Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Breach of Contract Action in New York Civil Court

CIVIL COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
COUNTY OF KINGS

DECISION AND ORDER

Plaintiff commenced the instant action to recover damages for breach of contract in the amount of nineteen thousand three hundred and thirty six dollars ($19,336). A bench trial was held before this Court on September 19, 2014, with an OCI Spanish interpreter present. Plaintiff was represented by counsel and Defendant appeared pro se.

To recover damages for breach of contract, Plaintiffmust establish the existence of a contract, the Plaintiffs performance under the contract, and the Defendant's breach of the contract, resulting in damages (Kausal v EducationalProducts Information Exchange Institute, 105 AD3d 909 [2d Dept 2013]).

Defendant and Plaintiff entered into a contract for the sale of Defendant's beauty parlor. At trial Plaintiff presented a contract dated February 29, 2012, signed by the Plaintiff and the Defendant, in which Plaintiff purchased "Papi Caio Beauty Parlor" for $14,000. Plaintiff submitted proof of payment. Plaintiff argued that the Defendant breached the contract because the Plaintiff was ultimately unable to procure a new lease from the landlord of the premises where the beauty parlor was located and Plaintiff claimed she was unable to resell the business. Defendant argued that he did not breach the contract and that Plaintiffs failure to procure a new lease from the landlord was the result of her poor credit, unrelated to the contract of sale. In December 2012, pursuant to an  agreement between the parties, the Plaintiff returned the keys for the premises to the landlord.

Based on the testimony adduced at trial and the evidence submitted in support, the Court finds that Plaintiff failed to establish that the Defendant breached the contract. The contract between the parties consisted of one simple paragraph and did not contain any contingencies for the sale of the business other than payment. It did not include provisions subjecting the contract of sale to the Plaintiffs ability to secure anew lease from the landlord. Plaintiff signed and paid pursuant to the contract. She obtained ownership of the business and its accompanying assets and equipment. The lease was not part ofthe contract and Plaintiff signed and paid without any commitment regarding the status of the lease. Additionally, when Plaintiff returned the keys to the landlord in December 2012, it was her obligation to remove any equipment and property that she owned as the owner of the beauty parlor, assets which she ostensibly purchased from the Defendant. Plaintiff cannot seek damages for the equipment which she was free to take but failed to collect at the time that she turned over the keys to the landlord. Therefore, the Court finds that Plaintiff failed to establish a breach of contract and resulting damages.


Accordingly, Judgment in favor of Defendant. The case is dismissed.

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