On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Bergen County, Docket No. F-1480-07.
New Jersey Court of Appeals a5882_09.pdf
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges A. A. Rodriguez and Fasciale.
In this foreclosure case, defendants appeal from a May 14, 2010 order*fn1 denying their motion to vacate a sheriff's sale, stay a deed transfer, and obtain leave to issue a subpoena and conduct discovery; and a July 9, 2010 order that denied both reconsideration and their new motion to vacate default judgment.
In 2005, defendants obtained a mortgage, made payments for approximately one year and four months, and then defaulted. On January 17, 2007, plaintiff filed its foreclosure complaint, and on January 22, 2007, plaintiff served defendants. Defendants failed to answer the complaint. Plaintiff obtained default on March 6, 2007, and default judgment on May 31, 2007. After at least two adjournments, the property was sold at the sheriff's sale on October 30, 2009.
Defendants then filed their motion to vacate the sale, stay a deed transfer, and obtain leave to issue a subpoena and conduct discovery. Defendants argued that plaintiff unfairly denied them the opportunity to conduct a short sale. On May 14, 2010, Judge Ellen Koblitz conducted oral argument, issued an oral opinion, and denied the motion. Judge Koblitz stated:
The defendants complain now that the bank unfairly denied them . . . a short sale; that had the bank cooperated with the short sale when [defendants] first suggested it, [plaintiff] actually would be receiving more money[.]
The defendants had the right to respond to the foreclosure complaint and answer it. They chose not to do so. By their own statements[, defendants] were hoping that there would be a short sale and therefore they felt or decided that it was unnecessary to respond to the complaint.
[Defendants] had the ability to investigate th[e] complaint [three years ago] and [obtain] all the documents that they're now seeking[,] and they chose not to do so.
Defendants filed a timely motion for reconsideration, and sought at the same time to vacate default judgment that had been entered on May 31, 2007, more than three years earlier. The judge issued an oral opinion and stated:
Defendants come seeking reconsideration bringing up a generalized complaint of fraud, as well as a specific complaint with regard to the recording of the assignment. These are issues ...