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Commercial Litigation Contracts Landlord Tenant Law Litigation

Let Freedom (of Contract) Ring: Yellowstone Waivers Are Enforceable

This is the third in a series of articles exploring whether parties to a commercial lease can contractually waive a tenant’s right to seek a Yellowstone injunction. In a recent ruling, the Court of Appeals, in 159 MP Corp. v Redbridge Bedford, LLC, left no doubt that a contractual waiver of a right to seek a declaratory judgment and/or a Yellowstone injunction in a commercial lease is enforceable.

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This is the third in a series of articles exploring whether parties to a commercial lease can contractually waive a tenant’s right to seek a Yellowstone injunction. The first article, “Are Yellowstone Waivers Enforceable?,” NYLJ, April 10, 2014, at 4, col. 1, was written before any appellate authority existed on the issue. Our second article, “As it Turns Out, Yellowstone Waivers Are Enforceable,” 34 NY Real Estate Law Reporter 5 (April, 2018), written four years later, discussed the evolution of the law following the seminal holding in 159 MP Corp. v Redbridge Bedford, LLC, 160 AD3d 176 (2d Dept 2018). (Both prior articles were co-authored by Joshua Kopelowitz and Jeffrey Turkel.) In Redbridge, the Appellate Division Second Department, citing our article, held that parties to a commercial contract are free to limit a tenant’s ability to seek a declaratory judgment and, specifically, a Yellowstone injunction. On May 7, 2019, the Court of Appeals, in 159 MP Corp. v Redbridge Bedford, LLC, 2019 NY Slip Op 03526, affirmed the Second Department’s ruling and reasoning, thereby leaving no doubt that a contractual waiver of a right to seek a declaratory judgment and/or a Yellowstone injunction in a commercial lease is enforceable.

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