February 28, 2019 – The legendary football coach Bear Bryant once said a tie is like kissing your sister. Winning a judgment that you will never be able to collect on is even worse. One of the most powerful tools available to litigants to ensure the satisfaction of an eventual judgment is a pre-judgment order of attachment. An attachment restrains your opponent from disposing of or encumbering its assets – up to the amount of the judgment you are seeking – until the conclusion of the case. It’s a harsh remedy, with strictly-construed requirements, that is infrequently granted, particularly since it is often done on an ex parte basis without notice to the other side. However, DHC’s commercial litigation group recently obtained two such orders on behalf of its clients.
First, Senior Partner Larry Hutcher successfully argued in Supreme Court for Erie County to attach the proceeds of the sale of a cooperative apartment owned by the guarantor of a defaulted loan. DHC was able to show that the guarantor, who refused to provide the lender with basic financial disclosures required under the contract, owed millions of dollars in outstanding debt to other creditors, and actively interfered with the lender’s ability to collect upon the loan from other sources, had demonstrated intent to frustrate the lender’s potential judgment in the case. Assisted by his team, which included Michael Wexelbaum, Michael Katz, and Emily Munson, Larry obtained both an award of summary judgment and an order of attachment of nearly $6 million against the guarantor.
Second, Emily Munson, DHC’s resident expert in attachments, secured a temporary restraining order in the amount of $32.9 million, pending a hearing on a motion for an attachment in that amount, to secure a likely judgment in a California breach of contract action. The motion for an attachment was made on two independent statutory bases: 1) the opposing party is a foreign corporation not qualified to do business in New York State; and 2) the California court issued an order of attachment in the California action which is entitled to full faith and credit in this state.
That DHC was able to secure this relief in two separate cases within just a few weeks is highly unusual and a testament to the zealous advocacy of its attorneys.