Our office represents Companies, insurance companies and people involved in civil lawsuits. We provide representation throughout New Jersey. Procedurally, the following events occur in most civil cases. First, your Attorney must complete the investigation and research the possible causes of action. When we feel that we have sufficient information to form an opinion as to the financial extent of your damages, we may commence negotiations with the opposition for a settlement. If the opposition will not make an adequate offer, then a Complaint and Case Information Statement is prepared by your attorney. It is filed in the Superior Court, Law Division. Your attorney then will prepare a summons and have the defendants personally served with the Summons and Complaint.
The defendant, must file an "Answer" within 35 days. The following are the Court Rules on Filing of Civil Complaints: COURT RULE 4:2. FORM; COMMENCEMENT OF ACTION 4:2-1. Form of Action There shall be one form of action in civil practice to be known as a "civil action".
4:2-2. Commencement of Action
A civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court. If a timely formal "Answer to Complaint" is not filed within 35 days, a default can be entered against the defendant. After a default judgment, assets can be seized, wages garnished, property sold and even civil arrest if you ignore court orders. Don't give up!
Our Law Office can provide experienced attorney representation for civil lawsuits. Our website njlaws.com provides information on civil lawsuits.
The following is current NJ Court Rules on Answers in a Civil Complaint in the Superior Court Law Division. Court 4:5-1.
General Requirements for Complaints and other Pleadings(a) Pleadings Allowed. There shall be a Complaint and an Answer; an answer to a counterclaim denominated as such; an answer to a cross-claim, if the answer contains a cross-claim; a third-party complaint pursuant to R. 4:8; a third-party answer, if a third-party complaint is served; and a reply, if an affirmative defense is set forth in an answer and the pleader wishes to allege any matter constituting an avoidance of the defense. No other pleading is allowed.(b) Requirements for First Pleadings. (1) Case Information Statement. Except in civil commitment actions brought pursuant to R. 4:74-7 and in actions in probate, foreclosure and all other general equity actions, a Case Information Statement in the form prescribed by Appendix XII to these rules shall be annexed as a cover sheet to each party's first pleading. (2) Notice of Other Actions and Potentially Liable Persons. Each party shall include with the first pleading a certification as to whether the matter in controversy is the subject of any other action pending in any court or of a pending arbitration proceeding, or whether any other action or arbitration proceeding is contemplated; and, if so, the certification shall identify such actions and all parties thereto. Further, each party shall disclose in the certification the names of any non-party who should be joined in the action pursuant to R. 4:28 or who is subject to joinder pursuant to R. 4:29-1(b) because of potential liability to any party on the basis of the same transactional facts. Each party shall have a continuing obligation during the course of the litigation to file and serve on all other parties and with the court an amended certification if there is a change in the facts stated in the original certification.
The court may require notice of the action to be given to any non-party whose name is disclosed in accordance with this rule or may compel joinder pursuant to R. 4:29-1(b). If a party fails to comply with its obligations under this rule, the court may impose an appropriate sanction including dismissal of a successive action against a party whose existence was not disclosed or the imposition on the non-complying party of litigation expenses that could have been avoided by compliance with this rule. A successive action shall not, however, be dismissed for failure of compliance with this rule unless the failure of compliance was inexcusable and the right of the undisclosed party to defend the successive action has been substantially prejudiced by not having been identified in the prior action. 4:5-2. Claim for Relief Except as may be more specifically provided by these rules in respect of specific actions, a pleading which sets forth a claim for relief, whether an original claim, counter-claim, cross-claim or third-party claim, shall contain a statement of the facts on which the claim is based, showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and a demand for judgment for the relief to which the pleader claims entitlement. Relief in the alternative or of several different types may be demanded. If unliquidated money damages are claimed in any court, other than the Special Civil Part, the pleading shall demand damages generally without specifying the amount. If a pleading filed in the Special Civil Part states a demand in excess of the amount cognizable in that court, said pleading shall be filed by the clerk for the full cognizable amount and any amount in excess thereof shall be deemed waived unless the action is transferred pursuant to R. 6:4-1.
The clerk of the Special Civil Part shall, in any pleading filed that does not set forth a cognizable amount, consider the demand to be for the maximum amount and the maximum filing fee shall be charged. Upon service of a written request by another party, the party filing the pleading shall within 5 days after service thereof furnish the requesting party with a written statement of the amount of damages claimed, which statement shall not be filed except on court order. 4:5-3. Answer; Defenses; Form of Denials An Answer shall state in short and plain terms the pleader's defenses to each claim asserted and shall admit or deny the allegations upon which the adversary relies. A pleader who is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of an allegation shall so state and, except as otherwise provided by R. 4:64-1(b) (foreclosure actions), this shall have the effect of a denial. Denials shall fairly meet the substance of the allegations denied. A pleader who intends in good faith to deny only a part or a qualification of an allegation shall specify so much of it as is true and material and deny only the remainder. The pleader may not generally deny all the allegations but shall make the denials as specific denials of designated allegations or paragraphs. 4:5-4.
