Justia Consumer Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in New York Court of Appeals
Adar Bays, LLC v GeneSYS ID, Inc.
The Court of Appeals answered in the affirmative two questions certified to it by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in this case involving New York's current usury laws.Specifically, the Court of Appeals held (1) a stock conversion option that permits a lender, in its sole discretion, to convert any outstanding balance to shares of stock at a fixed discount should be treated as interest for the purpose of determining whether the transaction violates the criminal usury law, N.Y. Penal Law 190.40; and (2) if the interest charged on a loan is determined to be criminal usurious under N.Y. Penal Law 190.40, the contract is void ab initio pursuant to N.Y. Gen. Oblig. Law 5-511. View "Adar Bays, LLC v GeneSYS ID, Inc." on Justia Law
Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman
The Court of Appeals answered a certified question from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit concerning the meaning of N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law 518 in the affirmative, holding that a merchant complies with the statute so long as the merchant posts the total dollars and cents price charged to credit card users.Section 518 states that no seller in any sales transaction may impose a surcharge on a holder who uses a credit card to pay rather than cash, check, or similar means. The parties in this case agreed that the statute allows for differential pricing, in which a merchant offers discounts to customers who pay by cash so that customers buying the same item pay a higher price if they use a credit card than if they paid cash. The Court of Appeals concluded that a merchant may describe the difference between the credit card price and the cash price as a “surcharge, “additional fee,” or “extra costs” so long as the merchant posts the total dollars-and-cents price charged to credit card users rather than requiring consumers to engage in an arithmetical calculation. View "Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman" on Justia Law
Ovitz v Bloomberg L.P.
Plaintiff commenced a putative class action against Bloomberg alleging a violation of General Obligations Law 5-901 and 5-903; breach of contract; unjust enrichment; negligent misrepresentation; violation of General Business Law 349; and sought declaratory and injunctive relief. The Appellate Division subsequently granted Bloomberg's motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint in its entirety. The court affirmed, holding that, even affording plaintiff every favorable inference, when reviewing the pleadings and factual allegations of his complaint, plaintiff's failure to identify a cognizable injury proved fatal to his action against Bloomberg. View "Ovitz v Bloomberg L.P." on Justia Law
People v First Am. Corp.
This appeal arose out of an action commenced by the New York State Attorney General against defendants, seeking injunctive and monetary relief as well as civil penalties for violations of New York's Executive Law and Consumer Protection Act, Executive Law 63(12) and General Business Law 349, as well as the common law. The primary issue on appeal was whether federal law preempted these claims alleging fraud and violations of real estate appraisal independence rules. The court held that the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) governed the regulation of appraisal management companies and explicitly envisioned a cooperative effort between federal and state authorities to ensure that real estate appraisal reports comport with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). The court perceived no basis to conclude that the Home Owners' Loan Act (HOLA) itself or federal regulations promulgated under HOLA preempted the Attorney General from asserting both common law and statutory state law claims against defendants pursuant to its authority under Executive Law 63(12)and General Business Law 349. Thus, defendants' motion to dismiss on the grounds of federal preemption was properly denied. The court also agreed with the Appellate Division that the Attorney General had adequately pleaded a cause of action under General Business Law 349 and that the statute provided him with standing. Accordingly, the order of the Appellate Division was affirmed.
Greenberg, Trager & Herbst, LLP v. HSBC Bank USA, et al.
In this dispute between a law firm and two banks, the issues presented were (1) the scope of the duty a payor bank owed to a non-customer depositor of a counterfeit check and (2) the scope of the duty a depository bank owed its customer when it acted as a collecting bank during the check collection process. The court held that neither the depository/collecting bank nor the payor bank violated any duty owed to the depositor and that summary judgment dismissing the complaint was properly granted.
Yun Tung Chow, et al v. Reckitt & Colman, Inc.
Plaintiff and his wife brought a products liability action against defendant entities responsible for the manufacture, distribution, and package design of a product sold under the brand name Lewis Red Devil Lye ("RDL") where plaintiff was injured while using RDL to clear a clogged floor drain in the kitchen of the restaurant where he worked. At issue was whether summary judgment was properly granted in favor of defendant where plaintiff's handling of the product was not in accordance with the label's instructions and warnings. The court concluded that a defendant moving for summary judgment in a defective design case must do more than state, in categorical language in an attorney's affirmation, that its product was inherently dangerous and that its dangers were well known. Therefore, the court reversed summary judgment and held that defendant failed to demonstrate that its product was reasonably safe for its intended use; that is, the utility of the product outweighed the inherent danger.