On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Burlington County, Docket No. F-25128-09.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued January 23, 2012 -
Before Judges Parrillo and Grall.
Plaintiff Wells Fargo Bank, NA holds a mortgage on residential property in Mount Laurel that defendant Pamela Jane Miller inherited from her mother. Plaintiff filed a complaint to foreclose, and on April 30, 2010, the trial court granted plaintiff summary judgment, struck defendant's answer and transferred the matter to the foreclosure unit for further proceedings as an uncontested case. Defendant filed a timely motion for reconsideration of that order, which the court denied on November 29, 2010. Defendant appeals from that order only.
Neither the April 30 nor the November 29, 2010 order is a final order appealable as of right pursuant to Rule 2:2-3a. "In real estate foreclosure actions, 'the final judgment . . . fixes the amount due under the mortgage and directs the sale of the real estate to raise funds to satisfy the amount due.'" Wells Fargo Bank, NA v. Garner, 416 N.J. Super. 520, 523 (App. Div. 2010) (quoting Eisen v. Kostakos, 116 N.J. Super. 358, 365 (App. Div. 1971)).
Although we have discretion to grant leave to appeal from a order that is not final in the interest of justice, R. 2:2-4, and have done so when "the appeal raises an important question in the mortgage field that has not specifically been dealt with in New Jersey by an appellate court," Eisen, supra, 116 N.J. Super. at 366, that discretion is exercised sparingly to avoid piecemeal review of trial court proceedings. Brundage v. Estate of Carambio, 195 N.J. 575, 599 (2008); State v. Reldan, 100 N.J. 187, 205 (1985); Wells Fargo Bank, NA, supra, 416 N.J. Super. at 524.
We decline to exercise our discretion to grant interlocutory appeal as within time. R. 2:4-4b; R. 2:5-6a. Defendant's claim of error relates to her assertion about the relevance of an oral agreement to modify the mortgage to the fairness of plaintiff proceeding with the foreclosure action. At oral argument on this appeal, the parties indicated that they were negotiating a global settlement of their dispute, and for that reason, we agreed to hold our opinion for a specified period and subsequently extended that period. The parties have informally asked for additional time, but given that the appeal is not properly before us, we see no justification for further delay or exercise of our discretion to grant leave to appeal as if defendant moved for that relief within in time. Dismissal of this interlocutory appeal will afford the parties an opportunity to reach an amicable resolution. Consequently, it is not at all clear that a resolution of the interlocutory order would serve the interests of justice.
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