NY Commercial Division Blog

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Patterson Belknap’s Commercial Division Blog covers developments related to practice and case law in the Commercial Division of the New York State Supreme Court.  The Commercial Division was formed in 1993 to enhance the quality of judicial adjudication and to improve efficiency in the case management of commercial disputes that are litigated in New York State courts. Since then, the Division has become a leading venue for judicial resolution of high-stakes and every-day commercial disputes.  This Blog reviews key developments in the Commercial Division, including important decisions handed down by the Commercial Division, appellate court decisions reviewing Commercial Division decisions, and changes and proposed changes to Commercial Division rules and practices.  Our aim is to provide you with thoughtful and succinct analysis of these issues.  The Blog is written by experienced commercial litigators who have substantial practices in the Commercial Division. It is edited and managed by Stephen P. Younger and Muhammad U. Faridi.

Commercial Division Rejects Collateral Promise Argument as a Basis for a Fraudulent Inducement Claim

In a recent decision, Justice Anil Singh of the Commercial Division dismissed a counterclaim asserted by Visa against Wal-Mart for fraudulent inducement.  According to Justice Singh, Visa’s allegations failed to satisfy the collateral promise rule as its fraud claim did not concern misrepresentations of present material fact that were collateral to the contract.  Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Visa U.S.A. Inc., No. 652530/2016, 2017 BL 65006 (Sup. Ct. Feb. 27, 2017).

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Commercial Division Disqualifies Attorney Acting in a Dual Role Pursuant to Advocate-Witness Rule

In a recent decision, Justice Lawrence S. Knipel in the Commercial Division ordered an attorney to comply with a non-party subpoena and disqualified the same attorney from representing her client in the action pursuant to the Advocate-Witness Rule of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct due to the fact that the lawyer was likely to be a witness on a significant issue of fact in the case.  Vanderbilt Brookland LLC v. Vanderbilt Myrtle Inc., No. 500522/2014, 2016 BL 433294 (Sup. Ct. Dec. 23 2016).   

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Impeding the Counterparty’s Ability to Satisfy a Condition Precedent Could Result in Liability

Justice Jeffrey K. Oing in the Commercial Division handed down a decision recently that discusses frustration of the occurrence of a condition precedent by parties to commercial contracts.  Nesconset ZJ 1 v. Nesconset Acquisition, LLC, No. 652719/2015, 2016 BL 339908 (Sup. Ct. Oct. 4. 2016).  The dispute in Nesconset involved agreements between buyers and sellers of nursing homes and related health care facilities.  The main issue in the case was whether the buyers could seek specific performance of the sales contract when the sellers’ conduct allegedly frustrated the satisfaction of condition precedents to the contract.  Justice Oing held that a seller who frustrates the buyer’s ability to satisfy a condition precedent will be unable to rely on the failure to satisfy that condition as justification to avoid the contract and will be subject to a claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

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