The Third Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined there was a question of fact whether defendant Rock Solid was in a joint venture with defendant Catamount at the time Catamount entered a contract with plaintiffs. Plaintiffs sought specific performance of the contract. Supreme Court had dismissed the action against Rock Solid finding that Rock Solid was not in privity of contract with plaintiffs. However, because plaintiffs alleged Rock Solid and Catamount were joint venturers, and because Rock Solid did not address that issue in its motion for summary judgment, the motion should not have been granted:
Liability under a contract can arise in the absence of privity where it is established that the defendant is in a joint venture or partnership with a signatory to the contract (see Partnership Law § 28…). “A joint venture is an association of two or more persons to carry out a single business enterprise for profit, for which purpose they combine their property, money, effects, skill and knowledge” … . “The essential elements of a joint venture are an agreement manifesting the intent of the parties to be associated as joint venturers, a contribution by the coventurers to the joint undertaking (i.e., a combination of property, financial resources, effort, skill or knowledge), some degree of joint proprietorship and control over the enterprise; and a provision for the sharing of profits and losses” … .
Here, Supreme Court concluded that Rock Solid established its prima facie entitlement to summary judgment as a matter of law by demonstrating that it was not a party to the 2005 agreement … . … [T]he court failed to address whether Rock Solid satisfied its additional burden to refute plaintiffs' assertions in the complaint that Rock Solid was Catamount's joint venturer or partner. Alper Rest., Inc. v Catamount Dev. Corp., 2016 NY Slip Op 02509, 3rd Dept 3-31-16
CONTRACT LAW (LIABILITY UNDER CONTRACT CAN ARISE IN THE ABSENCE OF PRIVITY WHERE A PARTY IS A JOINT VENTURER OR PARTNER WITH A SIGNATORY TO THE CONTRACT)/JOINT VENTURES (LIABILITY UNDER CONTRACT CAN ARISE IN THE ABSENCE OF PRIVITY WHERE A PARTY IS A JOINT VENTURER OR PARTNER WITH A SIGNATORY TO THE CONTRACT)