A company by the name of "In Ink Ghostwriting" claimed to have provided “editing and ghostwriting services” to Dianne Fener. And after the contract was terminated, the company filed a small claims case in Kings County to recover some $9,427.50 in unpaid fees and charges.
But the Civil Court judge felt compelled to grant Fener's motion to dismiss in light of the following language which appeared in the parties’ agreement:
"Dispute Resolution. In the unlikely event of a dispute or controversy between us, and subject to the requirements of applicable New York law, you agree that any dispute or controversy between us or arising under or relating to or connected with this Agreement shall be resolved exclusively by binding arbitration in the City of White Plains, County of Westchester, State of New York . . . . Any order from any such arbitrator may be enforced solely and exclusively in the Supreme Court, in the State of New York, in the County of Westchester . . . .
Provided however, that notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event that any such dispute may be heard by a small claims court, then either party hereto has the exclusive right to choose to seek a remedy in a small claims court.
For purposes of (a) such dispute resolution and (b) the enforcement of all of the terms of this Agreement, you consent to exclusive and sole jurisdiction in Westchester County, New York, and waive any claim of inconvenient forum."
Believing that the preceding language allowed it to bring its case in any small claims forum, In Ink appealed to the Appellate Term, Second Department. But, alas, the AT2 concurred with the court below, and concluded that any dispute needed to be heard in Westchester County, including in its small claims part.
Think Westchester County spooked these ghostwriters?
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In Ink Ghostwriting, LLC v Fener