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French & Casey Successful in Appeal to Uphold Settlement Agreement in Action to Partition Real Property

May 4, 2018 • Posted By • News

On January 8, 2018, French & Casey argued a successful appeal before the Appellate Division, Third Department.  On behalf of its client, French & Casey commenced an action to partition real property located in Ulster County, New York.  In addition to appearing in this action, the Defendant commenced a separate action in Maryland state court against French & Casey’s client. 

In this matter, the Plaintiff and Defendant had purchased real property as joint tenants in common.  After issue was joined, the parties entered into a stipulation of settlement in open court whereby the Defendant agreed to convey her one-half interest in the real property and discontinue the Maryland action.  The Honorable Lisa M. Fisher subsequently entered the Settlement Agreement as an order.  Thereafter, the Defendant appealed Justice Fisher’s order, among others, arguing that the order retroactively modified the Settlement Agreement entered into in open court and that Justice Fisher’s order required the Defendant to discontinue her Maryland action.

On appeal, French & Casey argued that Justice Fisher’s order should be affirmed because the Settlement Agreement met the requirements of CPLR Sec. 2014.  We further argued that the Defendant entered into the Settlement Agreement voluntarily and also agreed to voluntarily discontinue the Maryland action.  French & Casey further argued that the Defendant agreed to provide her and her spouse’s social security number and residential address as the Settlement Agreement contemplated that the deed granting title to French & Casey’s client would be recorded. 

The Appellate Division, Third Department agreed with French & Casey’s argument on appeal and affirmed Justice Fisher’s order settling the matter.  In a unanimous decision, the Appellate Division, Third Department held that the Settlement Agreement was enforceable and that Defendant’s conveyance of the real property to French & Casey’s client was a voluntary transfer.  Moreover, the appellate court held that New York courts have recognized that it is prudent for a grantee to record the deed in order to be afforded the protections of New York State’s recording acts.  As such, the appellate court found that the Defendant was required to provide the information necessary for the Plaintiff to record the deed.

Accordingly, the Appellate Division, Third Department affirmed the lower court’s orders and found the Defendant’s arguments on appeal to be without merit. 

For further information, see Kekec v. Robinson, 159 A.D.3d 1161 (3d Dep’t 2018).