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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 Mark Morfopoulos
Restricting a tenant’s right to transfer the property it is leasing to a third party is a key component to any lease. Many lenders require landlords to obtain lender consent before the transfer is effective. Failure to obtain such consent could lead to a landlord’s default under the terms and conditions of the loan documents, so it is imperative for a landlord to review its loan documents each time it receives a request from a tenant to transfer its interest under the lease.
By Natalie Dolce
Welcome to the evolving world of retail — a world that is geared toward changing the way people engage in retail and retail destinations feature a blend of entertainment, experiences and services.
By Jonathan B. King
The growing interest in alternative fuel sources may be a boon for property owners seeking new ways to generate profits and savings. But care should be taken when a roof is the proposed site of a solar-panel installation, whether managed by a property owner or by a lessee.
Option to Buy Is Exercised, and ‘Tenant’ Is No Longer a Tenant