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Why the Co-Owner of a NY Building Couldn't Recover His Outlays

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In an October 25 decision, New York's Appellate Division, First Department affirmed the decision of a New York County trial court that dismissed the breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty claim by the co-owner of a building seeking to recoup the monies he advanced to cover the building's expenses.


"Why would a court do that?" you ask. Shouldn't he be entitled to recover those outlays?


The answer is, ordinarily yes, of course he should. But this plaintiff waited too long to bring his claim (in legalese, he "blew" the "statute of limitations").


To that end, the appellate court summarized its reasoning as follows:


""[T]he motion court properly determined that the statute of limitations for breach of the co-ownership agreement began to run when plaintiff advanced payments to pay for defendant's share of the expenses related to the property. Pursuant to the agreement, the party making such advances is entitled to recover from the defaulting party upon demand. Thus, plaintiff's claim accrued at the time he could have demanded repayment, i.e., when defendant breached the contract by failing to make his share of the expenses and plaintiff made the necessary advances (see Sutton v Burdick, 75 AD3d 884 [3d Dept 2010], lv dismissed 15 NY3d 874 [2010])."


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