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February 3, 2017 News

Appellate Court Affirms Decision Dismissing Claims Against Almod Diamonds Ltd.

February 3, 2017 – The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department unanimously affirmed a lower court’s dismissal (also obtained by Morrison Cohen) of a multi-million dollar action against Almod Diamonds Ltd., a jewelry business operated through Almod and its Diamond International brand, one of world’s largest jewelry manufacturers and retailers.  The plaintiff claimed that he owned 10% of Almod based upon an oral agreement made in the early 1990s, under which plaintiff would receive a 10% interest in Almod at an unspecified date in the future.  Plaintiff claimed that his claim accrued when he first demanded delivery of his 10% interest, shortly before commencing suit against Almod.  

Morrison Cohen, however, argued that plaintiff’s claim accrued at the time he executed a 1995 letter agreement that was inconsistent with the earlier oral agreement.  Because Plaintiff could have demanded performance of the oral agreement when he signed the letter agreement 18 years earlier, Morrison Cohen argued that any claim under the oral agreement was time-barred.  The trial court adopted Morrison Cohen’s arguments and dismissed the action, and the First Department has now agreed.  The First Department held that plaintiff’s claims for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, constructive trust and breach of fiduciary duty accrued upon execution of the letter agreement, and were not extended by later demands by plaintiff for performance of the oral agreement. 

The First Department’s decision here is an important reminder that a thorough examination of the parties’ interactions is crucial to determine the date upon which a cause of action accrues for statute of limitations purposes. 

The Morrison Cohen team included Y. David Scharf, David A. Piedra and Latisha V. Thompson.