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On April 2, 2024, the New York State Bar Association’s (“NYSBA”) Task Force on Artificial Intelligence released a report concerning the use of artificial intelligence (“AI”) in the legal profession (“Report”). New York joins select states, such as Florida and California, whose bar associations have published recommendations on the use of AI. The nearly 90-page Report examined the (1) evolution of AI and generative AI; (2) benefits and risks of AI and generative AI use; (3) impact of the technology on the legal profession; (4) legislative overview and recommendations; and (5) proposed guidelines. To date, the Report is the most comprehensive document provided by a state bar association regarding AI use. Continue Reading AI Etiquette: A User’s Manual Provided by the NYSBA

A recent decision from Justice Fidel Gomez of the Bronx County Commercial Division, 1125 Morris Ave. Realty LLC v Title Issues Agency LLC, reminds us to closely review the language of general releases as New York courts continue to enforce such releases however broad in scope absent any fraud or wrongful conduct. Failure to do so may not only result in the waiver of certain future claims but also the imposition of sanctions.

Background

Plaintiff 1125 Morris Ave. Realty LLC (“Plaintiff”) obtained a mortgage loan (“2014 Mortgage”) on a property located at 1125 Morris Avenue, Bronx, New York (the “Property”). Defendants Kofman and Lowenthal represented the lender in the transaction. Kofman and Lowenthal transferred the loan proceeds to Defendant Title Company (the “Title Company”) to hold such proceeds in escrow until certain taxes and water/sewer charges for the Property had been settled with the City. Plaintiff thereafter obtained additional mortgages in order to pay off the 2014 Mortgage.

Following the payoff and satisfaction of the 2014 Mortgage, in July 2016 Plaintiff executed a broad general release discharging Defendants Kofman and Lowenthal as well as the Title Company (collectively the “Defendants”) from all “claims and demands whatsoever from the beginning of the world to the day of the date of this RELEASE.”

Plaintiff commenced an action against Defendants alleging, among other things, that Defendants committed fraud by failing to pay Plaintiff’s outstanding tax, water, and sewer charges for the Property, despite assuring Plaintiff that the loan proceeds would be used to satisfy the liens on the Property. Plaintiff further alleged that the Title Company only partially paid out the liens, and that only a portion of the loan proceeds were returned to Plaintiff.Continue Reading No Deceit, No Defeat: Commercial Division Enforces Broad General Release

Section 3101(a) of the CPLR provides for the “full disclosure of all matter material and necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action.” This standard requires the disclosure “of any facts which will assist preparation for trial by sharpening the issues and reducing delay and prolixity” (Madia v CBS Corp, 146 AD3d 424, 424-425 [1st Dept 2017]). Under CPLR 3124, a party making a motion to compel discovery must demonstrate that the discovery sought is “material and necessary” and must meet the test of “usefulness and reason.” But, parties are at liberty to narrow the, otherwise, broad statutory discovery guidelines provided by the CPLR. A recent decision from Justice Robert Reed of the Manhattan Commercial Division in Latin Mkts. Brazil, LLC v McArdle reminds us that the court will abide by the terms of a voluntary waiver of discoverable materials absent any mistake, fraud, collusion, or accident.Continue Reading To Disclose or Not to Disclose: The Importance of Putting Everything in Writing

Under Section 216.1(a) of the Uniform Rules for Trial Courts (“Section 216.1(a)”), courts are authorized to seal documents “upon a written finding of good cause, which shall specify the grounds thereof.” Section 216.1(a) states that “whether good cause has been shown, the court shall consider the interests of the public as well as of the parties.”  A recent decision from Justice Andrea Masley of the Manhattan Commercial Division in Aydus Worldwide DMCC v. Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd., serves as a gentle reminder that documents merely marked as “confidential,” “private,” or for “Attorneys’ Eyes Only” are not a sufficient to demonstrate “good cause,” triggering the court’s judicial discretion to seal the record.Continue Reading Signed, Sealed, Delivered

A recent decision from Justice Robert Reed of the Manhattan Commercial Division in J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy Corporation v. Miami Wind I, LLC, Goldthwaite Wind Energy LLC demonstrates how parties have the ability to excuse contractual non-performance in a well drafted force majeure clause.

Background

Plaintiff J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy Corporation (the “Buyer”) is an

It is commonplace knowledge that the attorney-client privilege protects confidential communications relating to legal advice between a client and an attorney from disclosure. However, a recent decision from Justice Robert Reed of the Manhattan Commercial Division in Brawer v. Lepor serves as a gentle reminder that “communications do not automatically obtain privilege status merely because