No Summary Judgment Where Counterclaim is Equal To or Greater Than Amount Demanded in Complaint

Pronti v. Grigoriou, 853 N.Y.S.2d 718 (N.Y. App. Div. 2008)

In this case, a construction company filed a mechanic’s lien foreclosure action against a homeowner.  The parties had executed a written contract providing that Pronti would find an independent contractor to install vinyl siding on Grigoriou’s residence.  After Grigoriou paid the full contract price of $11,000, she refused to pay a $500 cleanup fee provided for in the contract.  Grigoriou alleged that Pronti performed the work in an “unworkmanlike manner” and counterclaimed for $10,520 in damages.

The trial court denied Pronti’s motion for summary judgment as to the cleanup fee.  The Appellate Division affirmed, pointing to the general rule that summary judgment is not appropriate where the amount of the counterclaim is equal to or greater than the amount demanded in the complaint.

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