The Third Department, over a two-justice concurrence, determined the statute of limitations began to run in 2009 when the mortgage debt was accelerated in this foreclosure action and the attempts to subsequently de-accelerate the debt after the death of the defendant, including voluntary discontinuances, were ineffectual. Therefore the action was time-barred:
With respect to the notices of discontinuance in the 2009 and 2013 actions, we note that we, as well as other Appellate Divisions, have held that the voluntary discontinuance of an action, without more, will not generally constitute an affirmative act that revokes a lender’s election to accelerate a debt … . * * *
In the 2009 action, plaintiff filed its notice of voluntary discontinuance roughly 13 months after decedent had passed away, without having sought substitution of a legal representative to act on behalf of decedent’s estate (see CPLR 1021; see also SCPA 1002, 1401, 1402  [b]). Thus, as the action was stayed and there was no substitution of a proper defendant, the notice of voluntary discontinuance filed in the 2009 action was without effect. … As for the notice of discontinuance filed in the 2013 action, plaintiff commenced that action against decedent, despite the fact that she had died more than two years earlier. As a result, the 2013 action was a nullity from its inception and the subsequent notice of voluntary discontinuance was void … .
We similarly find that, under the circumstances of this case, the July 2015 and September 2015 notices did not constitute affirmative acts that would notify decedent’s legal representative that the prior debt acceleration was revoked, that the debt was de-accelerated and that the loan was reinstated to installment payments. Irrespective of the content and substance of the July 2015 and September 2015 notices, plaintiff addressed the notices to decedent, who had been deceased for more than four years, and mailed them to the mortgaged property. The record reflects that the September 2015 letter, which was sent by both regular mail and certified mail, was returned as undeliverable. Beneficial Homeowner Serv. Corp. v Heirs at Large of Ramona E. Thwaits, 2020 NY Slip Op 03709, Third Dept 7-2-20