Sassower v. Blumenfeld
New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
878 N.Y.S.2d 602 (2009)
David Blumenfeld (defendant) entered into an agreement with Michael Sassower (plaintiff) to purchase a property in New Hartford, New York, for $1.8 million. Upon signing the contract, Blumenfeld paid a deposit of $180,000. Under the terms of the agreement, Sassower was entitled to retain the deposit as liquidated damages if Blumenfeld defaulted on the purchase. Additionally, the agreement set the closing date as December 12, 2008. Blumenfeld was allowed to adjourn the closing date to no later than December 31, 2008. The agreement indicated that in regard to any adjournments, time was of the essence. On December 10, 2008, Blumenfeld requested an adjournment of the closing date. On December 11, Blumenfeld learned that he had lost nearly all his financial assets as a victim of a fraudulent scheme perpetrated by a well-known investor. On December 24, 2008, Blumenfeld terminated his purchase agreement with Sassower and demanded that Sassower return the deposit. Sassower sought a declaratory judgment that he was entitled to retain Blumenfeld’s deposit as liquidated damages because Blumenfeld failed to close by December 31, 2008. Blumenfeld argued that his performance should be excused on the basis of impossibility. Sassower moved for summary judgment, and Blumenfeld filed counterclaims.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (DeStefano, J.)
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