Legal Memorandum: Review of a Non-jury Decision in NJ

Issue: In New Jersey, what deference does an appellate court owe to a trial court’s non-jury decision?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Non‑jury civil actions; Findings of fact and conclusions of law
Jurisdiction: New Jersey
Cited Cases: 191 A.2d 61; 65 N.J. 474; 78 N.J. Super. 154; 188 A.2d 43; 40 N.J. 221; 323 A.2d 495
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 11/01/2000

In reviewing a trial court’s conclusions in a non‑jury civil action, the appeals court is bound to grant substantial deference to the trial court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law.   See Rova Farms Resort, Inc. v. Investors Ins. Co., 65 N.J. 474, 483‑84, 323 A.2d 495 (1974).  A trial court’s conclusions should not be disturbed unless the court is "convinced that they are so manifestly unsupported by or inconsistent with the competent, relevant and reasonably credible evidence as to offend the interests of justice."  Id. at 484, 323 A.2d 495 (quoting Fagliarone v. Township of N. Bergen, 78 N.J. Super. 154, 155, 188 A.2d 43 (App. Div.), cert. denied, 40 N.J. 221, 191 A.2d 61 (1963)).


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