Swift Maneuvering Gets Building Owner Big Settlement


June 28, 2013

June 2013 Settlement of Interest

In this case, we brought a guarantor action against a principal because a tenant had ceased doing business and had no assets.  The tenant vacated at the end of October 2012.  On November 5, 2012, we promptly filed a summons and complaint against the guarantor seeking $552,000.00. In early December 2012, a large firm, Sills Cummins, reached out to us to start negotiations.  Negotiations failed.


1384 Broadway
In early January 2013, we recommended to the client that we quickly move for summary judgment and avoid discovery delays and costs.  We filed our motion for summary judgment on January 25, 2013, and made it returnable on February 25, 2013.  Sills asked for more time to respond to our papers.  But Sills did not use the time to respond to our papers.  Rather, they used the time to prepare a motion to withdraw as counsel for the guarantor, simultaneously obtaining a stay of the proceedings and making its motion to withdraw returnable on March 19, 2013.
On the March 19 return date, Sills sent a fourth year associate to get what they thought would be a routine order permitting them to withdraw as guarantor’s counsel and a another 30 day stay for guarantor to get a new attorney.  They thought wrong.
When we brought it to the attention of the Judge that Sills had obtained an adjournment to file answering papers and then used that time to prepare a motion to withdraw, she became very angry and immediately granted our motion for summary judgment and then granted Sills’ motion to withdraw. 
As the Judge stated: “I am not going to penalize someone who gave an adjournment in good faith for response to a motion, that then instead gets a motion to withdraw as counsel, which would delay his motion indefinitely, at least for 30 days, and then maybe even further when a new attorney comes on and says I need more time to learn the file. I’m not doing it. I’m granting his motion for summary judgment without opposition.  And whenever, if ever, new counsel comes on board, they can move to vacate or reargue or renew or restore, but I’m not penalizing him [us] for the conduct of this motion game playing…I’m not doing it.”
Once the judgment was issued, the only way the guarantor could avoid a freeze on all his property in Brooklyn was to get a stay on the judgment by “bonding it”.  That would have meant posting the cash.
The upshot of all this is that we got the jump on the guarantor and obtained a judgment against him for $670,291.00 on May 14, 2013, a mere six months after the action began.  Once we got the judgment and filed it in Brooklyn, we placed liens upon all of guarantor’s real estate, which is what forced him to come to the table and make a deal which was satisfactory to our client.

This post describes the settlement of a matter in which we obtained a big settlement for the client by being quick and aggressive. 

Press on the Case:  Chetrit Group Represented by Itkowitz sues Phat Farm founder for $650K — January 30, 2013


See a write up about one of our recent and interesting cases in The Real Deal. We represented the Chetrit Group.