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Contract Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Booth, George

 

SC20329 - E. I. du Ponte de Nemours & Co. v. Chemtura Corp. (Breach of Contract; Whether, under New York law, the plaintiff was required to comply strictly with contractual notice provisions in order to exercise its right to indemnification under the contract. "The principal issue in this appeal is whether New York law requires a party to strictly comply with a notice provision in a commercial contract in order to recover for the other party's breach of the contract. The trial court concluded that the plaintiff, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont), had not strictly complied with the notice provisions of an asset purchase agreement (APA) and rendered judgment in favor of the defendant, Chemtura Corporation. On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the trial court improperly required strict compliance with the APA's notice provisions because New York law distinguishes between public contracts and private commercial contracts, and does not require strict compliance in commercial contracts when the contracting party receives actual notice and suffers no prejudice from the deviation. We agree with the plaintiff and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")