8-18-08 State of New Jersey v. Tri-Way Kars, Inc.
We held that a municipal court had no jurisdiction under
N.J.S.A. 56:8-14 to assess a penalty for an alleged Consumer
Fraud Act violation in connection with the sale of a used motor
vehicle because N.J.S.A. 56:8-14 only grants jurisdiction over
penalty enforcement actions.
We also held that the Central Municipal Court of Bergen
County had no jurisdiction under N.J.S.A. 56:8-14.1 to assess
such a penalty because that statute expressly limits
jurisdiction over penalty assessment cases to municipalities
"where the offense was committed or where the defendant may be
found." Here, the offense was committed in South Hackensack
where defendant conducted business and we concluded that this
specific statute trumped the general power of the Assignment
Judge to refer cases to the Central Municipal Court under
Finally, we provided guidance for future actions respecting
the insufficiency of the municipal court "Complaint-Summons SF-1
and SF-2" to adequately provide notice of the essential facts of
a penalty assessment action, as opposed to a penalty enforcement
action where the use of these forms has been approved by the
Administrative Office of the Courts.