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In real estate agency relationships, an agent owes its client, a buyer or seller of property, fiduciary duties, including duties of undivided loyalty, reasonable care, and confidentiality. Due to the increasing number of large brokerage firms, “dual agency” deals have become commonplace. A dual agency occurs when an agent represents the buyer and the seller in the same deal, or, the buyer’s and seller’s agents are employed by the same firm. In New York, dual agency is legal…
There’s a clever saying of murky origin that goes, “if your only tool is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.” It describes the “law of the instrument,” or Maslow’s Hammer, which says that people tend to over-rely on their available and familiar tools, even when they shouldn’t. Well, when you’re looking for a default judgment, service often looks like nail and mail.  And often it shouldn’t look that way. We’ve previously written
New York’s Commercial Division is an attractive forum for parties to litigate disputes over financial transactions. And, because so many transactions flow through New York institutions, aggrieved plaintiffs often believe that the flow of money through the state gives them a hook to sue defendants in New York courts. Often, that is true. But there are limits. Justice Jamieson discussed those limits in de Arata v. Mathison, Index No. 55723/16. In that case, the plaintiff…
In an earlier post, we explained that the Westchester Commercial Division will not grant a motion for a default judgment without reviewing the papers. The Court will first determine whether the plaintiff has made a prima facie showing of its entitlement to a judgment. It is not unusual for the Westchester Commercial Division justices to deny even an unopposed motion for a default on the ground that it is not supported by admissible evidence.…
A recent decision from Westchester Commercial Division Justice Linda Jamieson presents an interesting contrast to a case we discussed in an earlier post. In Prisco v. L’Aquila Realty LLC, Index No. 58654/2018, Petitioner moved to disqualify opposing counsel, who was deposed in the case and certain to be called as a witness at trial. Petitioner argued that, pursuant to Rule 3.7 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, a lawyer cannot be both an…
On June 14, 2019, the New York State Bar Association hosted a breakfast at the Westchester County Courthouse with Justices Linda Jamieson and Gretchen Walsh. This was a great opportunity to hear from Westchester’s Commercial Division judges on various topics, including their expectations of attorneys who appear before them. Here are a handful of important takeaways: Discovery Disputes: The justices expect counsel to abide by Commercial Division Rule 14, which requires good faith negotiations to…
Commercial leases are often complicated, as the stakes are high for each party. A tenant needs the right space to operate its business and a landlord needs reliable tenants to cover its expenses and earn a profit. When tenants cease paying rent and vacate or are evicted, actions by landlords to collect unpaid rent ensue. Sometimes, those actions include claims against a tenant’s principal to enforce a personal guarantee in the lease. That was at…
An easement, or right-of-way, grants someone the right to cross or use another’s property for a specific purpose. But if the holder of the right-of-way exceeds the scope of the easement, he or she may be liable for damages for trespass. That was the case in Julia Properties, LLC v. Levy. In July 2009, plaintiff Julia Properties, LLC, owned by Thomas Decea, entered into a lease with William Morgan, the landlord, to rent property owned…
Sometimes in-house counsel believe they can handle a case better, or more cost-effectively, than outside counsel. And sometimes, they just miss practicing law. Still, it’s better to let outside counsel do the talking…and the questioning. It’s impossible to know what motivated in-house counsel in HH Marina Development LLC v. Tarrytown Boat Club, Inc., Index No. 63137/17, to take a deposition. But it didn’t work out well. The facts are straightforward, but unusual. Under CPLR 3106(d),…
For many, purchasing real estate is a stressful endeavor. It’s further complicated when one attempts to buy distressed property through a short sale, when an owner sells property for less than the mortgage balance. Lenders typically allow short sales to recoup a portion of the loan balance quickly and avoid a lengthy and expensive foreclosure proceeding. Westchester Commercial Division Justice Linda Jamieson granted a short sale buyer a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) and a preliminary…