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McLaughlin & Stern Secures Stay of Enforcement of $2.8 Million Judgment Pending Appeal

Fri 6 August 2021 News & Press

In a notable appellate victory for one of McLaughlin & Stern’s clients, the firm secured a stay of enforcement pending the outcome of the client’s appeal. This means that the client will not be required to pay the judgment in advance of the outcome of its case on appeal. We are encouraged by the Appellate Division’s decision—as well as the underlying basis for its decision—and our lawyers are now in the process of developing the client’s full appellate arguments.

About the Case: Piecraft Wantagh LLC v. Willow Wood Associates LP

On June 16, 2021, a panel of the Appellate Division, Second Department issued an order staying the enforcement of a $2.8 million judgment entered against the firm’s clients in Nassau County Supreme Court. The judgment was entered as a damages award in a commercial lease dispute regarding a lease for a restaurant located in Wantagh, New York.

Following the outcome at trial, representing the tenants and the personal guarantors on the lease, the firm filed a motion in the Appellate Division seeking to stay the judgment pending appeal. A panel of justices issued a full stay of the judgment without requiring the tenant or the guarantors to post a bond. The justices based their decision on the firm’s demonstration of the legal flaws and inequities of the trial court’s award of damages to the landlord. The tenant’s appeals of both the liability and damages portions of the case are now pending in the Second Department.

Filing an Appeal Does Not Automatically Stay Enforcement of Judgment

Many litigants are surprised to learn that filing an appeal does not automatically stay the enforcement of an unfavorable judgment. Even if a party that loses at trial files an appeal, that party is still generally required to satisfy the judgment entered at the trial level. However, it is possible to avoid this in some cases—and one of the primary means for doing so is seeking a stay in the appropriate appellate court.

When hearing a request for a stay of enforcement of a trial judgment, justices on the appellate court have a few options: they can deny the request, they can grant the request in full, or they can grant the request but require a bond. Appellate justices will often require a bond when there appear to be legitimate questions regarding a judgment’s enforceability and/or there are concerns about the appellant’s willingness or ability to pay. As noted above, in Piecraft Wantagh LLC v. Willow Wood Associates LP, we were able to avoid the bond requirement for our clients—saving our clients substantial costs while also setting the stage for the arguments our appellate lawyers will present in their briefs and at oral argument.

Contact McLaughlin & Stern

With offices in New York, Connecticut and Florida, McLaughlin & Stern provides representation for a broad range of trial and appellate matters. For more information about our practice, please call 212-448-1100 or schedule an appointment online.