Commercial Division Blog

Posted: November 21, 2015 / Categories Commercial, Statute of Limitations/Laches, Real Property

Action for Reformation of Deed Time-Barred

On November 18, 2015, the Second Department issued a decision in Lopez v. Lopez, 2015 NY Slip Op. 08389, holding that an action for reformation of a deed was time-barred, explaining:

A cause of action seeking reformation of an instrument on the ground of mistake, including an alleged scrivener's error, is governed by the six-year statute of limitations pursuant to CPLR 213(6), which begins to run on the date the mistake was made. However, a well-recognized exception exists as to one who is in possession of real property under an instrument of title, whereby the statute of limitations never begins to run against his or her right to reform that instrument until he or she has notice of a claim adverse to his or hers under the instrument, or until his or her possession is otherwise disturbed.

Here, the defendants established their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by demonstrating that the alleged scrivener's error occurred on August 8, 2005, and that the plaintiff did not commence this action until February 2013, more than six years after the alleged mistake. In opposition, the plaintiff failed to raise a question of fact as to the applicability of the exception to the statute of limitations based on his alleged possession of real property under an instrument of title. The plaintiff failed to submit any evidence with respect to whether or when he was in possession of the subject property.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted).