Property Owners to Pay $544,000 Due Under Contract, Plus $77,000 in Interest and $192,000 in Attorneys’ Fees
NEW YORK – Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. has prevailed before the American Arbitration Association, securing a total of $854,000 for online rental platform Rezi in a dispute with property owners Living Emerald and TMEMA Associates DE LLC over breach of contract.
Michael T. Carr, member, and Dejan Kezunovic, of counsel, with Rosenberg & Estis, represented Rezi, the petitioner, before Lisa S. Aldoroty of the AAA in YDC INC. d/b/a REZI vs TMEMA ASSOCIATES DE LLC and EMERALD CWE LLC.
The dispute focused on periodic lease agreements under which TMEMA and Emerald would provide multiple vacant rental apartments in St. Louis, Missouri, to Rezi to sublease through its online rental marketplace. After the agreements were signed, the property owners chose to terminate. Rezi agreed to accommodate the property owners and the parties settled on a termination fee of $544,171.
The property owners failed to honor this agreement and Rezi commenced an arbitration with the AAA to resolve the dispute. The property owners claimed that AAA did not have jurisdiction over the case and filed suit in Missouri to stay the arbitration from proceeding. Rosenberg & Estis worked with local Missouri counsel to defeat this motion, securing a ruling that AAA had exclusive jurisdiction over the issue and that the arbitration should proceed.
The property owners then claimed in arbitration that they had been fraudulently induced to enter the agreement. The AAA’s Aldoroty determined that the property owners had breached the agreement and that their defenses were without merit. She granted Rezi: $544,171 due under the contract and $77,108 in interest, as well as $192,312 in attorneys’ fees. Rezi has since commenced a proceeding in state court to confirm the award.
“This is a powerful victory for Rezi, which had operated in good faith throughout the relationship and sought to resolve the issue,” Carr said. “The arbitrator’s award demonstrates the benefits of vigorously defending a client’s rights under contract.”