Massey v. Byrne

NEW YORK COUNTY
Contracts

New York Law Journal

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Justice Saliann Scarpulla

In an action for breach of contract and constructive trust involving a romantic relationship, the defendants moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint against them. Massey asserted that he and Byrne had a "confidential and fiduciary relationship" and "lived together as life partners from 1997 until 2007." Massey also alleged that he and Byrne worked together at Byrne Communications during this period of time. In his action for constructive trust, Massey contended that throughout the time they lived together and worked together, Byrne made promises to Massey regarding Byrne's intentions to share their assets. He alleged that throughout their 10-year relationship the parties agreed, and Byrne represented and promised, that their assets would be jointly used to maintain their lifestyle together and "invest in their mutual benefit." The court found a question of fact as to when the parties reached the alleged oral agreement, or if it existed at all. The court also held that defendants failed to make a prima facie showing of entitlement to dismissal on the merits on the constructive trust cause of action, finding a question of fact as to whether there was a confidential or fiduciary relationship between the parties.

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