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New York Partner Obtains Defense Verdict, Again, for Credit Union Client

New York City Partner Brian S. Gitnik obtained a defense verdict on behalf of our client, a federally insured credit union, against Plaintiff who was a member of their financial institution. In his original action, Plaintiff disputed a significant number of charges for insufficient funds fees that had been debited from his account. Plaintiff claimed that he was traveling outside of the country during part of the time period the transactions took place and therefore he could not have attempted the transactions that resulted in the related fees. Plaintiff originally asserted causes of action for: 1) Breach of Contract or Warranty; 2) Breach of Fiduciary Duty; 3) Unfair Deceptive Trade Practices; 4) violation of New York General Business Law Section 349; and, 5) Conversion.

The initial jury trial for this action occurred in Bronx County New York in 2017. At that time, Brian attained a directed verdict for our client, successfully arguing that Plaintiff failed to meet the prima facie burden on any of the causes of action. Plaintiff appealed the Court’s determination and, after several years, the Appellate Court revived Plaintiff’s Breach of Contract claim, finding that the trial court judge erred in not allowing the claim to proceed to the jury.

In October 2023, a re-trial occurred on only the Breach of Contract claim. The trial action commenced with jury selection in Bronx County, and continued for a total of 4 days. After closing arguments the jury deliberated for approximately 90 minutes before returning a defense verdict, again in favor of our client. The jury found that although Plaintiff had proven the existence of a valid agreement between the parties, the defense had sufficiently demonstrated that Plaintiff could not meet the burden of proving either that our client breached that agreement, or that Plaintiff had sustained any quantifiable measure of damages.

Brian is an experienced litigator handling every aspect of litigation from offering advisory opinions through alternative dispute resolution (ADR), settlement or trial. He focuses his practice on legal, executive and other professional malpractice claims. Brian also represents clients in premises, coverage, labor and employment, general liability and defamation claims.