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Minieri v. Knittel

Supreme Court, New York County
727 N.Y.S.2d 872 (2011)


Facts

Joanne Minieri (plaintiff) and Marta Knittel (defendant) met in 1996. They had a loving relationship as domestic partners until September 1999. However, Minieri and Knittel could not get married under the laws of New York because they were a same-sex couple. Minieri had a much larger income than Knittel. During their relationship, Minieri added Knittel to several accounts, including a joint checking account, a joint money-market account, and other joint financial accounts. In each case, Minieri made almost all of the contributions to the accounts. Additionally, Minieri purchased a condominium apartment in Manhattan, a house in East Hampton, and a 1999 Ford Explorer. For each of these purchases, Minieri used her funds but added Knittel on the title. Knittel asserts that she agreed to refrain from working in order to take care of the properties. Minieri and Knittel did not document any agreements as to these assets in writing. After they separated, Minieri sued Knittel, requesting that the court impose a constructive trust on these assets. Knittel filed a counterclaim, asserting claims for partition, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment. Minieri moved for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Braun, J.)

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