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202 N.J. 415 (2010)



This case involved a construction project wherein the contractor filed an action seeking damages from the condominium association regarding certain unpaid fees allegedly owed to the contractor for completed construction work.  The condominium association filed a third-party complaint against the engineering firm, alleging the engineering firm performed incomplete and defective design work in connection with the project.  When no affidavit of merit was served within 120 days of engineering firm's filing of it answer to the third-party complaint, the engineering firm a motion to dismiss the third-party complaint pursuant to the affidavit of merit statute.


The Superior Court, Law Division granted the motion.  The condominium association moved for leave to appeal, which the Superior Court, Appellate Division, denied. However, the Supreme Court granted leave to appeal and summarily remanded the matter to the Superior Court, Appellate Division. The Superior Court, Appellate Division, at 406 N.J.Super. 568, 968 A.2d 752, affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded the matter to the Law Division.


The condominium association petitioned for the Supreme Court for certification, which was granted.  The Supreme Court held that: (1) failure to hold a conference pursuant to Ferreira v. Rancocas Orthopedic Associates did not toll the statutory time frames for filing affidavit of merit in action alleging professional malpractice, abrogating Saunders ex rel. Saunders v. Capital Health Sys., 398 N.J.Super. 500, 942 A.2d 142, and (2) confusion over the effects of failure to hold a Ferreira conference amounted to extraordinary circumstance that warranted relief from dismissal.

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