News & Insights

When Can Punitive Damages Be Recovered in Discrimination Cases?

Companies and employees dealing with a possible discrimination claim should be aware of a recent decision by the New York Court of Appeals regarding liability for punitive damages. Often plaintiffs seek punitive damages in an employment discrimination case. However, with respect to claims under the New York City Human Rights Law, it wasn’t clear what … Read more

Beware usury laws when making or receiving a loan

Generally, the law recognizes parties’ freedom to enter into a contract under the terms of their choosing. Parties can freely determine the terms of their personal and business affairs unless the agreement is illegal. However, one area where New York law steps in to impose limitations on parties’ freedom of contract is with usury laws. … Read more

Suing Corporate Officers and Employees Personally for Misconduct

Typically, officers and employees of corporations or limited liability companies are not personally liable for acts taken in a corporate capacity. However, there are important exceptions. As discussed in a previous post, when a corporate entity fails to follow corporate formalities and its shareholders mingle personal and corporate funds, the shareholders may be personally liable … Read more

NY Court Rules on Standard for Discovery of an Insurer’s Investigation File

In any litigation, information that is relevant or intended to lead to relevant information is discoverable unless it falls within an exception. Relevant information which is privileged such as communications between an attorney-client, physician-patient, and spouses as well as attorney work product are common exceptions to the discovery rule. In the context of insurance coverage … Read more

Appellate Court protects individuals from being served in a lawsuit on Saturday Sabbath

When someone files a lawsuit, he/she must serve papers on the defendants to establish the Court’s personal jurisdiction over them. There are laws governing how and when serving papers can occur in order to be valid. Among the rules that apply are those dealing with serving papers on the Sabbath. Importantly, a recent New York Appellate … Read more

Obtaining Disclosure of Tax Returns in Litigation

Information contained in income tax returns can be relevant to various types of disputes. Therefore, parties may seek to “discover” the other party’s tax returns. However, courts generally do not require the disclosure of tax returns —even when the returns may be relevant—due to their private and confidential nature. Instead, courts apply a strict standard to … Read more

The pros and cons of asserting a “good faith” defense

In certain types of cases, including antitrust and patent matters, “good faith” is a commonly asserted defense. However, claiming “good faith” is not without risk– doing so may force a defendant to reveal attorney-client communications. Companies faced with impending litigation need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of relying on a good faith defense particularly … Read more

Get your contracts in writing: New York court only provides a limited exception to the rule

New York law requires that certain contracts must be in writing to be enforceable. The law, known as the Statute of Frauds, also has several well-recognized exceptions. In a recent decision, the New York Court of Appeals officially adopted the promissory estoppel exception, but made clear it only applies in limited circumstances. As a result, individuals and businesses that don’t insist on written contracts still take a big risk that they won’t be able to enforce their agreements.

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When It’s Just Too Much: Limits on Fees Charged by a Zoning Board of Appeals

As many property owners may know, zoning restrictions can have a significant impact on how a property can be used and improved. A zoning board of appeals (“ZBA”) is an independent board whose decisions impact a landowner’s property rights and can frequently affect the value of the property.  Municipalities have authority to charge fees for the ZBA’s functions. However, there are limits on such fees of which landowners should be aware. 

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