On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Ocean County.
Botter, Polow and Brody. The opinion of the court was delivered by Brody, J.A.D.
N.J.S.A. 12A:7-210(2) lays down the requirements for conducting a warehouseman's lien sale of goods other than goods stored by a merchant in the course of his business. At issue on appeal is the validity of defendant warehouseman's sale of plaintiffs' household belongings conducted in substantial but not literal compliance with the statute.
In June 1976 plaintiffs stored their household goods, insured in the amount of $12,150, with defendant's business predecessor. Defendant sent plaintiffs the following letter dated April 3, 1980:
Per your phone conversation with Ansel Spada [defendant's executive vice president] on this date we will be expecting payment of $5,500.00 on April 8, 1980 or your household goods will be placed for sale on April 12, 1980.
Please be advised that your current storage bill is now $6,316.88.
The expected payment was not made and defendant sold the goods on April 12 for about $5,200. Prior to sale, defendant ran a newspaper display advertisement on April 6 and 11 announcing that it would be selling home furnishings at a warehouseman's lien sale on April 12 at defendant's address in Parsippany.
N.J.S.A. 12A:7-210(2) reads as follows:
(2) A warehouseman's lien on goods other than goods stored by a merchant in the course of his business may be enforced only as follows:
(a) All persons known to claim an interest in the goods must be notified.
(b) The notification must be delivered in person or sent by registered letter to the last known address of any person to be notified.
(c) The notification must include an itemized statement of the claim, a description of the goods subject to the lien, a demand for payment within a specified time not less than ten days after receipt of the notification, and a conspicuous statement that unless the claim is paid within that time the goods ...