Commercial Division Blog

Posted: May 31, 2021 / Categories Commercial, Trespass

Trespass to Chattels Claim Dismissed for Lack of Allegations Showing That Plaintiff was Deprived of its Property for a Substantial Time

On May 17, 2021, Justice Ostrager of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in Marlborough Gallery, Inc. v. Levai, 2021 NY Slip Op. 31677(U), dismissing a trespass to chattels claim for lack of allegations showing that the plaintiff's property was injured or that the plaintiff was deprived of its property for a substantial time, explaining:

While Plaintiff is correct that liability for trespass to chattels may also be imposed if the owner is deprived of use of the chattel for a substantial time, the Complaint also does not allege that Plaintiff has been deprived of its property for a substantial time, nor does it allege injury to the property. Plaintiff’s claims for interference with its artworks, and indeed its request for the return of specific artworks, are adequately captured by Plaintiff’s remaining claims.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted).

Commercial litigation can involve much more than claims relating to contracts. Here, the plaintiff's claim was for trespass to chattels (depriving a person of the use of its personal property), but in a commercial context. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at jlundin@schlamstone.com if you or a client have a question regarding a business dispute.

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