Pickwick Intl. v. Tomato Music Co – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In Pickwick Intl. v. Tomato Music Co., 119 Misc 2d 227, 230, 462 NYS2d 781 [Sup Ct, Kings County 1983], judgment was entered against the defendants in a Minnesota trial court for $412,242.53 based on plaintiff's affidavit, plaintiff's attorney's ex parte conversation with the Minnesota judge, and without the defendants appearing on the hearing date.

Defendants then moved in the Minnesota trial court to vacate the judgment. The trial court ordered the judgment vacated on the condition that defendants filed security in an amount exceeding the judgment. Defendants failed to post the required security bond, and instead filed a notice of appeal of the underlying judgment and then petitioned the Minnesota appellate court for a stay of enforcement of the judgment without the necessity of posting security.

Defendants' request for a security-free stay was denied by the Minnesota appellate court, which instead directed an expedited appeal.

The New York court, in addressing whether defendants were entitled to a stay of the enforcement proceedings under CPLR 5404 (a) and (b), held that even though the Minnesota judgment was not issued on default, the grounds asserted by de fendants and the principals of equity required that it issue a stay in this state, without security, pending the outcome of the Minnesota appeal.

In Pickwick, the New York court failed to specify those equitable grounds upon which it based its decision not to require security. It can only be assumed, however, that these grounds included the Minnesota court entering judgment after "plaintiff's counsel had met with the judge, ex parte, and without disclosing to the judge his conversation with defendant's local counsel" regarding defendants' compliance with a Minnesota court order, as well as the general miscommunication between defendants' New York and Minnesota attorneys. (Id. at 228.)