Extraordinary Circumstances Legal Definition
A fact-sensitive analysis is necessary in each case to determine what constitutes an extraordinary circumstance.
In Flagg v. Township of Hazlet, 321 N.J. Super. 256, 260, 728 A.2d 847 (App.Div.1999), in an attempt to define the term "extraordinary," the Court looked to Websters 3d New International Dictionary Unabridged 807 (1971).
The Court found that the word "extraordinary," "in common parlance, denotes something unusual or remarkable. the dictionary includes among its definitions of the word: 'exceptional to a very marked extent: most unusual: far from common . . . rarely equal: singular, phenomenal: strikingly impressive . . . having little or no precedent and usually totally unexpected. . . .'"
In Hartsfield v. Fantini, 149 N.J. 611, 616-17, 695 A.2d 259 (1997), the attorney's failure to supervise his secretary and review his diary was not considered an extraordinary circumstance. Id. at 619, 695 A.2d 259; See also:
Wallace v. JFK Hartwyck at Oak Tree, Inc., 149 N.J. 605, 610, 695 A.2d 257 (1997) (concluding that writing the wrong date on a calendar, causing the thirty-day period to be missed, did not qualify as an extraordinary circumstance warranting an extension for the attorney);
Behm v. Ferreira, 286 N.J. Super. 566, 574, 670 A.2d 40 (App.Div.1996) (finding that an attorney's failure to supervise staff is generally insufficient to allow a late demand for a trial de novo);
Hart v. Property Mgmt. Sys., 280 N.J. Super. 145, 147-49, 654 A.2d 1012 (App.Div.), certif. denied, 141 N.J. 99, 660 A.2d 1197 (1995) (holding that extraordinary circumstances did not exist where the associate in the law firm who was present at the arbitration hearing returned the arbitrators' award to the attorney handling the matter, then subsequently left the firm without filing a notice of rejection of the award and demand for trial de novo).