On June 1, 2019, Traub Lieberman partner Lisa M. Rolle and associate Vito John Marzano successfully secured dismissal of all third-party claims on behalf of a corporate entity and its principal in a third-party action in the New York State Supreme Court, County of Bronx. The underlying action concerned a trip and fall that occurred on a public sidewalk located in the Bronx. Plaintiff commenced suit against the corporation property owner and its principal. Defendants/third-party plaintiffs commenced the third-party action seeking contractual and common-law indemnification against three third-party defendants, the corporate tenant, another corporate entity that was not a party to the lease and its principal. Traub Lieberman represented the latter two third-party defendants.
On behalf of the corporate entity that was not a party to the lease, Traub Lieberman moved for dismissal on the basis that the lease constitutes documentary evidence establishing as a matter of law that the non-tenant corporation cannot be held liable to third-party plaintiffs. On behalf of the principal, Traub Lieberman sought dismissal for failure to state a cause of action because the principal was shielded from liability by virtue of having incorporated his business, and the complaint did not allege a claim for piercing the corporate veil.
In opposition, third-party plaintiffs sought to amplify their pleadings by alleging that a de facto merger had occurred between the non-tenant corporation and the tenant corporation. Third-party plaintiffs further argued that the corporate principal executed a guaranty to the lease, thus accepting liability on behalf of the tenant corporation.