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Yonkers v. Otis Elevator Co. - 844 F.2d 42 (2d Cir. 1988)

Rule:

Plaintiffs may not defeat a motion for summary judgment merely by pointing to a potential issue of fact; there must be a genuine issue of material fact.

Facts:

In the mid-1970s, plaintiffs, City of Yonkers and Yonkers Community Development Agency, adopted an urban renewal plan to allow Otis Elevator Company (Otis) to stay in the city. Otis stayed in the city for a number of years; however, in the early 1980s, Otis' plant became economically unfeasible and they closed it down. Plaintiffs brought suit against defendants Otis and United Technologies Corporation (United), Otis’ parent, for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and equitable estoppel. Plaintiffs alleged that there was an implied promise by defendants that they would continue the operation of their plant for a reasonable period of time after the urban renewal project. The district court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment and imposed a sanction of $5,000 upon plaintiffs and their attorney for filing an unjustified fraud claim.

Issue:

Did the defendants impliedly promise to the plaintiffs that they would continue the operation of their plant for a reasonable period of time after the urban renewal project, thereby necessitating the defeat of defendants’ motion for summary judgment?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The Court affirmed the judgment of the district court because there was no evidence of an implied promise by defendants to keep the plant open for a reasonable period of time and plaintiffs' attorney had no proper basis in law or fact to file fraud causes of action against defendants. According to the Court, the implied promise for which plaintiffs contended was not only outside the contemplation of the parties, but indeed extraordinary.

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