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Posted: January 31, 2017

Court Did Not Abuse Discretion in Precluding Expert on Interpretation of ISDA Agreement

On January 24, 2017, the First Department issued a decision in Good Hill Master Fund L.P. v Deutsche Bank AG, 2017 NY Slip Op. 00428, holding that it was not an abuse of discretion to exclude an expert on contract interpretation, explaining:

[T]he trial court properly granted Good Hill’s motion to preclude certain expert testimony proffered by defendant on the interpretation of [ISDA] section 9.1(b)(iii). While the section is confusing, its interpretation is not a matter beyond the ken of a typical fact-finder. Nor does it involve issues of such scientific or technical complexity that require an expert explanation to allow the court to understand it. Moreover, while Deutsche Bank frames the issue as one of market customs and practice, the issue is, as the trial court noted, a matter of contract interpretation, and expert witnesses should not be called to offer opinion as to the legal obligations of parties under a contract; that is an issue to be determined by the trial court.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted).

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