Plaintiff entered into a contract to buy a mixed-use building for slightly more than $2 million. Plaintiff’s downpayment was $200,000. The transaction was to be all cash, as-is, and to close six months after the date of the contract. Before that closing date, plaintiff asked permission to show the property to a bank to obtain financing, which was granted. The closing was not held on the scheduled date and defendant-seller gave time of the essence notice for a date about three weeks later. Plaintiff did not appear on that date. Defendant held plaintiff in contempt and declared that it was retaining the downpayment. Plaintiff sued for specific performance. Defendant answered and cross-claimed for a declaration that it was entitled to keep the downpayment. Defendant thereafter moved for summary judgment. The lower court granted summary judgment dismissing the complaint but also denied the counterclaim. Both parties appealed.
Finding that plaintiff could not demonstrate its financial ability to close “on the closing date,” and did not appear to close, hence its breach. As a result, the Second Department affirmed the dismissal but reversed as to the defendant, granting its counterclaim on the downpayment.
Ashkenazi v. Miller