Construed against the drafter

Gould Invs., L.P. v Travelers Cas. & Sur. Co. of Am., 2011 NY Slip Op 02844 (App. Div., 2nd 2011)

Here, the provision of the policy addressing the parties' obligations regarding subrogation provided that, "you must transfer to us all your rights of recovery against any person or organization for any loss you sustained and for which we have paid or settled. You must also do everything necessary to secure those rights and do nothing after loss to impair them." The Supreme Court properly determined that the plain and ordinary meaning of the first sentence of that provision obligated the plaintiff to transfer rights of recovery only upon payment of the claim and that, accordingly, no subrogation rights had accrued to the defendant upon which it could base its motion. As any ambiguity introduced by the second sentence of that provision must be construed against the insurer as drafter of the policy (see Essex Ins. Co. v Laruccia Constr., Inc., 71 AD3d at 818; United States Fire Ins. Co. v Knoller Companies, Inc., 80 AD3d 692), the Supreme Court's determination was proper.

1701 Rest. on Second, Inc. v Armato Props., Inc., 2011 NY Slip Op 03106 (App. Div., 1st 2011)

The parties agree that this Court need look no further than the "clear language" contained in the "four corners" of the agreement, but differ on their interpretation of the asserted clear language. Under the "clear language" rule of contract interpretation, we disregard extrinsic evidence if there is, as the parties agree, no ambiguity, and look only to the language of the agreement (see R/S Assoc. v New York Job Dev. Auth., 98 NY2d 29, 33 [2002]). Tenant correctly points to language in the 2001 Lease Extension and Modification Agreement stating that, other than as modified by such document, the terms of the 1994 lease "remain in full force and effect." Thus, the clear language of the rider to the 1994 lease directly supports tenant's contention that the renewal option was still in effect and had not been "subsumed" as defendant landlord argues. Landlord fails to direct the court to any clear language in support of its position.

"Ordinarily, a party cannot be compelled to litigate and, absent special circumstances, leave to discontinue a cause of action should be granted [unless] the party opposing the motion can demonstrate prejudice if the discontinuance is granted" (see St. James Plaza v Notey, 166 AD2d 439, 439 [1990]). Under the circumstances of this case, Supreme Court correctly denied landlord's motion. Landlord sought to discontinue its counterclaim for declaratory judgment in Supreme Court and then pursue similar relief in Civil Court, notwithstanding that tenant had cross-moved for leave to amend its complaint, which should be freely granted (CPLR 3025[b]), seeking to add a cause of action for declaratory relief related to the same subject matter. Moreover considerable discovery had already occurred in relation to landlord's counterclaim. Thus, it would have been inequitable to allow landlord to discontinue its counterclaim at this point in the litigation (see St James Plaza v Notey at 440).

The bold is mine.

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