Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Howard, 012121 NJSUP, A-0658-19T3

Docket NºA-0658-19T3
Opinion JudgePER CURIAM
Party NameWELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., Plaintiff-Respondent, v. MARVIN HOWARD, Defendant-Appellant, and MRS. MARVIN HOWARD, His Wife, PAMELA S. HOWARD, LANCASTER MORTGAGE BANKERS, LLC, and STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Defendants.
AttorneyMarvin Howard, appellant pro se. Reed Smith, LLP, attorneys for respondent (Henry F. Reichner, of counsel and on the brief).
Judge PanelBefore Judges Hoffman and Smith.
Case DateJanuary 21, 2021
CourtSuperior Court of New Jersey

WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., Plaintiff-Respondent,

v.

MARVIN HOWARD, Defendant-Appellant,

and

MRS. MARVIN HOWARD, His Wife, PAMELA S. HOWARD, LANCASTER MORTGAGE BANKERS, LLC, and STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Defendants.

No. A-0658-19T3

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

January 21, 2021

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted December 14, 2020

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Essex County, Docket No. F-025273-17.

Marvin Howard, appellant pro se.

Reed Smith, LLP, attorneys for respondent (Henry F. Reichner, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Hoffman and Smith.

PER CURIAM

Pro se defendant1 Marvin Howard appeals from the September 30, 2019 Chancery Division order, which denied his motion to vacate a July 9, 2019 sheriff's sale and confirmed the sale as valid. We affirm.

On August 5, 2005, defendant executed a note in the amount of $200, 000 in favor of Lancaster Mortgage Bankers. On the same date, defendant and his wife, Pamela S. Howard, secured the debt by executing a mortgage on the property located at 13-15 Melville Place (the property) in Irvington. The mortgage was recorded on August 26, 2005. Lancaster Mortgage Bankers later assigned the mortgage to plaintiff Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (Wells Fargo). Plaintiff recorded the assignment on April 25, 2017.

On November 7, 2017, plaintiff filed a foreclosure complaint, alleging the loan to be in default due to defendant's failure to make installment payments since May 1, 2017. After defendant did not file an answer or otherwise respond to the complaint, on April 13, 2018, plaintiff requested the clerk enter the default. On August 14, 2018, plaintiff moved for entry of final judgment, and on September 5, 2018, the Chancery Division granted the motion.

A sheriff's sale was scheduled for January 8, 2019, but adjourned due to defendant filing for bankruptcy. The sale was ultimately rescheduled for July 9, 2019, and on that date, the property sold for $140, 000 to a third-party buyer identified as 13-15 Melville LLC.

Six days later, on July 15, 2019, defendant, making his first appearance in this action, filed a pro se motion objecting to the sheriff's sale, pursuant to Rule 4:65-5. Defendant's motion challenged the validity of the sheriff's sale and sought "an Order by Court to confirm the foreclosure sale supported by a Sheriff's Report of Sale[.]"

On September 30, 2019, the motion judge denied defendant's motion and ordered the "sale shall remain valid and in full force and effect[.]" In his written opinion accompanying the order, the judge first noted defendant's apparent failure to notify the third-party buyer of his motion, which Rule 4:65-5 requires. Addressing the merits of defendant's objection, the judge rejected defendant's two arguments 1) "that the sheriff's sale . . . should be vacated because there is nothing in the court records confirming the sale[, ]" and 2) "that his motion is meant to 'maintain the integrity of the process to assure the sale was fairly conducted.'" The judge explained, [D]efendant has not presented any legal authority that requires the generation of court records in confirmation of a valid Sheriff's sale . . . . [D]efendant does not produce any argument or information that indicates the sale wasn't fairly conducted. Rather the substance of defendant's motion essentially challenges the plaintiff and the sheriff to provide evidence of a fairly conducted Sheriff's sale. However, it is the defendant's burden to demonstrate such an issue with the sale. There is no burden on the plaintiff or the sheriff to demonstrate the validity of the sale. This is particularly true in this instance where the defendant fails to articulate any specific...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP