Abdi v. Loonam, 112117 NJSUP, A-0397-15T1
|Opinion Judge:||PER CURIAM|
|Party Name:||ALI ABDI and EMAMIAN ABDI, Plaintiffs, v. JOSEPH LOONAM and DANIELLE LOONAM, Defendants. JOSEPH LOONAM and DANIELLE LOONAM, Plaintiffs-Respondents, v. ALI ABDI and EMAMIAN ABDI a/k/a EFFAT S. EMAMIAN, Defendants-Appellants.|
|Attorney:||Ali Abdi, appellant, argued the cause pro se. Edward J. Bowen argued the cause for respondents.|
|Judge Panel:||Before Judges Fuentes, Manahan and Suter.|
|Case Date:||November 21, 2017|
|Court:||Superior Court of New Jersey|
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued November 1, 2017
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Docket Nos. L-9477-13 and L-2620-14.
Ali Abdi, appellant, argued the cause pro se.
Edward J. Bowen argued the cause for respondents.
Before Judges Fuentes, Manahan and Suter.
Appellants Ali and Emamian Abdi (the Abdis) appeal from a judgment of the Law Division awarding respondents Joseph and Danielle Loonam (the Loonams) damages based upon a failure to return a security deposit and for payment of their counsel fees per N.J.S.A. 46:8-21.4. We affirm for the reasons set forth in the thoughtful, well-reasoned oral opinion of Judge Mary F. Thurber. As we write for the parties who are familiar with the procedural and factual history, we add only the following.
This case arises from an action initially filed in the Special Civil Part by the Loonams seeking the return of their security deposit based upon the termination of their tenancy of a single-family residence owned by the Abdis. Thereafter, the Abdis filed an answer and counterclaim, which sought compensation for numerous claims of damage to the property. The Abdis also sought removal of the matter to the Law Division and, after denial, filed complaints based upon the same matters in dispute in the Special Civil Part and in the Law Division. Ultimately, all actions were consolidated and a bench trial was held over six days before Judge Thurber. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge entered judgment in favor of the Loonams for the return of the security deposit, less certain property damage amounts. In accord with the applicable statute, the judge doubled the net amount improperly withheld and awarded statutory counsel fees in favor of the Loonams.
On appeal, the Abdis raise...
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