by: Peter J. Gallagher (@pjsgallagher)
In a recent unpublished decision, the Law Division refused to enforce a purported personal guarantee in a commercial contract. Individuals and entities that include such guarantees in their contracts with customers should read the decision (or just continue reading below).
In Century Star Fuel Corp. v. Jaffe, defendant entered into a contract with plaintiff whereby defendant obtained a line of credit from plaintiff that defendant could use to purchase heating oil from plaintiff. The one-page contract, which was prepared by plaintiff, contained a single signature line for defendant’s president to sign on behalf of defendant. It also contained what the court described as “boilerplate language” providing the following: “Applicant . . . agrees and acknowledges that the person who signs this Application has the Authority to do so; and Personally Guarantees all present and future extensions of credit.” Defendant was identified as the “Applicant” in the signature line. Plaintiff alleged that this clause was unambiguous and rendered defendant’s president personally liable for defendant’s debts. Defendant disagreed and argued that the clause was unenforceable because its president never intended to be personally bound. Both parties moved for summary judgment. The trial court sided with defendant.
Continue reading “In Life, There Are No [Personal] Guarantees (Especially When They Are Buried In An Ambiguous Provision Of A Contract)” →
Kate Muscalino aims to answer that question in her recent article, "You May Have Recourse When A Court Denies Your Board Attorneys's Fees," which begins:
Collections have become an area of increasing concern for condominium associations, as some unit owners struggle to pay their common charges on time and in full. As unit owners' debt continues to rise, associations are left with few options to collect: a lien on the unit and a lawsuit against the individual unit owner.
Many condo associations have been frustrated in their attempts to collect from a unit owner individually, as judges are often sympathetic to delinquent unit owners, offering extensions, scrutinizing certifications of amounts due and reducing or eliminating the association's ability to collect attorneys' fees.
Click here for the rest of the article.
by: Katharine A. Muscalino
Collections have become an area of increasing concern for condominium associations, as unit owners struggle to pay their maintenance fees on time and in full during the current economic downturn. As unit owners’ debt continues to rise, associations are left with few options to collect: a lien on the unit and a lawsuit against the individual unit owner.
Many condominium associations have been frustrated in their attempts to collect from a unit owner individually, as Special Civil Court judges are often sympathetic to delinquent unit owners, offering extensions, scrutinizing certifications of amounts due, and reducing or eliminating the association’s ability to collect attorneys’ fees. Grandview at Riverwalk Port Imperial Condominium Association is one such association, but its frustrations were recently assuaged on appeal in Grandview at Riverwalk Port Imperial Condominium Association, Inc. v. Han.
In this case, the association sued a unit owner for failure to pay maintenance fees, only to have the Special Civil Court inexplicably deny their demand for attorneys’ fees. The Association appealed the judge’s rejection of their demand and the Appellate Division reversed the Special Civil Court, finding that the fees were authorized by statute and by the Association’s governing documents. Noting that the unit owner had not objected to reasonableness of the attorneys’ fees and that the Appellate Division itself perceived “nothing unreasonable” in the attorneys’ fees, the Appellate Division remanded the matter to have the judgment amended to reflect the attorneys fees.