Affirmative Defenses; Misdesignation of Defense and Counterclaim A responsive pleading shall set forth specifically and separately a statement of facts constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense such as accord and satisfaction, arbitration and award, contributory negligence, discharge in bankruptcy, duress, estoppel, failure of consideration, fraud, illegality, injury by fellow servant, laches, license, payment, release, res judicata, statute of frauds, statute of limitations, and waiver. If a party has mistakenly designated a defense as a counterclaim or a counterclaim as a defense, the court, on terms if the interest of justice requires, shall treat the pleading as if there had been a proper designation. 4:5-5. Effect of Failure to Deny Allegations in a pleading which sets forth a claim for relief, other than those as to the amount of damages, are admitted if not denied in the answer thereto. In every action brought upon a negotiable instrument, the authenticity of any signature or endorsement thereon shall be taken to be admitted unless the same is put in issue by the pleadings. Allegations in any answer setting forth an affirmative defense shall be taken as denied if not avoided in a reply; issue shall be deemed to have been joined upon allegations in an answer setting forth other matters. Allegations in a reply shall be taken as denied or avoided, and any defense thereto in law or fact may be asserted at trial. 4:5-6.
Consistency A party may set forth 2 or more statements of a claim or defense alternatively or hypothetically, either in one count or defense or in separate counts or defenses. When 2 or more statements are made in the alternative and one of them, if made independently, would be sufficient, the pleading is not made insufficient by the insufficiency of one or more of the alternative statements. As many separate claims or defenses as the party has may be stated regardless of their consistency and whether based on legal or on equitable grounds or on both. All statements shall be made subject to the obligations set forth in R. 1:4-8. 4:5-7. Pleadings to Be Concise and Direct; Construction Each allegation of a pleading shall be simple, concise and direct, and no technical forms of pleading are required. All pleadings shall be liberally construed in the interest of justice. 4:5-8. Pleading Special Matters (a) Fraud; Mistake; Condition of Mind. In all allegations of misrepresentation, fraud, mistake, breach of trust, willful default or undue influence, particulars of the wrong, with dates and items if necessary, shall be stated insofar as practicable. Malice, intent, knowledge, and other condition of mind of a person may be alleged generally. (b) Conditions Precedent. In pleading the performance or occurrence of conditions precedent, it is sufficient to allege generally that all such conditions have been performed or have occurred. A denial of performance or occurrence shall be made specifically and with particularity, but when so made the party pleading the performance or occurrence has the burden of establishing it. (c) Pleading According to Legal Effect. Acts and contracts may be stated according to their legal effect, but in so doing the pleading should be such as fairly to apprise the adverse party of the state of facts which it is intended to prove; thus, an act or promise of a principal other than a corporation, if in fact proceeding from an agent known to the pleader, should be so stated. In pleading an official document or official act it is sufficient to allege that the document was issued or the act done in compliance with law. (d) Judgment. A judgment or decision of a domestic or foreign court, judicial or quasi-judicial tribunal, or administrative agency or officer, may be alleged without stating matter showing jurisdiction to render it. (e) Time and Place. For the purpose of testing the sufficiency of a pleading, allegations of time and place are material and shall be considered like all other allegations of material matter. (f) Special Damage. Items of special damage claimed shall be specially stated, except that if a general demand for unliquidated damages is made pursuant to R. 4:5-2, the facts giving rise to any included claim for special damages shall be specially stated in lieu of the monetary claim therefor.
