Westchester Commercial Division Blog

Insight and Analysis for Business Litigation in Westchester County, New York

Latest from Westchester Commercial Division Blog

Sometimes, based on the nature of an action, plaintiffs wish to present their case to a jury and file a demand for one with the court. If the defendants oppose, they can move to strike the demand pursuant to CPLR 4101. This was the subject of a recent decision by Westchester Commercial Division Justice Linda Jamieson in Hanover v. Palazzolo, Index No. 54643/2018. This was the second case between the parties. In the first case,…
Defendants usually make a CPLR 3211 motion to dismiss at the outset of the case and file it together with a Request for Judicial Intervention (RJI).  In that situation, a defendant can simply file the motion without contacting the court in advance.  When a defendant makes a later motion to dismiss, though, it is best to check the rules, because you may have to first request a conference. On November 14, 2019, in Dwyer v.…
Although contracts are to be construed in accordance with the parties’ intent, in New York, it is firmly established that the best evidence of what parties intend is what they say in writing. This rule is applied with special force when the agreement is negotiated at arm’s length or by sophisticated business people. Sometimes, parties dispute the meaning of a contract’s terms and litigation over their intent and the alleged ambiguity ensues. This was the…
A recent decision by the Honorable Linda S. Jamieson again demonstrates that the Justices of the Westchester Commercial Division will not decide matters on procedural technicalities, and usually will go out of their way to decide a case on the merits. The matter involved service of process, and an apparent default in appearance. First, some background. In New York, the easiest way to serve a summons on an entity is usually by serving the Secretary…
We’ve previously written about how judges in the Westchester Commercial Division will dismiss cases in which the contract at issue contains a forum selection clause requiring the parties to resolve their dispute elsewhere. On September 10, 2019, Justice Linda Jamieson issued another decision doing just that. Satin v. 1-800 NY Bulbs Limited, Index No. 63512/2018, concerned the sale of defendant 1-800 NY Bulbs Limited (“Bulbs”). A Stock Purchase Agreement (“SPA”), among defendant Tarsier Ltd., plaintiff…
Sometimes, companies want employees to think like owners, and for good reason. With a vested interest in their work and the team’s success, employees are more motivated to perform at the highest level. They also focus on what’s best for the business rather than just themselves. But firing an employee with “skin in the game” can be a mess, as was the case in Dwyer v. Avo Construction LLC, Index No. 53784/2019. In 2014, Avo…
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.…