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Argued November 26, 2001

We directly certified this appeal, 169 N.J. 596 (2001), to resolve a conflict in the Appellate Division in respect of certain provisions governing service of process under our Rules of Court. Plaintiff sent a written notice of its application for wage execution to defendant by certified and regular mail. The post office returned the certified letter, marking it “unclaimed.” The letter sent by regular mail was not returned. Plaintiff submitted the wage execution application to the trial court along with a certification of service specifying that plaintiff had sent the notice to defendant by regular and certified mail to his last known address, and that the certified letter was returned “unclaimed.”

The trial court denied plaintiff’s requested relief, concluding that plaintiff did not satisfy the requirements of Morristown Memorial Hospital v. Tureo, 329 N.J. Super. 154 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 165 N.J. 487 (2000). The Tureo court held that a creditor seeking a post-judgment wage execution must indicate in a proof of service certification that the notice sent by certified mail to the debtor was refused or not accepted before ordinary mail constitutes valid service. Id. at 157. Relying on Tureo, the trial court held that “even though regular mail was not returned, service was not effected. ‘Unclaimed’ is not the same as ‘Refused’ or ‘Not Accepted’.”

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