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Court Has Authority to Determine if Undefined Term in Contract is Ambiguous

February 2, 2009

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On January 6, 2009, the New York Supreme Court granted a plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment in a contract dispute that arose over the term “visitor.” The defendant agreed to advertise on the plaintiff’s website provided the plaintiff had 36,000 visitors to the site. The plaintiff met this number, although the “visitors” may have included repeated users of the site. The defendant argued that the term “visitor” in the contract, referred to “unique visitors” and not repeat users. The court disagreed noting that the determination of whether a term in a contract is ambiguous is a question of law. Although the term visitor was not defined in the contract, the court believed that the plain meaning was unambiguous. Accordingly, the court granted plaintiff’s motion.
Thanks to Bill Kirrane for his contribution on this post.
<a href="http://decisions.courts.state.ny.us/fcas/FCAS_docs/2009JAN/3001028302008001SCIV.pdf">http://decisions.courts.state.ny.us/fcas/FCAS_docs/2009JAN/3001028302008001SCIV.pdf</a>

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