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Estate’s Claim to Ownership of Cooperative Shares Barred By Three-Year Statue of Limitations

            The estate of a deceased person filed a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment determining that the estate owned a stock certificate representing ownership of a Cooperative apartment. The estate asserted that the Cooperative and two of its officers had wrongfully asserted ownership of the stock certificate.  The estate moved for a preliminary injunction against any sale or transfer of the shares, and the Cooperative cross-moved for summary judgment dismissing the action under the statute of limitations.

The court dismissed the action as untimely.  The applicable statute of limitations was the three-year statute of limitations governing actions for “recovery of a chattel.”  An action to recover a stock certificate is governed by this three-year period, because “[s]hares of stock issued in connection with cooperative apartments are personal property, not real property.”  The Cooperative established that the endorsed stock certificate had been returned to it in exchange for $250 in 2010, so the statute of limitations had expired before this action was commenced in 2016.  Loscalzo v. 507-509 President Street Tenants Ass’n Housing Dev. Fund Corp., 2017 N.Y. Slip Op. 6070 , 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6022 (2d Dep’t Aug. 9, 2017).