Leon Casper, Plaintiff–Appellant, v. Cushman & Wakefield, Defendant–Respondent.

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

Leon Casper, Plaintiff–Appellant, v. Cushman & Wakefield, Defendant–Respondent.

5785– 5786

Decided: October 20, 2011

Gonzalez, P.J., Mazzarelli, Sweeny, Abdus–Salaam, Román, JJ. Nesenoff & Miltenberg, LLP, New York (Philip A. Byler of counsel), for appellant. Clifton Budd & DeMaria, LLP, New York (Robert J. Tracy of counsel), for respondent.


Judgment, Supreme Court, New York County (Marilyn B. Dershowitz, Special Referee), entered June 2, 2010, awarding defendant Cushman & Wakefield attorneys' fees, expenses and interest in the amount of $811,350.52 pursuant to an order, same court and Special Referee, entered May 17, 2010, unanimously affirmed, without costs.   Appeal from the aforesaid order, unanimously dismissed, as subsumed in the appeal from the judgment.

In this action alleging breach of contract, unjust enrichment and quantum meruit with respect to certain real estate commissions, summary judgment dismissing the complaint was granted to defendant Cushman & Wakefield, pursuant to the orderand judgment of the Supreme Court, New York County (Louis B. York, J.), (see 74 AD3d 669 [2010], lv dismissed 16 NY3d 766 [2011] ), and the issue of reasonable legal fees to be paid by plaintiff, for the benefit of defendant, was referred to the Office of Special Referee for hearing and determination.

We find the court considered the relevant factors in determining reasonable attorneys' fees, and there was no abuse of discretion (see 542 E. 14 th St. LLC v. Lee, 66 AD3d 18, 24 [2009] ).   The record shows that, under the circumstances, defendant's attorneys performed appropriate and necessary work in light of plaintiff's claims and the substantial damages sought, generally defended the action in a manner which was reasonable, and obtained a successful result (see Matter of Karp [Cooper], 145 A.D.2d 208 [1989];  compare Hinman v. Jay's Vil. Chevrolet, 239 A.D.2d 748 [1997] ).

In light of the numerous factual allegations, theories of liability, and alleged contracts set forth in plaintiff's complaint, we reject plaintiff's contention that the court abused its discretion by failing to find that defendant should have moved to dismiss the action at the outset based on arbitrability grounds, notwithstanding that such procedural defense was ultimately the basis for the grant of summary judgment (see generally Leon v. Martinez, 84 N.Y.2d 83, 87 [1994).

We find plaintiff's remaining arguments unavailing.