The First Department, reversing (modifying) Supreme Court, determined plaintiff adequately alleged a release (raised by defendants as an affirmative defense) was the product of overreaching and therefore did not bar certain causes of action:
… [T]he amended complaint, along with the affirmation plaintiff submitted in opposition to defendants’ motion, sufficiently alleges that the release was the result of overreaching or unfair circumstances. A court must accept as true the facts as alleged in the complaint and submissions in opposition to the motion, accord the plaintiff the benefit of every possible favorable inference, and determine only whether the facts as alleged fit within any cognizable legal theory … . Under the alleged facts, the affirmative defense of the release does not entirely bar plaintiff’s action at this stage of the litigation. “[I]t is inequitable to allow a release to bar a claim where. . .it is alleged. . .that it was the result of overreaching or unfair circumstances” … . Chadha v Wahedna, 2022 NY Slip Op 04089, First Dept 6-23-22
Practice Point: At least at the motion-to-dismiss stage, adequate allegations that a release was the product of overreaching or unfair circumstances will preclude dismissal of causes action which would have been barred by a valid release.