Sinrich v. Fernwood Enterprises
NEW YORK COUNTY
Justice Eileen Rakower
Sinrich, decedent's mother, sought to enforce an alleged contract with decedent's wife, Cornwall, in which Conrwall promised to pay Sinrich a share of decedent's U.K. estate. Sinrich moved for summary judgment; Cornwall moved to dismiss the complaint. Sinrich claimed she performed under the agreement with Cornwall to sign a deed of disclaimer preventing tax consequences for both parties, and Cornwall was to distribute Sinrich's one-third portion of decedent's U.K. estate upon probate. The court found Sinrich failed to make a prima facie showing of entitlement to judgment, ruling Cornwall made such a showing in her cross-motion. The court concluded there was no enforceable contract, noting the email from Cornwall to Sinrich and subsequent correspondence did not constitute an enforceable contract as the agreement was illusory. Also, Cornwall's statement disclaiming any responsibility demonstrated she lacked the requisite intent to be bound by any terms of the agreement. The court stated that even if it were to find the emails were an enforceable contract, it would be void due to its illegal purpose of evading U.K. inheritance tax liability. Thus, Sinrich's motion was denied.