The Third Department dismissed the appeal as moot. Property which had been validly foreclosed by defendant was transferred to a third party. Plaintiff had brought an action pursuant to Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (RPAPL) Article 15 to determine its rights to a portion of the foreclosed property. Supreme Court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment on its counterclaim for strict foreclosure (RPAPL 1352) and plaintiff appealed. The appeal was deemed moot and dismissed because defendant had a right to transfer the property after Supreme Court’s ruling:
[T]he jurisdiction of this Court extends only to live controversies and, as such, an appeal will be considered moot unless an adjudication of the merits will result in immediate and practical consequences to the parties” … . “Since the ability to transfer clear title is a natural incident of [property] ownership, it follows that when a complaint involving title to or the right to possess and enjoy real property has been dismissed on the merits and there is no outstanding notice of pendency or stay, the property owner has a right to transfer or otherwise dispose of the property unrestricted by the dismissed claim” … . “‘[A] purchaser’s actual knowledge of litigation and a pending appeal is not legally significant and[,] absent a validly recorded notice of pendency, an owner has the ability to transfer clear title'” … .
Here, Supreme Court canceled plaintiff’s notice of pendency and this Court denied his motion for a stay pending appeal. Therefore, defendants had the right to transfer the property when they did, and the purchaser obtained clear title despite its knowledge of the pending appeals. Govel v Trustco Bank, 2020 NY Slip Op 02306, Third Dept 4-16-20