CPLR 7502

Men Women N.Y. Model Mgt., Inc. v Elite Model Mgt. – N.Y. LLC,  2020 NY Slip Op 02984 [1st Dept. 2020]

CPLR 7502(c) authorizes courts to award provisional relief “in connection with an arbitration that is … to be commenced” where “the award to which the applicant may be entitled may be rendered ineffectual without such … relief.” However, the applicant is required to commence arbitration within 30 days of receiving the provisional relief, or else “the order granting such relief shall expire and be null and void and costs, including reasonable attorney’s fees, awarded to the respondent” (id.).

CPLR 7502(c) applies to the instant dispute because the subject provisional relief was entered in aid of arbitration. There is no independent cause of action for injunctive relief (see Talking Capital LLC v Omanoff, 169 AD3d 423, 424 [1st Dept 2019]), and it is undisputed that plaintiffs’ underlying breach of contract claim is subject to mandatory arbitration.

Although defendants’ employment agreements also provide for provisional injunctive relief, the purpose of these provisions was not to create an independent right to such relief regardless of whether plaintiffs’ underlying claims were ever actually arbitrated. Rather, the purpose of the injunctive relief clause here was to streamline the process of obtaining provisional relief in aid of arbitration by effectively conceding that the non-solicitation provisions were “reasonable and necessary” and that breach would result in “irreparable injury.”

Plaintiffs failed to demonstrate good cause to extend the time in which to commence arbitrations. Even if substitution of counsel would constitute good cause under other circumstances, it does not constitute good cause here, where the substitution came after the subject deadline had already expired and defendants had already moved to vacate. Moreover, there is no evidence in the record, such as a sworn statement from prior counsel, to support plaintiffs’ assertion that counsel believed that CPLR 7502(c) was not applicable. Nor is it clear that such a belief would have been reasonable.

The bold is mine.

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