New York City Civil Court - 746 NYS 2d 790, 192 Misc. 2d 743,746 N.Y.S.2d 790
In the 2002 case of Bush v. Protravel International, a New York City Civil Court ruled on a disagreement between a Staten Island resident and a safari operator and travel agent. The resident sued the defendants for breach of contract after they refused to return her deposit when she canceled a safari vacation. She claimed she had properly notified them before the specified date, but the defendants argued she had missed the deadline.
The court found that due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks' impact on phone service, the resident had faced an "objective impossibility" that excused her from satisfying contract terms. The court decided the defendants had violated the contract and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by keeping her deposit. The summary judgment against the defendants was denied, and they were ordered to return the deposit.
This case demonstrates how courts use state law and contract principles to interpret agreements, considering both expressed and implied obligations while balancing justice, fairness, and party autonomy. It also highlights the significance of good faith and fair dealing in commercial dealings.
The plaintiff reserved a safari through ProTravel with Micato Safaris, but due to the September 11, 2001, attack and other alerts, the safari was cancelled. The defendants refused to refund the plaintiff's deposit, claiming the plaintiff agreed to a cancellation policy outlined in the brochure. The court previously denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment since the economic burden of trip cancellation cannot fall on the traveler after September 11th. However, the defendants submitted a late affidavit that the court considered. The plaintiff argues that she couldn't contact ProTravel before September 27, 2001, due to circumstances beyond her control, and questions the validity of the cancellation policy. The defendants provide phone records that showed they were open for business, but the plaintiff argues that it was impossible to make a call from Staten Island that transmitted via the trunk lines downtown. The case determines if the plaintiff's late notice of cancellation is excused due to the World Trade Center's attack and the civil unrest that followed. The defendants' motion for summary judgment requires showing no genuine issue of material fact and entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, considering the lack of evidence presented.
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