Articles Posted in New York Court of Appeals

by
There was personal jurisdiction over Defendant - a winery located in Pontevedra, Spain - under New York’s long-arm jurisdiction statute and, consequently, subject matter jurisdiction over the parties’ dispute under N.Y. Bus. Corp. Law 1314(b)(4). Supreme Court denied Defendant’s motion for summary judgment based on lack of personal and subject matter jurisdiction. The Appellate Division reversed, concluding that Defendant was not subject to personal jurisdiction under N.Y. C.P.L.R. 302(a)(1) of New York’s long-arm jurisdiction statute. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the exercise of long-arm jurisdiction over Defendant comported with federal due process because Defendant availed itself of the privilege of conducting business in New York by promoting its wine in the state, soliciting a distributor in the state, and selling wine to that New York-based distributor. View "D&R Global Selections, S.L. v Bodega Olegario Falcon Pineiro" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff appealed from an order of the Appellate Division affirming Supreme Court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s complaint for failure to state a cause of action for fraudulent inducement against Chipotle Mexican Grill and its chief executive officer. As grounds for its decision, the Appellate Division concluded that Plaintiff’s damages were speculative and the facts alleged did not support an inference of calculable damages. The dissent concluded that the case should proceed to discovery to allow Plaintiff to accumulate evidence of a pecuniary loss because the pleading must be construed liberally and damages need not be proven during the pleading stage. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Plaintiff failed to plead a cause of action for fraudulent inducement because he did not allege any out-of-pocket loss and otherwise plead a recoverable harm. View "Connaughton v Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Attorney General filed suit against defendants, two former officers of AIG, under the Martin Act, Gen. Bus. Law art. 23-A, and Executive Law 63(12). On appeal, defendants challenged the availability of equitable relief. The court held that the Attorney General's claims against defendants withstand summary judgment and, therefore, should proceed to trial. The court concluded that the Attorney General may obtain permanent injunctive relief under the Martin Act and Executive Law 63 (12) upon a showing of a reasonable likelihood of a continuing violation based upon the totality of the circumstances. Therefore, the court rejected defendants' argument that the Attorney General must show irreparable harm in order to obtain a permanent injunction. Furthermore, defendants' reliance upon State of New York v Fine - in which the court held that the Attorney General must demonstrate irreparable harm to obtain a preliminary injunction under the Martin Act - is misplaced. Finally, the court concluded that disgorgement is an available remedy under the Martin Act and the Executive Law. Accordingly, the court affirmed the Appellate Division. View "People v Greenberg" on Justia Law

by
Google Inc. and On2 Technologies, Inc. entered into a merger agreement in 2009. Thereafter, Plaintiff brought a class action on behalf of himself and other similarly situated On2 shareholders, alleging that On2’s board of directors had breached its fiduciary duty to its shareholders. Plaintiffs subsequently agreed with One2 and its directors to settle all claims with respect to the merger. After a hearing, Supreme Court found the settlement to be fair and in the best interest of the class members but refused to approve the settlement because it did not afford out-of-state class members of the opportunity to opt out, thereby prohibiting class members from pursuing any individual claims that are separate and apart from the class settlement. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the lower courts properly refused to approve the proposed settlement because the settlement would deprive out-of-state class members of a cognizable property interest. View "Jiannaras v. Alfant" on Justia Law

by
In 2012, Defendant Kenneth Cole proposed a going-private merger of Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. that was subject to approval by both a special committee of independent directors and a majority of the minority shareholders. Several shareholders, including Plaintiff, commenced separate class actions alleging breach of fiduciary duty by Cole and the directors. Although the shareholder vote occurred after an amended complaint was filed, 99.8 percent of the minority shareholders voted in favor of the merger. In the amended complaint, Plaintiff sought a judgment declaring that Cole and the directors had breached the fiduciary duties they owed to the minority shareholders, an award of damages to the class, and a judgment enjoining the merger. Supreme Court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) in reviewing challenges to going-private mergers, New York courts should apply the business judgment rule as long as certain shareholder-protective conditions are present; (2) if those measures are not present, the entire fairness standard should be applied; and (3) applying that standard to this case, the courts below properly determined that Plaintiff’s allegations did not withstand Defendants’ motions to dismiss. View "In re Kenneth Cole Prods., Inc." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff initiated litigation to recover wrongfully diverted and concealed proceeds of a loan agreement, asserting that Defendants conspired to avoid repayment by denying their ownership and control over entities used to conceal converted funds. Before the conclusion of discovery in New York, federal authorities arrested Defendants, charging them with tax evasion and alleging a conspiracy to commit fraud on the New York court by forging documents and suborning perjury. A jury convicted Defendants of tax evasion, and the district court concluded that Defendants had perpetrated fraud on Supreme Court in New York. After Defendants’ sentencing, Plaintiff filed a motion to strike Defendants’ pleadings and for a default judgment. Supreme Court determined that Defendants had perpetrated a fraud on the court and granted the motion. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed in part, holding (1) where a court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, conduct that constitutes fraud on the court, the court may impose sanctions including striking pleadings and entering default judgment against the offending parties; and (2) with one exception, the record supported such sanctions against Defendants. View "CDR Creances S.A.S. v. Cohen" on Justia Law

