NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted September 3, 2013
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Essex County, Docket No. F-23081-09.
Yvonne R. Bowers, Sr., appellant pro se.
The Law Office of Michael A. Alfieri, attorney for respondent (Mr. Alfieri, on the brief).
Before Judges Harris and Fasciale.
Defendant appeals from a May 14, 2012 order denying her motion to dismiss plaintiff's residential foreclosure complaint. The order essentially denied defendant's second motion to vacate a foreclosure judgment and set aside a sheriff's sale. We affirm.
In July 2007, defendant executed a mortgage to Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS), as nominee for Accredited Home Lenders, Inc. (AHL), regarding the property. In January 2009, defendant defaulted on her mortgage payment. In March 2009, defendant remained in default and received a notice of intent to foreclose (NOI). In April 2009, MERS assigned the mortgage to Wachovia Bank, N.A. (Wachovia), defendant failed to cure the default, and Wachovia filed a foreclosure complaint, which defendant ignored.
In June 2009, defendant received a copy of the complaint, and in September 2009, the court entered default. In November 2009, Wachovia's counsel notified defendant that Wachovia would seek a final judgment if defendant remained in default on her mortgage payments. In February 2010, Wachovia filed a motion with the Office of Foreclosure (OOF) for entry of judgment. On November 23, 2010, the OOF granted the motion as unopposed and entered a final judgment.
In December 2010, Wachovia assigned the mortgage to MCM Capital Homeowners Advantage Trust IX (HAT). In June 2011, HAT assigned the mortgage to plaintiff. In August 2011, plaintiff notified defendant about the assignment, and in September 2011, the court permitted plaintiff to amend the complaint to strike Wachovia's name from the caption and add its own name. The Sheriff then scheduled the sheriff's sale for March 26, 2011, but defendant obtained eleven adjournments. In November 2011, the court denied defendant's request to stay the sale and the property was sold.
In December 2011, defendant moved to set aside the sale and vacate the judgment contending, among other things, that she had not been served with the complaint. On March 9, 2012, the court denied defendant's motion, but ordered plaintiff to re-serve the NOI to ensure full compliance with the Fair Foreclosure Act (FFA), N.J.S.A. 2A:50-53 to -73. In March 2012, plaintiff complied with the court order. Thereafter, defendant remained in default on her mortgage payments.
In or around April 2012, defendant filed her second motion to vacate the judgment and set aside the sale. On May 11, 2012, the judge conducted oral argument and issued a lengthy oral decision. On May 14, 2012, the judge ...