VOLUNTARY DISCONTINUANCES OF PRIOR FORECLOSURE ACTIONS AND THE RELATED CORRESPONDENCE DID NOT UNAMBIGUOUSLY DE-ACCELERATE THE DEBT; THEREFORE THE FORECLOSURE ACTION IS TIME-BARRED; TWO-JUSTICE DISSENT ARGUED THE CORRESPONDENCE DE-ACCELERATED THE DEBT (THIRD DEPT).
The Third Department, reversing Supreme Court, over a two-justice dissent, determined the foreclosure action was time-barred. The initial foreclosure action was in 2010. That action was discontinued and the mortgage was subsequently assigned three times. After a second discontinuance, the third foreclosure action was commenced in 2017. The majority concluded that the discontinuances and related correspondence did not de-accelerate the debt, so the statute of limitations kept running from the initial action in 2010. The dissenters argued the debt had been de-accelerated by correspondence with the defendant:
… [T]he voluntary discontinuance of the first two actions, without more, did not constitute an affirmative revocation of the initial acceleration of the debt … . That is particularly so because plaintiff’s predecessors in interest moved to discontinue each action due to title concerns, without addressing the prospect of revoking the acceleration and resuming installment payments … . * * *
[The plaintiffs’] letters do not indicate a clear and unambiguous return to an installment payment plan and, for all practical purposes, do not actually evidence any real intent to de-accelerate the loan. In effect, “plaintiff simply put defendant[s] on notice of its obligation to cure a . . . default and then promptly embarked on the notices required to initiate a [third] foreclosure action” … . In our view, these notices do not constitute affirmative actions to de-accelerate the mortgage … . U.S. Bank Natl. Assn. v Creative Encounters LLC, 2020 NY Slip Op 02844, Third Dept 5-14-20