The NJ Appellate Court ruled in my favor. It reversed the orders on appeal and remanded to the trial court for the limited purpose of entering an order consistent with its opinion. The trial court has not yet issued its Order. For purposes of NJ Rule 1:4-8, which Order is the "final judgment"? The Appellate Decision? Or the trial Court Order to be entered upon the instructions from the Appellate Decision? I ask because NJ Rule 1:4-8 requires that a motion for sanctions be filed no later than 20 days following entry of final judgment, and it is already more than 20 days past the Appellate Decision.
You may after the trial court's final order consistent with the Appellate Division's directive is rendered. I'm assuming you already have provided notice to the opposing party at the outset of the litigation that the claim was, in fact, frivolous. I'm also assuming that the Appellate Division's decision affirmed your position as to the lack of merit of the claim.
This question is a bit strange. The reason I say this is that a frivolous claim that would be worthy of sanctions would not have made it to the Appellate Division. If a claim was good enough to win at the trial level and was later reversed on appeal, it is almost certain that it would be deemed not frivolous. Also, if the case is remanded to the same judge that ruled in favor of the other side, it would probably be unprecedented for a judge to rule in favor of a party, but later order them to pay sanctions when the judge's own decision was reversed on appeal. It is possible that one of the claims in the case was frivolous, but if you had to appeal it to get the win, there is almost no possibility of sanctions from the judge that initially ruled against you, unless the Appellate Division directed it in their decision.
More information is needed to answer the questions. Otherwise I agree with my colleagues.
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