She was a model; he was the weatthy owner of a trucking business. She left when he refused to divorce his wife. But he begged her to come back, and they lived togethern in Glen ridge for 25 years until he died - without a will - in 1995. She wound up living on food stamps.

Yesterday, the New Jersey Supreme Court unamimously ruled that Arthur Roccomonte had promised lifteime financial support to Mary Sopko, and his estate must make good on it. The justices sent the case back to a firily division judge to set a lump-sum award to provide for Sopko, now 77 for the rest of her life.

It marked the first time the state's highest court had ruled that an obligation to pay 'palimony" extends beyond the grame. Or, as Sopko's lawyer. Michael J. Breslin Jr., put it: a man who promises to pay palimony " isnt going to escape payments by dying." Joel Seltzer, the lawyer for Roccamonte's heirs, was "disappointed" with the decision, but said it could be a Pyrrhic victory for Sopko. "It's certainly not a $1 million-plus estate" after taxes, Seltzer said. "Quite frankly, there is not a lot left once you get through with estate taxes. But Breslin said he is "very confident" there is enough money to pay the $450,000 that an economist calculated Sopko deserves. "We're going to be very aggressive," he vowed. Seltzer maintained that Roccamonte provided for Sopko, sharing his affulent lifestyle with her and, at his death, leaving her the Glenn Ridge cooperative apartment.

Suit Against priest Over Injuries in Car Accident Settles for $8.75M

Mancini v. Obico: An Ocean county judge on March 26 approved $8 million in settlements on behalf of a minor and a mentally incapacitated man who were part of a group of pedestrians struck by a car, bringing total recoveries to $8.75 million.

Carmelena Mancini, then 7 hears old, was left brain-damaged and blind by the accident on May 14, 2005, and her uncle, James Craven, broke his legs and injured a nerve in his left foot, says plaintiffs' lawyer Michael Breslin, of Hackensack's Breslin & Breslin.

The child, who is in need of 24-hour care, will recover $7.8 million. Her mother and guardian ad litem, Joanne Mancini, receives $200,000 for loss of ther dauthers's services. Craven gets $600,000.

Carmelena's father, Vincent Mancini, accepted $150,000 for a broken left tibia, a torn knee ligament and a lingering limp, says his lawyer, Point Pleasant solo Cornelius Daniel III.

The accident occurred in Fischer Boulevard at Hazelwood Road in Toms River Township at about 9 p.m. The car's drivver was Chrispin Obico, a priest at St. Justin's Roman Catholic Church in Toms River Township. The plaintiffs alleged Obico did not have his headlights on, which he denied, and that he was supposed to wear corrective lenses while driving, which he admitted he did not.

The suit named Obico, St. Justin's and the Diocese of Trenton, The defendants cross-claimed against Vincent mancini, claiming that as the only capable adult present, he was at faule for crossing the busy, four-lane road in the dark where there was no cross-walk or lighting. His carrier is paying %150,000 of Craven's settlement to resolve the counterclaim.

Obico's lawyer, Robert Billmeier, of Backes & Hill in Trenton, did not return a call. Dorine Sirota, of Stephen Gertler's firm in Wall, who defended the counterclaim, confirms the settlement.