December 5, 2017 - The Monmouth County Chancery Court has appointed Donald F. Campbell, Jr., Esq. of Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, P.C., as a Special Master to conduct the foreclosure sale of a farm located in two counties.
In the matter of HSBC Bank USA v. Concetta Swetits, under Docket No. F-35385-09, the mortgage holder, HSBC Bank USA, obtained a final judgment in foreclosure on a property that is situated in both Monmouth and Middlesex Counties. Typically, the Court issues a Writ of Execution that orders a county sheriff to conduct the foreclosure sale. However, when a property is located in two counties, the court cannot issue a writ to one Sheriff or the other. Instead, the case law directs the court to appoint a “Special Master” who is instructed to conduct the sale.
In the above-referenced matter, the subject property consists of approximately 14 acres of farmland, with the eastern portion located in Monmouth County and western portion located in Middlesex County. Because the foreclosed property is situated in two counties, the court ordered that a Special Master be appointed for purposes of conducting the foreclosure sale. In this case, Judge Patricia Del Bueno Cleary, P.J.Ch., appointed Donald F. Campbell, Jr., Esq., of Giordano Halleran & Ciesla, P.C., to act as the Special Master.
As stated, while the county sheriff usually performs the foreclosure sales, a Sheriff’s jurisdiction to do so for a property that is partially located in another county remains unclear. Therefore, “Where the mortgaged premises are in two counties, or where distribution of the proceeds of the sale will be complicated, the writ can be issued to a master or other officer appointed by the court to oversee sale of the property.” Tross, Scott, New Jersey Foreclosure Law & Practice, 13-2 Writ of Execution, p. 317 (2017); In re Rhodes, 100 N.J. Eq. 370, 372 (Ch. 1927) (“the Court of Chancery may issue its writ of fieri facias [predecessor to the writ of execution] to a master as well as to a sheriff, and this is always the practice where land in two counties is to be sold…and also in cases where there is an intricate distribution to be made of the proceeds of sale.”); .
As the court-appointed Special Master, Mr. Campbell is responsible for scheduling the sale, conducting the sale, and governing over the procedures before, during, and after the sale. This includes, but is not limited to, the drafting and publishing of notices, governing adjournments, collecting and holding the proceeds of the sale, and drafting and delivering the deed. In this regard, the Special Master’s duties are very similar to the Sheriff’s Department, as all statutory procedures and protections for the sale of property continue to apply.
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