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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
New York State Courts by Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP
Posted: May 9, 2020

Plaintiff Entitled to Summary Judgment in Lieu of Complaint on Guaranty Even Though Guaranty Was Not for a Sum Certain

On May 6, 2020, the Second Department issued a decision in Metro-Gem Leasing & Funding Corp. v. Dancy Auto Group, LLC, 2020 NY Slip Op. 02638, holding that a plaintiff was entitled to summary judgment in lieu of complaint on a guaranty even though the guaranty was not for a sum certain, explaining:

We agree with the Supreme Court’s determination granting the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment in lieu of complaint. CPLR 3213 provides a means of obtaining an accelerated judgment where a defendant’s liability is premised upon an instrument for the payment of money only, such as an unconditional personal guaranty, even though it does not recite a sum certain. Here, the plaintiff established its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by proving that Carey unconditionally guaranteed the payment of the borrowing defendants’ total indebtedness to the plaintiff, that the borrowing defendants defaulted on their obligations under the promissory notes, and that Carey defaulted on his obligations under the guaranty. In opposition to the plaintiff’s showing, Carey failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to his liability to the plaintiff.

(Internal citations omitted).

Cases in the Commercial Division of the New York courts usually involve a motion to dismiss at the outset and then a motion for summary judgment at the close of discovery, so such motions are a big part of our practice. The decision above is about a special procedure in New York for quickly resolving claims relating to unpaid notes or similar documents allowing the plaintiff to move for summary judgment at the beginning of an action. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at jlundin@schlamstone.com if you or a client have questions about seeking or opposing a motion for pre-trial dismissal or judgment of a commercial lawsuit.

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