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Q:
What is a bilateral contract in New York, and how does it impact a breach of contract claim?

A:

Whether or not a contract is bilateral impacts the ability to bring a breach of contract claim. A recent example of this is playing out in the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan. A lawsuit was brought by Solus Alternative Asset Management, LP. The company claims that the other party to its agreement breached a contract by failing to fulfill its obligations to sell an interest in claims on Bernard L. Madoff’s estate. To defend itself, the defendant, Perry Capital, LLC, alleges that there was no bilateral deal between the parties. Instead, the transaction involved a third party. Perry further claims that the third party had not yet worked out all of the necessary arrangements to bring the deal to fruition.

If this contract between Solus and Perry is truly a bilateral agreement, Solus will show that:

  • There was an exchange of mutual and reciprocal promises between Perry and Solus
  • The agreement entailed the performance of an act by each party
  • Or, the agreement entailed the forbearance from the performance of an act by each party

In a bilateral New York contract, the promise that is made by one party acts as consideration for the promise made by the other. If the judge rules that the agreement between Perry and Solus was bilateral, Solus could potentially have a valid claim that Perry breached the contract. If the contract was not bilateral, however, Solus will have additional legal burdens to overcome.

To learn more about a breach of contract claim, contact a New York business litigation attorney today. Call our office at (888) 497-3410 for a consultation.