No Complaints With Cryptocurrency: The Applicability of CPLR 3213’s Summary Judgment in Lieu of Complaint to Obligations in Cryptocurrency

With the increasing prevalence of contracts containing an obligation by one party to pay the other party in cryptocurrency, there will undoubtedly be a concomitant increase in obligors who fail to pay. For contracts involving the payment of fiat currency, New York law provides the non-breaching party with the option to bypass traditional litigation procedure and instead make a motion for “summary judgment in lieu of complaint,” pursuant to CPLR 3213, in an effort to potentially attain a speedy resolution. But it remains an open question as to whether CPLR 3213 applies to obligations in cryptocurrency.

Summary judgment in lieu of complaint under CPLR 3213 is a useful method under New York law where, instead of serving a traditional summons and complaint, a plaintiff can serve a defendant with a summons, a notice of motion for summary judgment, and the supporting papers. Accordingly, instead of having to go through the time-consuming and costly discovery process before moving for summary judgment, CPLR 3213 can streamline the litigation process, conserve the parties’ resources, and result in a more expedient judgment for plaintiffs.

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