The Second Department affirmed Supreme Court’s denial of a motion to dismiss brought by a defendant who had entered an indemnity agreement with a judgment debtor. The Second Department explained that plaintiff had stated a cause of action based upon plaintiff’s being a third-party beneficiary of the indemnity agreement:
Pursuant to CPLR 5227, a special proceeding may be commenced by a judgment creditor “against any person who it is shown is or will become indebted to the judgment debtor.” Such a proceeding is properly asserted against one who agreed to indemnify the judgment debtor in the underlying proceeding. The judgment creditor stands in the judgment debtor’s shoes, and may enforce the obligations owed to the judgment debtor by the indemnifying party… * * *.
Here …the judgment debtor … was not a party to the indemnification agreement. However, the Supreme Court properly determined that [the judgment debtor] was an intended third-party beneficiary of the indemnification agreement. Parties asserting third-party beneficiary rights under a contract must establish: (1) the existence of a valid and binding contract between other parties; (2) that the contract was intended for their benefit; and (3) that the benefit to them is sufficiently immediate, rather than incidental, to indicate the assumption by the contracting parties of a duty to compensate them if the benefit is lost…. Where performance is rendered directly to a third party, it is presumed that the third party is an intended beneficiary of the contract….
Indemnity contracts are to be strictly construed to avoid reading into them duties which the parties did not intend to be assumed…. Here, however, the intent … to benefit [the judgment debtor] is apparent from the face of the indemnification agreement… . Matter of White Plains Plaza Realty LLC, 2013 NY Slip Op 05220, 2nd Dept 7-10-13