by
Petitioner was a State employee. Suspecting that Petitioner was submitting false time reports, the State attached a global positioning system (GPS) device to Petitioner's car. After a report by the Inspector General based on evidence obtained from the GPS device, the Commissioner of Labor terminated Petitioner's employment. The appellate division confirmed the Commissioner's determination and dismissed the petition. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) pursuant to People v. Weaver and United States v. Jones, the State's action was a search within the meaning of the State and Federal Constitutions; (2) the search in this case did not require a warrant; but (3) the State failed to demonstrate that the search was reasonable. Remanded. View "Cunningham v. State Dep't of Labor" on Justia Law

by
This case arose from efforts of Verizon New England to collect a judgment awarded in 2009 by the U.S. district court against Global NAPs (GNAPs). Verizon served a restraining notice on GNAPs and companies with which it did business, one of which was Transcom Enhanced Services. Verizon subsequently commenced this special proceeding seeking a turnover of property and debts of the judgment debtor held by Transcom. Supreme Court denied turnover and dismissed the petition with prejudice, concluding that Transcom did not owe any debt to GNAPs and it did not hold property in which GNAPs had any interest. At issue on appeal was whether the at-will, prepayment service agreement between the parties, which lacked any obligation to continue services or a commitment to engage in future dealings, constituted a property interest or debt subject to a N.Y. C.P.L.R. 5222(b) restraining notice. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that, based on the nature of the agreement, the restraining notice was unenforceable. View "Verizon New England, Inc. v Transcom Enhanced Servs., Inc." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff and Defendant formed a partnership by oral agreement. Defendant later withdrew from the venture after Plaintiff refused his demand for majority ownership of the partnership. Plaintiff sued Defendant for breach of contract, claiming that Defendant could not unilaterally terminate his obligations under the agreement. Supreme Court dismissed the complaint, concluding that the complaint failed to allege that the partnership agreement provided for a definite term or a defined objective, and therefore, dissolution was permissible under N.Y. P'ship Law 62(1)(b). The Appellate Division modified by reinstating the breach of contract cause of action, reasoning that the complaint adequately described a definite term and alleged a particular undertaking. The Court of Appeals reversed with directions that the breach of contract cause of action of the complaint be dismissed, holding (1) the complaint did not satisfy the "definite term" element of section 62(1)(b) because it did not set forth a specific or a reasonably certain termination date; and (2) the alleged scheme of anticipated partnership events detailed in the complaint were too amorphous to meet the statutory "particular undertaking" standard for precluding unilateral dissolution of a partnership. View "Gelman v. Buehler" on Justia Law

by
In one agreement, Cammeby's Equity Holdings LLC (Cam Equity) received an option to acquire 99.99 percent of the ownership units of SVCare at the strike price of $100 million. In a second agreement, Cammeby's Funding III LLC (Cam III) agreed to lend $100 million to SVCare. Cam III and Cam Equity were controlled by the same person. In anticipation that Cam Equity would exercise the option, SVCare commenced an action alleging that the option was unenforceable because the consideration underlying its agreement to offer the option was contingent on Cam III loaning it $100 million, which SVCare claimed was never paid. Cam Equity brought a separate lawsuit seeking specific performance of the option agreement. Supreme Court (1) found in in favor of Cam Equity in the first action, concluding that the option and loan were entirely separate agreements and that SVCare could not offer extrinsic evidence regarding the $100 million loan obligation that was not mentioned in the option agreement; and (2) in the second action, determined that Cam III had, in fact, fully funded the $100 million loan to SVCare pursuant to the loan agreement. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the lower court did not err in its judgment. View "Schron v. Troutman Saunders LLP" on Justia Law