August 19, 2011
AMBOY NATIONAL BANK, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
556 FIRST STREET, LLC, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Hudson County, Docket No. F-6155-07.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted: March 14, 2011
Before Judges A.A. Rodriguez, C.L. Miniman and LeWinn.
Defendant 556 First Street, LLC, appeals from two orders, one entered on July 23, 2009, and the other entered on July 30, 2009. The July 23 order denied defendant's motion to vacate the final judgment of foreclosure in favor of plaintiff Amboy National Bank, dismiss its complaint, and set aside the sheriff's sale. That order permitted plaintiff to proceed with the foreclosure and the sheriff's sale scheduled for July 23, 2009, unless defendant posted a $2 million bond in plaintiff's favor prior to the date or unless the court determined that good cause existed for more time. The July 30 order adjourned the sale of the property to August 6, 2009, and extended the time to post the bond to that date at 10:00 a.m. The order further provided that "[t]here shall be no further adjournments of the [s]heriff's [s]ale" and prohibited defendant and its members from making further motions or applications in this matter. This appeal followed.
Defendant has raised a number of issues under the Fair Foreclosure Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:50-53 to -68, which the Legislature enacted because "homeowners should be given every opportunity to pay their home mortgages, and thus keep their homes." N.J.S.A. 2A:50-54. In addition to responding to the merits of the issues raised by defendant, plaintiff contends that this appeal is moot.
The property was sold at sheriff's sale on August 6, 2009, to plaintiff. Plaintiff assigned its bid to G.S. Realty Corp. On August 13, 2009, the sheriff delivered a deed to the property to G.S. Realty Corp. We had dismissed this appeal on July 6, 2010, and it was not reinstated until September 30, 2010. In the meantime, on August 5, 2010, G.S. Realty Corp. sold the property to The Jewish Center/Beis Menachem of Hoboken in an arms-length transaction. The latter is a bona fide third-party purchaser for value. Defendant has not responded to this argument and has not disputed the fact of the sale to a third party.
"An issue is moot when the decision sought in a matter, when rendered, can have no practical effect on the existing controversy." Greenfield v. N.J. Dep't of Corr., 382 N.J. Super. 254, 257-58 (App. Div. 2006) (internal quotation marks omitted). Because the property has already been sold to a bona fide third-party purchaser, any decision we might make with respect to the issues raised under the Fair Foreclosure Act would have no practical effect on the controversy respecting the foreclosure and sale of the property. Thus, the issues presented here are moot.
In any event, we note that defendant is not a natural-person debtor in residence and, thus, the mortgage was not a "residential mortgage" subject to the strictures of the Fair Foreclosure Act. See N.J.S.A. 2A:50-55 ("'Residential mortgage' means a mortgage . . . in which the security is a residential property . . . which is occupied . . . by the debtor, who is a natural person, . . . as that person's residence."). After carefully reviewing the record in the light of the written arguments advanced by the parties, we conclude that the issues presented by defendant are without sufficient merit to warrant extensive discussion in this opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).
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