The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the liquidated damages portion of a lease agreement was unenforceable. Here the complaint alleged that defendant did not vacate the leased premises on time and sought holdover damages:
“[W]hether a clause represents an enforceable liquidation of damages or an unenforceable penalty is a question of law, giving due consideration to the nature of the contract and the circumstances”‘ … . An enforceable liquidated damages clause is “an estimate . . . of the extent of the injury that would be sustained as a result of breach of the agreement,” thereby embodying “the principle of just compensation for loss” … .
Here, the defendant demonstrated, prima facie, that the amended agreement imposed an unenforceable penalty, and the plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact in opposition. The damages section of the amended agreement provided the plaintiff with a remedy for the whole extent of any injury that would be sustained as a result of a holdover, “in addition to” the sum of $5,000 per day in liquidated damages. The liquidated damages clause therefore is not “an estimate . . . of the extent of the injury that would be sustained” … , but rather an unenforceable penalty … . 555 W. John St., LLC v Westbury Jeep Chrysler Dodge, Inc., 2017 NY Slip Op 02769, 2nd Dept 4-12-17
CONTRACT LAW (LIQUIDATED DAMAGES PROVISION IN THIS LEASE AGREEMENT WAS AN UNENFORCEABLE PENALTY)/LANDLORD-TENANT (LIQUIDATED DAMAGES, LIQUIDATED DAMAGES PROVISION IN THIS LEASE AGREEMENT WAS AN UNENFORCEABLE PENALTY)/LIQUIDATED DAMAGES (LIQUIDATED DAMAGES PROVISION IN THIS LEASE AGREEMENT WAS AN UNENFORCEABLE PENALTY)