NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION This opinion shall not "constitute precedent or be binding upon any court." Although it is posted on the internet, this opinion is binding only on the parties in the case and its use in other cases is limited. R. 1:36-3. SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION DOCKET NO. A-3572-15T1 DESIGN MANAGEMENT SERVICES, INC., Plaintiff-Respondent, v. BROAD-ATLANTIC ASSOCIATES, LLC, Defendant-Appellant. ___________________________ Argued April 5, 2017 – Decided October 10, 2017 Before Judges Fuentes, Simonelli and Gooden Brown. On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. DC-8050-15. Brian P. Matthews argued the cause for appellant (Reed Smith, LLP, attorneys; Mr. Matthews, of counsel and on the briefs). Fredda Katcoff argued the cause for respondent (Rabner Baumgart Ben-Asher & Nirenberg, PC, attorneys; Ms. Katcoff, on the brief). The opinion of the court was delivered by GOODEN BROWN, J.A.D. This is a book-account collection case arising out of a contract dispute between plaintiff, Design Management Services, Inc., and defendant, Broad-Atlantic Associates, LLC. Plaintiff is a provider of "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" or LEED consulting services. Defendant is an owner of commercial real estate. Defendant contracted with plaintiff for LEED consulting services in connection with defendant's renovation of office space in its property located on Broad Street in Newark. On May 27, 2015, plaintiff filed a complaint against defendant in the Law Division, Special Civil Part, alleging non-payment of three invoices and seeking $8500 in compensatory damages due under the parties' February 12, 2014 contract, as modified by a subsequent agreement entered on September 17, 2014. On August 24, 2015, defendant filed a contesting answer, affirmative defenses and counterclaims for damages in excess of $20,000. In its counterclaims, defendant alleged, among other things, that plaintiff breached the agreement by failing to perform its services "in a timely, proper, complete and professional manner in accordance with the terms of the agreement." Following a bench trial, the trial court dismissed defendant's counterclaims and awarded judgment to plaintiff in the amount of $8500 plus $1500 for travel expenses and $3500 for attorney's fees. A memorializing order was entered on March 4, 2016. 2 A-3572-15T1 Defendant appeals from the March 4, 2016 order, asserting that the court committed various procedural errors that impeded its ability to effectively litigate the matter and pursue its counterclaims. Specifically, defendant asserts the court abused its discretion by: (1) failing to transfer the case to the Law Division since its counterclaims exceeded the jurisdictional limit of the Special Civil Part; (2) accepting plaintiff's belated answer to its counterclaims after the start of trial; (3) failing to dismiss plaintiff's complaint based on plaintiff's failure to provide discovery; and (4) failing to adjourn the trial in the interest of justice. According to defendant, either individually or cumulatively, these errors "essentially deprived [defendant] of its due process right to be heard 'at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.'" Having reviewed the parties' arguments in light ...

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