An opinion recently rendered by the Appellate Division points out the necessity of submitting proper paperwork on motions, particularly post-judgment motions. The opinion in Palombi v. Palombi arises in the context of the denial by the motion judge to grant oral argument on motions. Oral argument is generally favored in New Jersey because by providing a platform in addition to the submitted papers with which a party may fully and completely present his or her case, it gives the court an opportunity to better flush out the issues and articulate the positions of the parties. Typically at oral argument, stipulations can be reached as to certain facts or various issues, thus leaving the court with a more focused understanding of the more important issues to be decided.
Some history of oral argument of motions is in order. In long years past, all motions in New Jersey were argued. Rarely was a motion decided in any other way, i.e., on the papers, without oral argument of counsel. However, as the court system became busier, many judges routinely denied requests for oral argument. The tension between the courts and lawyers caused by lawyers’ desires for oral argument and the courts’ desires for more expeditious methods of resolutions of issues was thought to be resolved when the rules were amended years ago to provide that in exercising discretion as to whether or not to grant oral argument, ordinarilysubstantive and non-routine discovery motions should be orally argued, and calendar and routine discovery motions should not.