RULE 4:6. DEFENSES AND OBJECTIONS: WHEN AND HOW PRESENTED; BY PLEADING OR MOTION; MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON PLEADINGS 4:6-1. When Presented (a) Time; Presentation. Except as otherwise provided by R. 4:7-5(c) (cross claims), 4:8-1(b) (third-party joinder), 4:9-1 (answer to amended complaint), and 4:64-1(g) (governmental answer in foreclosure actions), the defendant shall serve an answer, including therein any counterclaim, within 35 days after service of the summons and complaint on that defendant. If service is made as provided by court order, pursuant to R. 4:4-4(b)(3), the time for service of the answer may be specified therein. Service of the answer shall be complete as provided by R. 1:5-4. A party served with a pleading stating a counterclaim or cross claim against that party shall serve an answer thereto within 35 days after the service upon that party. A reply to an answer, where permitted, shall be served within 20 days after service of the answer. (b) Time; Effect of Certain Motions. Unless the court fixes a different time period, the time periods prescribed in paragraph (a) of this rule are altered by the filing and service of a motion under R. 4:6 or for summary judgment under R. 4:46 or R. 4:69-2 as follows: (1) if the motion is denied in whole or part or its disposition postponed until trial, the responsive pleading shall be served within 10 days after notice of the court's action; (2) if a motion for a more definite statement is granted, the responsive pleadings shall be served within 10 days after the service of such statement. If notice is given a nonresident party demanding security for costs and the nonresident gives notice of the filing of the bond or the making of the deposit, the party making the demand shall then have the same time to plead as may have remained at the time of the service of the notice demanding the security. (c) Time; Extension by Consent. The time for service of a responsive pleading may be enlarged for a period not exceeding 60 days by the written consent of the parties, which shall be filed with the responsive pleading within said 60-day period. Further enlargements shall be allowed only on notice by court order, on good cause shown therefor. (d) Certificate of Service. The party filing the responsive pleading or the party's attorney shall certify thereon, or in an acknowledgment, proof or certificate of service, that the pleading was served within the time period allowed by R. 4:6 or other rule specified in the certificate. 4:6-2. How Presented Every defense, legal or equitable, in law or fact, to a claim for relief in any complaint, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party complaint shall be asserted in the answer thereto, except that the following defenses may at the option of the pleader be made by motion, with briefs: (a) lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, (b) lack of jurisdiction over the person, (c) insufficiency of process, (d) insufficiency of service of process, (e) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, (f) failure to join a party without whom the action cannot proceed, as provided by R. 4:28-1. If a motion is made raising any of these defenses, it shall be made before pleading if a further pleading is to be made. No defense or objection is waived by being joined with one or more other defenses in an answer or motion. Special appearances are superseded. If, on a motion to dismiss based on the defense numbered, (e) matters outside the pleading are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided by R. 4:46, and all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to present all material pertinent to such a motion. Interrogatory Questions and Discovery The Answer is followed by a request for written interrogatories. These are questions that must be answered by each party. Generally, written interrogatories are followed by the taking of depositions, which is recorded testimony given under oath by any person the opposition wishes to question. Request for Production of Documents Kenneth Vercammen's office will also demand a Request for Production of Documents pursuant R. 4:18-1, which includes a Demand for Discovery of Insurance. Superior Court Civil Arbitration All civil lawsuits are required to participate in a Civil Arbitration at the County Courthouse or in a Mediation. In Middlesex County cases, these are held at the Middlesex County Courthouse Building, 1st Floor, 1 John F. Kennedy Square at Bayard Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey. In the event you are deposed during the course of this action, you will receive detailed instructions as to procedure and will be requested to watch a videotape. After taking depositions, the case will be set down for an Arbitration. Some non-injury cases are sent to court-ordered civil mediation. If the parties do not settle after the Arbitration, the case will be given a trial call date. Prior to Arbitration, each party must fill out a form in civil, non personal injury cases:
UNIFORM COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION MEMORANDUM (All Information Must Be Legibly Printed Or Typed) PLEASE RETURN TO: Number of Witnesses you are offering at Arbitration: ______ Anticipated length of time for your presentation: _________ 1. Brief factual outline as to your position: 2. Set forth disputed facts and issues by any party in outline form: 3. Provide facts that you anticipate will be undisputed: 4. Set forth legal issues to be addressed by arbitrator: 5. Please quantify elements of your alleged damages: 6. Set forth issues addressed in expert reports (attach copies): 7. Discuss mitigation of damages (if applicable): 8. Describe the basis for the defenses you assert to the complaint and/or counterclaim: 9. Have all parties been served: Yes _________ No __________ 10. Are any parties in default? Yes _________ No __________ 11. List any unserved and/or defaulted parties: 12. Should any special expertise be required by the arbitrator, e.g., should the arbitrator be familiar with a particular discipline and/or industry? If yes, please specify: The Arbitration is held before an attorney selected by the Assignment Judge who will read medical reports and statements submitted by the parties, then listen to testimony from the parties