Cases are settled with releases, and more and more often, non-parties to the litigation are included in the release along with the parties. Releases will be for the parties, their insurers, their agents, and often, their attorneys. Such was the case in 179-94 ST LLC v Hassan 2022 NY Slip Op 33870(U) November 16, 2022 Supreme Court, New York County
Docket Number: Index No. 155214/2015 Judge: Paul A. Goetz.
“Plaintiff 179-94 ST LLC (179-94 ST) is the owner of real property located at 179 East 94th Street, New York, New York (the building), it purchased from defendant Gago Properties
LLC on October 6, 2014. Plaintiff Michael Kaplan is a member of 179-94 ST and plaintiff Yashar Foundation Inc. is the net lessee of the building. After 179-94 ST purchased the
building, plaintiffs learned that one of the units was occupied by defendant Sania Hassan, who had entered into a 15-year lease with Gago Properties LLC, a month before the sale. As a result, plaintiffs commenced three separate actions related to the sale, claiming, in relevant part, that defendants Gago Properties LLC and Robert Gago (Gago Defendants) and their attorney, defendant Brian Limmer, defrauded plaintiffs by failing to disclose Hassan’ s tenancy in the building and making misrepresentations in connection with the sale. Since then, the three related actions were consolidated into this action and some of the defendants have settled with plaintiffs. ”
“Limmer now moves pursuant to CPLR § 3212 for summary judgment seeking dismissal of the claims asserted against him by 179-94 ST as well as dismissal of the cross-claims for legal malpractice asserted by the Gago Defendants. Plaintiffs Michael Kaplan and Yashar Foundation have not asserted any claims against Limmer.
In support of his motion, Limmer argues that 179-94 ST’ s claims against him are barred by the broad release executed on October 14, 2014, which provides that releasor, 179-94 ST, for the sum of $160,000 and the transfer of the deed, “hereby releases and discharges Gago Properties LLC and Robert Gago, [and] its … attorneys … from all actions, causes of action … from the beginning of the world to the day of the date of this release” (Affm of Keith Roussel dated June 29, 2022, Exh. 31). 179-94 ST argues that despite its broad language, the release does not bar its claims against Limmer because the release was only meant to cover the assignment of the mortgage and the discontinuance of the pending foreclosure action against the property and not any claims arising from the sale of the property. In support, 179-94 ST cites to a contemporaneous email relating to the release as well as affidavits from its principals which explain the intended scope of the release.”
“The plain language of the release is clear and unambiguous and demonstrates the parties’ intent to settle all claims 179-94 ST had or could have against the
Gago Defendants and their agents, including their attorney, Limmer. Thus, because the language of the release is clear and unambiguous on its face, the extrinsic evidence offered by 179-94 ST cannot be examined (Goldberg v. Manufacturers Life Ins. Co., 242 A.D.2d 175, 181 [1 st Dep’t 1998] [“that plaintiffs now profess their subjective intention was not to surrender any rights under policy 2 does not defeat enforcement of the clear intent of the release.]; see also AckoffOrtega v. Windswept Pacific Entertainment, 120 F.Supp.2d 273,282 [S.D.N.Y. 2000]). Accordingly, 179-94 ST’s claims against Limmer must be dismissed.”