R&E Secures Court Victory Against Amazon For Durst Organization: NYS Supreme Court Rules Amazon Breached Lease LOI, is Liable for Damages

DOLP 1133 Properties II LLC v Amazon Corporate, LLC.

New York State Supreme Court, Decided January 6, 2020
Featuring Deborah Riegel and Ethan R. Cohen

Rosenberg & Estis secured a victory against Amazon in New York State Supreme Court on behalf of The Durst Organization. The Supreme Court issued a summary judgment ruling that Amazon is liable to Durst for damages for breaching a Letter of Intent. The dispute focuses on a Letter of Intent signed by Amazon in July 2014 for a 10-floor, 310,000-square-foot lease at the Durst Organization’s office tower, 1133 Avenue of the Americas. The LOI, signed while the lease was being negotiated, prohibited Amazon from negotiating for space at other properties as Durst was performing extensive renovations to its space to accommodate Amazon’s need for expedited occupancy and was similarly agreeing not to continue its very advanced negotiations with another tenant. The LOI required the organizations to negotiate in good faith and on an exclusive basis, and it expressly prohibited Amazon from negotiating with any other landlord for the same space requirements. The Supreme Court ruled that Amazon “unquestionably breached the LOI,” negotiating with Vornado and two other property owners for space in “blatant violation” of the LOI’s exclusivity clause while Durst was performing renovations at Amazon’s direction. Amazon eventually signed a lease with Vornado at 7 West 34th Street.