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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.
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By Jeffrey Turkel
Legal disputes as to the rent regulated status of an apartment are as old as rent regulation itself. On occasion, landlords and tenants have purported to “agree” in a lease or stipulation as to whether a unit is regulated. This article surveys case law as to how courts treat such agreements.
By Adam Leitman Bailey and Dov Treiman
In a recent decision, the NY Court of Appeals handed down a decision with a new interpretation of the law of liquidated damages with regard to surrender agreements. Trustees of Columbia v. D’Agostino rewrites the rules of when a tenant simply gives up on the space.
By Barbara M. Goodstein
The back-and-forth is certainly confusing, but what is clear is that it can be unclear exactly where the line between real property and personal property should be drawn.
By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys
The prospect of using retail space for law offices is the latest adaptation, in addition to innovations such as hoteling and other forms of shared workspace, that may define law firm offices in the future as the COVID-19 pandemic makes a permanent mark on how firms configure and run their offices.