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Parties in complex commercial cases that are accused of defaulting on or breaching a contract may invoke the defense of impossibility, arguing that performance of contractual obligations was rendered impossible by an intervening event. Under New York law, those arguments rarely make it past the motion stage. Courts apply the doctrine narrowly, only to executory contracts and only where the intervening event was both unforeseeable and destroyed either the contract’s subject matter or the means of performance. The related doctrine of frustration of purpose may apply more broadly, but only where it would make little sense to perform on a contract because of an intervening event. The narrowness of these doctrines — and their questionable utility for litigators — underscores the importance of striving during the contract drafting process to include contingency clauses providing for foreseeable possibilities and language making clear the contract’s purpose.
By Carol A. Sigmond
New York City is seeing an upsurge of deed theft. Attorneys, architects, title companies, real estate brokers, agents, contractors, developers and construction managers need to be alert to this potential issue when blocks of properties are assembled for development in these neighborhoods.
By Erika Morphy
For all intents, 2019 has been good for commercial real estate. 2020, at least for the first half, promises much of the same. That is not to say that the CRE environment will be stagnant; as always there will be changes. Some of these will be subtle while others may well be more ground shaking — and likely due to outside circumstances.
By Jacqueline Greenberg Vogt
In the aftermath of recent construction disasters leading to catastrophic failures and loss of life, the concept of peer review has taken on an entirely new significance. A comprehensive plan and specification peer review is an effective risk management strategy for ensuring quality construction.
By Kelsi Maree Borland
Entertainment and experience has become the cornerstone of retail survival in the wake of increasing online shopping. Now, top brands are starting to incorporate entertainment experiences into select markets to bush the boundaries of the traditional retail structure.