for approximately 15 minutes. The Arbitrator will make a decision as to who is responsible and whether damages should be awarded. Most Personal Injury attorney mail a draft of the Arbitration Statement to their clients ahead of time. We recommend clients notify our office immediately in writing with any changes in the Arbitration Statement. We suggest you visit the accident site during the week prior to Arbitration, and call all of your doctors to confirm all bills are paid. We previously provided a copy of your Answers to Interrogatories to our clients. Personal injury clients should carefully review the answers to interrogatories before the Arbitration. You should be fully familiar with the information which was supplied by way of answers to interrogatories because many of the Arbitration questions will involve the same information. If you cannot locate your copy of the Answers to the Interrogatories, please call your attorney's office and they should forward to you another copy of the Answers to the Interrogatories. You must be present in court and prepared to proceed at that time. You should bring all of your papers in connection with your case to Court. Please call your attorney's secretary approximately 24 hours before this hearing to confirm that the court has not adjourned your hearing. 4:21A-1. Actions Subject to Arbitration; Notice and Scheduling of Arbitration (a) Mandatory Arbitration. Arbitration pursuant to this rule is mandatory for applicable cases on Tracks I, II, and III, and only as required by the managing judge for cases on Track IV. (1) Automobile Negligence Actions. All tort actions arising out of the operation, ownership, maintenance or use of an automobile shall be submitted to arbitration in accordance with these rules. (2) Other Personal Injury Actions. Except for professional malpractice actions, all actions for personal injury not arising out of the operation, ownership, maintenance or use of an automobile shall be submitted to arbitration in accordance with these rules. (3) Other Non-Personal Injury Actions. All actions on a book account or instrument of obligation, all personal injury protection claims against plaintiff's insurer, and all other contract and commercial actions that have been screened and identified as appropriate for arbitration shall be submitted to arbitration in accordance with these rules. (b) Voluntary Arbitration. Any action not subject to mandatory arbitration pursuant to subsections (1), (2), or (3) of paragraph (a) of this rule may be submitted to arbitration on written stipulation of all parties filed with the civil division manager. (c) Removal From Arbitration. An action assigned to arbitration may be removed therefrom as follows: (1) Prior to the notice of the scheduling of the case for arbitration or within 15 days thereafter, the case may be removed from arbitration upon submission to the arbitration administrator of a certification stating with specificity that the controversy involves novel legal or unusually complex factual issues or is otherwise ineligible for arbitration pursuant to paragraph (a). A copy of this certification must be provided to all other parties. A party who objects to removal shall so notify the arbitration administrator within ten days after the receipt of the certification, and the matter will then be referred to a judge for determination. The arbitration administrator shall, however, remove the case from arbitration if no objection is made and the reasons for removal certified to are sufficient. The failure of a prior court-ordered mediation may be considered a sufficient reason for removal. Altogether, these procedures may take from 12 months to several years, and your patience may be sorely tried during this time. However, it has been our experience that clients who are forewarned have a much higher tolerance level for the slowly turning wheels of justice. CONCLUSION If a lawsuit is filed, immediately schedule a consultation with an attorney. Our office represents parties in Civil Litigation cases. If facing a lawsuit, immediately schedule an appointment with a civil attorney. Don't rely on a real estate attorney, public defender or a family member who took a law class in school. When your life and business is on the line, hire the best attorney available.
KENNETH VERCAMMEN & ASSOCIATES, PC ATTORNEY AT LAW 2053 Woodbridge Ave. Edison, NJ 08817 (Phone) 732-572-0500 (Fax) 732-572-0030 TRIAL AND LITIGATION EXPERIENCE
In his private practice, he has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He appears in Courts throughout New Jersey several times each week on many personal injury matters, Criminal and Municipal/ traffic Court trials, Probate hearings, and contested administrative law hearings. Mr. Vercammen served as the Prosecutor for the Township of Cranbury, Middlesex County and was involved in trials on a weekly basis. He also argued all pre-trial motions and post-trial applications on behalf of the State of New Jersey. He has also served as a Special Acting Prosecutor in Woodbridge, Perth Amboy, Hightstown, Carteret, East Brunswick, Jamesburg, South Brunswick, South River and South Plainfield for conflict cases. Since 1989, he has personally handled hundreds of criminal and motor vehicle matters as a Prosecutor and now as defense counsel and has had substantial success. Previously, Mr. Vercammen was Public Defender for the Township of Edison and Borough of Metuchen and a Designated Counsel for the Middlesex County Public Defender's Office. He represented indigent individuals facing consequences of magnitude. He was in Court trying cases and making motions in difficult criminal and DWI matters. Every case he personally handled and prepared. His resume sets forth the numerous bar associations and activities which demonstrate his commitment to the legal profession and providing quality representation to clients. Since 1985, his primary concentration has been on litigation matters. Mr. Vercammen gained other legal experiences as the Confidential Law Clerk to the Court of Appeals of Maryland (Supreme Court) with the Delaware County, PA District Attorney Office handling Probable Cause Hearings, Middlesex County Probation Department as a Probation Officer, and an Executive Assistant to Scranton District Magistrate, Thomas Hart, in Scranton, PA.