Release and Discharge

Johnson v Lebanese Am. Univ., 2011 NY Slip Op 03658 (App. Div. 1st 2011)

While the fact that plaintiff was not advised to consult with counsel is not dispositive of the enforceability of the Release (Skluth, 163 AD2d at 107), defendants' tying of the payment to plaintiff's return of the Release certainly had a bearing on plaintiff's opportunity to consult counsel. As Supreme Court recognized, the opportunity to consult counsel is at least a factor to be considered when analyzing the volition with which a party entered into a contract (see id.). However, with the payment depending on plaintiff's return of the signed Release it can hardly be said, as the court did, that plaintiff had "ample" opportunity to consult an attorney before signing the document.

For the foregoing reasons, we find that issues of fact exist as to whether plaintiff intended to relinquish employment discrimination claims when he executed the Release. Accordingly, Supreme Court erred in dismissing the complaint.

There is a dissent.

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