within one year; the one-year period represents only the outermost time limit for the filing of a motion based on Rule 4:50-1(a), (b) or (c). All Rule 4:50 motions must be filed within a reasonable time, which, in some circumstances, may be less than one year from entry of the order in question. See Bascom Corp. v. Chase Manhattan Bank, 363 N.J. Super. 334, 340 (App. Div. 2003) (holding that Rule 4:50-2 "requires all motions under R[ule] 4:50-1 to be brought within a reasonable time"), certif. denied, 178 N.J. 453, cert. denied, 542 U.S. 938, 124 S. Ct. 2911, 159 L. Ed. 2d 813 (2004); Jackson Constr. Co. v. Ocean Twp., 182 N.J. Super. 148, 161, 3 N.J. Tax 296, 309 (Tax 1981) (recognizing that because a Rule 4:50-1 motion "was filed within one year after entry of judgment does not make it timely"). NOTE: The following comment regarding the manner in which Rule 4:50-2 should be interpreted is erroneous: The basic theme of the rule is to impose a one-year limitation on motions made pursuant to [Rule 4:50-1(a), (b), or (c)]. Motions made under the remaining subsections must be made within a reasonable time under the circumstances. [Pressler and Verniero, Current N.J. Court Rules, comment 1 on R. 4:50-2 (2011).] To the extent this comment suggests motions based on Rule 4:50-1(a), (b) or (c), are timely so long as they are filed within one year, it is incorrect. The "basic theme" of Rule 4:50-2 is that the motion – regardless of the subsection relied upon – must be filed within "a reasonable time." And it is not only "the remaining subsections" that are subject to the reasonableness requirement; all such motions must be filed within a reasonable time. Bascom Corp., supra, 363 N.J. Super. at 340. Note: There is a print link embedded within this post, please visit this post to print it. NOTE: My legal services include family law, divorce, child support, litigation, arbitration, mediation, child custody and visitation, alimony, equitable distribution, separation agreements, palimony, PSA, property settlement agreement, premarital and prenuptial agreements, midmarriage and marital agreements. Motions based on other subsections of Rule 4:50-1 are not subject to the one-year bar. See Garza v. Paone, 44 N.J. Super. 553, 557-58 (App. Div. 1957). They, however, must be filed within a reasonable time, which may be less or greater than one year.

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