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Aames Capital Corporation v. Towns

BER-F-10730-99 (N.J. Super. Ch. Div. 2004) (Unpublished)

FORECLOSURE; SHERIFF’S SALES—Without proof that severe, adverse weather actually kept potential bidders away from a foreclosure sale, the sale will not be set aside by reason of the inclement weather.

The owner of a property sold at Sheriff’s sale contested the sale. He claimed that inclement weather prevented potentially interested parties from attending the sale. The owner submitted as evidence an internet news report of thunderstorms and floods as well as a climatological study for the day in question. He suggested that this study showed that during the two-hour period prior to the sale, almost three inches of rain fell in the area. The owner certified that the extraordinary weather condition posed a danger to anyone “who dared ventured forth in such weather.” Thus, he argued that the court had to conclude that the weather conditions resulted in interested parties being unable to attend the auction.

The power to set aside a foreclosure sale is to be exercised with great care and only when necessary for compelling reasons. There must be a showing of fraud, accident, surprise, mistake or irregularities in the sale. Furthermore, it is the objector who bears the burden of proof to show why the sale should be set aside. The Court held that the owner’s conclusion was speculative. He submitted no evidence about the actual bidding process, how many people attended the sale, and no certification from any interested party that he or she was unable to attend the sale. Consequently, the Court held that there was no proof that the bidding process had been frustrated or that the successful bid represented anything other than a fair value for the property. Therefore, the Court denied the owner’s motion to set aside the sale.

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