Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. Prevails at Trial in Invalidating Contract to Purchase Commercial Property

By Adam Leitman Bailey

Chan v. Shew Foo Chin
Appellate Division, First Department

Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. Prevails at Trial in Invalidating Contract to Purchase Commercial Property


When the Chins first came to Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., they had what can accurately be described as double trouble. As owners of one of the very few vacant lots in Chinatown, it was said they had contracted to sell their property to two separate people.

Mrs. Chan had, over the course of a year, paid them $450,000 on account, pursuant to what she alleged was a contract to sell the property to her for just over a million dollars. During the period of time that the Chan sale failed to close, the Chins entered into a contract with Mr. Yang to sell him the same property and took a $50,000 down payment.

Both prospective purchasers sued to obtain specific performance.

We moved to dismiss the complaint in the Yang case on the basis that the contract permitted our client to cancel the transaction; the trial Court denied our motion, holding in part that the papers in the Yang and the Chan action, read together “raise[d] more questions than [they] answer.” Adam Leitman Bailey, PC, appealed on behalf of the Chins. After reviewing our papers below and our arguments on appeal, the Appellate Division, First Department reversed the trial Court and directed the entry of judgment on behalf of our clients in the Yang case.

In the Chan case, there was a series of writings which the Plaintiff asked the Court to view as constituting a written contract. Additionally, Mr. Chin was a co-plaintiff in an action to quiet title to the property in which it was alleged that he was contractually bound to sell the property to Chan. The plaintiff moved twice for summary judgment. Each time, Adam Leitman Bailey, PC, was successful in defeating the motion and the Court held the case over for trial. On the trial, we were able to successfully prove that the documents produced by the plaintiff and acknowledged to be accurate, even taken together and despite the $450,000 paid on account of the alleged contract, did not constitute a binding and enforceable commitment to sell to Chan. The Chins were granted judgment.

Colin E. Kaufman of Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. represented the client in this matter. Colin E. Kaufman won the bench trial.

Adam Leitman Bailey PC - New York Real Estate Attorneys