New York’s Second Department Appellate Division recently held that the purchasers of a property were bona fide purchasers for value despite the filing of a notice of pendency on the property because of the death of the prior owner. See Caldara v. Monti, 165 A.D.3d 1219 (2d Dept. 2018). Plaintiff brought an action against the decedent in 2015 in which he sought specific performance of a real estate contract. He also filed a notice of pendency against the property. Unbeknownst to him, however, the decedent died in 2014. Later in 2015, the executrix of the decedent’s estate sold the property to the defendants. Upon learning of the decedent’s death and the sale, plaintiff brought this action against the defendants and filed a new notice of pendency. The defendants moved to dismiss, and the trial court granted the motion.
On appeal, the Second Department affirmed. It found that the 2015 action and the notice of pendency were legal nullities because the decedent had died before they were filed. Therefore, the defendants “were bona fide purchasers for value of the subject property since neither the prior action nor the 2015 notice of pendency provided [them] with ‘knowledge of facts that would lead a reasonably prudent purchaser to make inquiry.’” Accordingly, the action was properly dismissed.