Notice of New Address & the Tax Collector
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Naughton v. Warren County
Plaintiffs were owners of real property in the Town of Chester (Town), New York. Plaintiffs then lived in New Jersey, and their address there appeared on the deed. Plaintiffs subsequently moved without informing the Town taxing authorities of their new address. After Plaintiffs failed to pay taxes on their New York property for three years, Plaintiffs defaulted in a foreclosure proceeding brought by the County on their New York property. The property was later sold.
Plaintiffs subsequently sued the County, asserting that the attempts to give them notice of the foreclosure were constitutionally inadequate and seeking a declaration that they still owned the property.
Supreme Court granted the County’s motion for summary judgment, and the Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) when notice mail to Plaintiffs at their last known address proved undeliverable, the tax collector was not constitutionally required to find some means of making personal service on them, or to address a notice to “occupant” at the former address, or to search New Jersey public records for a new address; and (2) therefore, Plaintiffs were not deprived of their property without due process of law.