“Wrong Way” Biker Hits “Jay-Walker” on E. 55th: NY Law and NYC Reg Collide Btw. Lex. and Third

This originally appeared on the SGR Blog.

A deliveryman drives his  bicycle against traffic on a one way street.  A pedestrian crosses in the middle of the block. The biker hits the jay- walker. Litigation ensues. Both violated the law.  Who is at fault?

Antoinette Montague was struck by an employee  of T&W Restaurant, Inc. while he was making deliveries on a bicycle. The employee was riding the bike against the one-way direction of travel on East 55th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues– a violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law.

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Can Buyer of Building with Regulated Unit Back Out of Deal After HSTPA?

Copyright by, and republished with permission of, Apartment Law Insider.

Legal blogs are “agog” with speculation as to the viability, during the pandemic, of force majeure and impossibility/frustration-of-performance defenses to obligations under leases, mortgages, and other real property contracts. A recent case examines the viability of those defenses in another context—a change in law.

On April 19, 2019, Malachite Servs., LLC agreed to purchase a building in Midtown Manhattan from 148-150 E. 28th St LLC for $6.668 million, with a down payment of $668,000 but no mortgage contingency clause.

In June 2019, New York passed the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA). According to Malachite, that caused the appraisal value of the premises to fall to $5.7 million.

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Finger[pointing] Backfires on Grand St.

This originally appeared on the SGR Blog.

Parking space disputes between neighbors, when coupled, conflated  and complicated with claims of adverse possession, can ignite a legal conflagration. And, as a recent case illustrates, jurisprudential fireworks  intensify exponentially where the parties asserting and defending their right to park is a group of attorneys.

Kenneth J. Finger and family members owed a parcel  on Grand Street in White Plains adjacent to a lot owned by Grand St. Realty, LLC.  In May 2016, the Fingers filed suit for a judgment declaring they had acquired, by adverse possession, title to a 24-inch strip of land on Grand’s property. The strip runs between the contiguous parcels for the length of a driveway separating the properties, and a 4-foot strip at the rear of Grand’s land that runs between the two parcels.

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Warnings: “TRAIL CLOSED…STOP, RESTRICTED AREA”: Did Hikers Nevertheless Have a Claim After Being Hit By a Falling Tree?

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that some lawsuits never should have been filed. A recent case makes that point.

Unidentified parents, on behalf of themselves and their child (let’s call them the “Walkers”), brought a premises liability action against New York State. They sought damages for injuries sustained when they were struck by a falling tree at Letchworth State Park — and alleged that the State was negligent in failing to inspect the park’s trees and protect visitors to the park from injury.

The Court of Claims denied the Walkers’ motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of liability and granted the State’s cross motion for summary judgment dismissing the claim. The Walkers appealed.

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Court Declines to Stop Illegal Parties During the Pandemic

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Copyright by, and republished with permission of, Habitat Magazine.

Most of the litigation triggered by the coronavirus pandemic so far has involved business disputes – over the terms of commercial leases, for instance, or over claims for business-interruption coverage that were denied by insurance carriers. But a recent decision in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn could be the harbinger of a coming wave of COVID-inspired lawsuits in residential properties, including co-ops and condominiums.

In a residential building at 100 S. 4th St. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the owner claimed a resident was a “long-term disrupter” who hosted numerous large gatherings in his apartment, endangering the lives of other residents and brazenly flouting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “New York State on Pause” Executive Order that went into effect March 22. That order stated: “Non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason (e.g. parties, celebrations or other social events) are canceled or postponed at this time.”

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Best Lawyers in America© Recognizes 63 SGR Attorneys in 2021

This was originally posted on the SGR blog.

ATLANTA (August 20, 2020) – Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP (SGR) is pleased to announce that 63 of its attorneys were selected for inclusion in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, the leading peer-review-based directory of legal practitioners. SGR has continued to increase the number of firm attorneys recognized each year, with 18 additional selected in 2021.

The following SGR attorneys were selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in their respective practice areas for 2021:

New York

·    Roger Juan Maldonado (Litigation – Intellectual Property)

·    Dana Mark (Trusts and Estates)

·    Victor M. Metsch (Litigation – Real Estate)

·    Russell Wolfson (Construction Law)

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Cayuga Nation Battles “Billions” at Showtime: Did Episode Constitute Actionable “Libel by Fiction”?

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Did an episode of  “Billions” on Showtime defame Cayuga Nation and Clint Halftown? Their suit for defamation against Showtime Networks Inc., Brian Koppelman, Andrew Ross Sorkin and David Levien addressed that question.

The suit arose from allegedly defamatory depictions of Cayuga Nation and Halftown in the television series Billions which was broadcast by Showtime Networks Inc. Cayuga Nation and Halftown claimed that they were portrayed on the series as being involved in an illegal casino land deal, as well as bribery of a public official and blackmail. But acknowledged that, at the end of every episode in the series, a disclaimer was shown stating that the “events and characters depicted [in the show] are fictitious” and that “[a]ny similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events, is purely coincidental.”

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Mr. Rogers Neighborhood? NOT!!! Snowblower Fusillade and Surveillance System: Un-neighborly

This originally appeared on the SGR Blog.

“[Don’t] you be my neighbor”—if you trespass on my land; snowblow my house; and spy on me.

Theresa Cangemi and Gretchen Yeager/Steven Nichols own adjoining parcels of land on Oneida Lake. Yeager/Nichols have an easement/right-of-way over the southernmost portion of Cangemi’s property for the purposes of ingress and egress only. After a property dispute arose, Cangemi filed suit against Yeager/Nichols asserting a claim under Civil Rights Law § 52-a (private right of action for installation of surveillance equipment without consent) and claims of trespass and private nuisance and seeking injunctive relief. Cangemi moved for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order enjoining Yeager/Nichols from trespassing on or damaging her property and from harassing her. Supreme Court denied the motion. Cangemi appealed.

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Dog Chasing Cat Provokes Additional Insured/Vicious Propensities Imbroglio

This post originally appeared on the SGR Blog.

Scenario: Dog chases a cat. Guest gets caught in cable securing the dog. Dog owner and guest are significant others. Accident occurs at their former abode where he (but not she) then resides. Victim asserts claim on homeowners’ policy. Carrier disclaims. And (of course) litigation ensues.

Jo Ann Davis was injured on April 23, 2017 when visiting the house owned and occupied by Timothy Phillips at 11 East Avenue in Cortland. Davis fell after becoming entangled in the cable securing Phillips’s dog (Sam) just as the canine began to chase a cat.

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Transfer Triggers $900,000+ In State and Local Transfer Taxes: But No Flip Tax Due?

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Proprietary leases for units at residential cooperatives often prohibit an assignment of the lease without the prior written consent of the board of managers. But what are the ground rules if the unit is owned by a limited liability company; the interests in the LLC are assigned: and the lease does not expressly prohibit or require board approval for such an assignment?

A recent case addressed the question: Does a change in the beneficial ownership of an LLC/lessee violate a provision of a proprietary lease which required board approval for any assignment of the lease or the shares appurtenant thereto, “including any interest therein,” but did not expressly prohibit changes in the beneficial ownership of the lessee?

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