Wells Fargo Bank, NA v Emma, 2018 NY Slip Op 03728 [2d Dept. 2018]

Pursuant to CPLR 1015(a), "[i]f a party dies and the claim for or against him [or her] is not thereby extinguished the court shall order substitution of the proper parties" (emphasis added). "Generally, the death of a party divests a court of jurisdiction to act, and automatically stays proceedings in the action pending the substitution of a personal representative for the decedent" (Neuman v Neumann, 85 AD3d 1138, 1139). Here, the decedent's death did not divest the court of jurisdiction and warrant the imposition of a stay, since the decedent is not a party in this action (see Sample v Temkin, 87 AD3d 686, 687-688). Moreover, since the decedent made an absolute conveyance of all her interest in the property to the defendant and the plaintiff elected not to seek a deficiency judgment against the decedent's estate, the decedent was not a necessary party to the action (see Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Bachmann, 145 AD3d 712, 714; HSBC Bank USA v Ungar Family Realty Corp., 111 AD3d 673). Accordingly, the Supreme Court should have granted that branch of the plaintiff's motion which was to vacate the stay.

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