Double Recovery and the Single Satisfaction Rule

New York’s General Obligations Law has been held to bar creditors from recovering upon a debt twice. This is commonly referred to as the Single Satisfaction Rule. Clearly, the someone was listening to the Rolling Stones. In a recent case I opposed a motion for Summary Judgment against a guarantor of a debt raising this issue of Single Satisfaction of a debt recovery. Here is a quick excerpt of my brief:

It is well established that a creditor is “entitled to one satisfaction of [its] debt and no more.” Five Star Bank v. CNH Capital America, LLC, 55 A.D.3d 1279 (4th Dept. 2008)(citing Whitestone Sav. & Loan Assn. v Allstate Ins. Co., 28 N.Y.2d 332, 335 (1971); see generally Alaimo v First Fed. Sav. & Loan Assn. of Rochester, 52 A.D.2d 251, 254 (4th Dept. 1976), affd 42 NY2d 1030 (1977)).

“In states that have adopted the Model Joint Obligations Act, any consideration received by the creditor from one or more of the debtors that satisfies, in whole or in part, their obligations, is credited on the debts of all the debtors to whom those paying the consideration were not sureties.” 12 Williston on Contracts § 36:14. The Effect Of Full Or Partial Satisfaction By Fewer Than All The Obligors (citing, N.Y. Gen. Oblig. Law § 15-103)

General Obligations Law § 15-103, entitled “Consideration to be Credited toCo-obligor”, provides in its entirety, as follows:

“The amount or value of any consideration received by the obligee from one or more of several obligors, or from one or more of joint, or of joint and several obligors, in whole or in partial satisfaction of their obligations, shall be credited to the extent of the amount received on the obligations of all co-obligors to whom the obligor or obligors giving the consideration did not stand in the relation of a surety.”


If you have any legal questions or need help with the single satisfaction defense or unjust enrichment defense in a collection action, please contact Attorney Scott Lanin at (212) 764-7250 x 201 or use the contact form in the right sidebar.

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