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Brooklyn Union Gas Co. v. Jimeniz

371 N.Y.S.2d 289 (1975)

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Brooklyn Union Gas Co. v. Jimeniz

New York City Civil Court

371 N.Y.S.2d 289 (1975)

Facts

A Brooklyn Union Gas Company (company) (plaintiff) sales agent induced tenants to pressure their landlord, Rafael Jimeniz (defendant), into purchasing several utility-related items. Jimeniz spoke only Spanish and could not read or understand the installment-payment sales contract, which was written in English. The sales agent had Jimeniz sign the contract on site, not at the company office, where Jimeniz would have had access to the company’s Spanish translator. Although the company guaranteed the items for only one year, a company employee told Jimeniz that if the items ever needed repairs, the company would provide them. About two years later, one of the items broke down, and Jimeniz asked the company to repair it. The company refused to do so when its records revealed that Jimeniz had stopped making payments several months earlier. This discovery spurred the company to sue Jimeniz in New York City Civil Court for breach of contract. At trial, the court found that the company’s copy of the contract bore three signatures, but Jimeniz’s copy bore only his own signature.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Shilling, J.)

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