The opinion of the court was delivered by: COOLAHAN
The not uncommon quest for lien priority has, at times, been a setting for the interplay of jurisprudential reasoning involving the reconciliation of the scope of authority shared by the state and federal government in their respective roles as sovereign states. The present case presents such a situation and raises issues within a framework of conflicting laws promulgated by diverse sovereigns. The facts, unlike the legal arguments involved, are not in dispute.
On March 7, 1967 Government Service Administration (G.S.A.), an agency of the United States Government, conducted a sealed bid sale of property which had previously been condemned and was, at that time, owned by the United States. The property in question is river front acreage located in the Hudson County, New Jersey municipalities of Hoboken and Weehawken. Supermarine, Inc., (Supermarine) was the low bidder. A purchase price of $500,000 was agreed upon, $100,000 to be paid in cash and $400,000 to be paid quarterly over a ten year period. G.S.A. took back a purchase money mortgage to secure Supermarine's note in the amount of $400,000. Yervant Maxudian signed the note individually and as president of Supermarine, Inc. Title closing took place on May 21, 1969 and on the following day the mortgage was duly recorded in the office of the Hudson County Register.
Supermarine, from the outset, had difficulty in making the agreed upon quarterly payments. Despite the defaults, G.S.A. granted a moratorium on principal payments from November 22, 1969 to February 21, 1971. No payments were made on the debt during this period. Consequently, G.S.A. elected, pursuant to the mortgage terms, to have the entire indebtedness become due and payable. On October 3, 1971 the United States filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, seeking the following:
Wherefore, plaintiff demands judgment:
(a) Fixing the amount due on its mortgage.
(b) Barring and foreclosing the defendants and each of them from all equity of redemption in and to said lands and premises.
(c) Directing that plaintiff be paid the amount due on its mortgage with interest and costs.
(d) Decreeing that said lands and premises be sold according to law to satisfy the amount due plaintiff.
(e) Appointing a receiver of rents, issues and profits, if necessary, of said lands and premises.
(f) For an order granting possession of the premises to the plaintiff.
(g) For a judgment on the deficiency which may result from this foreclosure action.
(h) For such further relief as the Court may deem equitable and proper.
In addition to the defaults as to interest payments, the complaint also alleges as elements of default a) permitting a policy of insurance in favor of the United States to lapse and b) failure to pay real estate taxes. Because of the possibility that local tax liens against the property may exist the State of New Jersey and the municipalities of Hoboken and Weehawken were also ...