NY County Court Allows Party to Break its Settlement Agreement
Every once in a while, I come across a case that really burns me, particularly when it involves a party (or his attorney) not keeping his word - and getting away with it. In 175 Mulberry Realty v. Kam Cheung Construction, the parties had apparently agreed to settle their long-standing breach of contract action. The only thing that remained to finalize the agreement was the signing and filing of the settlement agreement and the stipulation of both parties discontinuing the lawsuit. Then the plaintiff changed his mind. When the defendant sought to enforce the unsigned settlement agreement, the Court refused to go along with it. What bothers me most is how this case got to this point: either the parties had never really reached an agreement, in which case the defendant's attorneys dropped the ball, or the plaintiff simply reversed course and reneged. Since the defendant went so far as to draft a whole settlement agreement based upon the terms that had been agreed upon, I suspect that the latter is closer to the truth. And if that is indeed the case, shame on the plaintiff's attorney for helping a client break his word.
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