Commercial Division Blog
Fraudulent Conveyance Claim Against Arm's Length Transaction OK Where Badges of Fraud Alleged
On September 8, 2016, the First Department issued a decision in 172 Van Duzer Realty Corp. v. 878 Education, LLC, 2016 NY Slip Op. 05957, holding that a plaintiff stated a claim for fraudulent conveyance despite that the complained of transaction was at arm's length, explaining:
The cause of action for actual fraudulent conveyance under Debtor and Creditor Law § 276 is also adequately pleaded against Globe Institute, the Rabinovich defendants, and 878 LLC. Although the transaction was conducted at arm's length, plaintiff has sufficiently alleged badges of fraud, i.e., circumstances so commonly associated with fraudulent transfers that their presence gives rise to an inference of intent, including (1) the parties' structuring of the transaction so that the sole consideration promised to Globe Institute, aside from 878 LLC's assumption of certain of Globe Institute's liabilities, was a $1.35 million payment directly to its shareholders, the Rabinovich defendants, rather than to Globe Institute itself, (2) the exclusion of Globe Institute's guarantee of the lease agreement from the list of assumed liabilities, although the parties knew that Globe Institute would be left as a corporate shell as result of the transaction and would therefore be unable to honor any future liabilities, (3) inadequate consideration, and (4) the transaction's having been outside the usual course of business and hastily closed over the course of only a few days, while other potential buyers required a much longer due diligence period.
(Internal quotations and citations omitted) (emphasis added).