Men’s BB Player Sues Westchester Community College and Faculty Based on Altered Academic Transcripts

Appeals Court Asked to Reverse Jury  Verdict Finding No Evidence of Wrongdoing by WCC & Faculty

Keith Thomas enrolled in Westchester Community College in the fall of 2011 and soon after began to play for the WCC men’s basketball team. In October 2013, WCC received an anonymous email alleging that Tyrone Mushatt, the head coach of the WCC men’s basketball team, had altered the academic transcripts of his players to help them transfer to other colleges. WCC investigated the allegations in the email and found no evidence of wrongdoing. Prior to the start of the 2014/2015 academic year, Thomas applied to transfer to St. John’s University and was accepted and offered an athletic scholarship. In October 2014, WCC discovered that Mushatt had transmitted forged transcripts to colleges on behalf of players on the WCC men’s basketball team, and that those transcripts misrepresented the credits earned by those players and thus their eligibility status. As part of this fraud, Mushatt directly transmitted a forged transcript on behalf of the Thomas to SJU, which falsely represented that he had earned an associate’s degree at WCC and was thus eligible to play basketball at SJU. In November 2014, SJU determined that Thomas’ application for admission contained material misrepresentations and cancelled his admission.

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Croton-On-Hudson Neighbors Battle Over Cultivated Common Boundary Strip

Did Salzberg or Sena Own The Formerly Unusable Forest Like Area?

Charles Andrew Salzberg and Kenneth Sena owned adjacent parcels of real property in Croton-on-Hudson. Salzberg purchased his property in 2011 from Daniel Scalzi, who had previously owned the property jointly with his former wife, Victoria Manes, until she transferred ownership to him in 2004. According to Scalzi, in 1987, he spent $12,000 clearings a portion of land along the common boundary of the properties, which at that time consisted of unusable forest-like area, and erecting a split rail fence on the strip, so as to integrate it into his lawn. Scalzi asserted that, thereafter and for the duration of his ownership of the property, he cultivated and maintained the strip, which also included a portion of a barbeque pit that had been built onto his property by a predecessor. Scalzi admitted that during the process of clearing the strip and erecting the fence, he realized, upon his discovery of concrete monuments in the ground, that he was over the boundary line of his property and encroaching somewhat onto the neighboring property. However, Scalzi asserted that he never advised the then owners of  Sena’s property or asked their permission to use a portion of their land.

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Owner of Two Adjacent Condominium Units Sought To Enclose Shared Hallway

Court Determines if Board of Managers Properly Conditioned Approval

Andy Y. Wong sought to enclose the section of hallway between apartments 12G and 12H without paying the fees required by a “hallway takeover” rule adopted by the Board the Board of Managers of the 45 W. 67th St. Condominium. The Board conditioned approval on the payment of $90,00 up front  and an annual fee based upon the square footage of the contemplated enclosure. Litigation ensued. Wong moved for summary judgment. Upon searching the record, Supreme Court denied the motion and ruled in favor of the Board. Wong appealed.

The bylaws permitted unit owners to enclose the hallway between their units “with the consent of the Residential Condominium Committee (which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld or delayed).” And authorized unit owners to raze or incorporate certain spaces “which service or enclose only [the unit owner’s] Residential Unit and do not affect access to any other Unit.”

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Daughter Alleges Mother and Sister Breached Oral Agreement to Share Account Proceeds

Court Considers If Sibling Improperly Exercised Power of Attorney/Violated GOL 5-1505

In 2011, Claire Pare allegedly entered into an oral agreement with her mother, Doris Pare. Pursuant to the terms of the alleged oral agreement, in exchange for Claire agreeing not to sue her mother over Roth accounts held by her deceased father, Doris  agreed to pay Claire an amount equal to any amounts she paid to Pare’s siblings from certain accounts. The oral agreement, in effect, allegedly required that Doris list Claire as a beneficiary on any transfer upon death accounts to the extent her siblings were beneficiaries.

After learning that Doris had paid each of her siblings at least $10,000 annually for several years while not distributing an equal amount to her, Claire commenced related actions, which were subsequently joined for purposes of discovery and trial. In Action No. 1, Claire sought to recover damages against Doris  for her breach of the alleged oral contract. In Action No. Claire sought damages against her sister, Janice Pare Shirley, who was Doris’ attorney-in-fact by a power of attorney executed by their mother in 2017, for tortious interference with contract, fraud, and violation of General Obligations Law § 5-1505.

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Saadia Sues National Society For Breach of Brooklyn Realty Contract

Court Decides If Claims Were Barred By Stipulated Damages Limitation

In December 2016, National Society of Hebrew Days Schools Inc. entered into a contract for the sale of certain real property located in Brooklyn to Jack Saadia “or an entity to be formed by him.” 1966 Coney Island, LLC was subsequently formed to purchase the property. Jack Saadia is the principal of the LLC. In May 2018, Saadia and Coney Island commenced an action against National Society for specific performance of the contract. That action was settled pursuant to a stipulation of settlement dated July 23, 2019, which altered certain terms of the contract and set a new closing date of October 24, 2019.  But the parties failed to close.

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Patron at Birthday Party in Hookah Lounge Injured by Burning Coals

Court Determines Whether Plaintiff Assumed the Risk  

Aisha Gillard alleged that while attending a birthday party at  Le Rev, a hookah lounge, a hookah that contained a bowl with burning coals fell on her, causing injuries to her chest. According to Gillard, the hookah had been placed on the table in front of her and was knocked over by patrons who were dancing nearby. Litigation ensued. Le Reve moved for summary judgment dismissing Gillard’s complaint. Supreme Court denied the motion. Le Rev appealed.

Supreme Court properly rejected Le Rev’s argument that the assumption of risk doctrine was applicable to the facts of this case. The doctrine is generally limited to personal injury claims arising from sporting events, sponsored athletic and recreative activities, or athletic or recreational pursuits that take place in designated venues. The retention of the doctrine is most persuasively justified for its utility in facilitating free and vigorous participation in athletic activities that possess enormous social value, even while they involve significantly heightened risks that may be voluntarily assumed to preserve the beneficial aspects of sports as against the prohibitive liability that would otherwise arise.

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Property Owner Sues Brokerage/Broker For Refund of Commission Paid Under Protest

Court Determines Liability Under Contract That Was Modified by Seller

Jean Julian Delly sued Arvy Realty and Javier Morales for the refund of a $9,000 real estate brokerage commission that he paid to Arvy under protest. At a nonjury trial, it was established that Hector Villatoro was a licensed real estate broker doing business as Arvy Realty. It was undisputed that, after a buyer for Delly’s property whom he had located without the assistance of a real estate broker was unable to secure financing,

Delly contacted Arvy and Morales. Arvy, a licensed real estate salesperson associated with Arvy, emailed documents to Delly, including a proposed brokerage agreement which Morales had presigned on behalf of Arvy. The form proposed agreement was titled “Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement” but was modified, apparently by Delly, to state that it was “non-exclusive.” Under its compensation provisions, the emailed presigned proposed agreement stated that Delly, as “owner,” would pay the listing broker a total commission of 4% of the selling price, and specified how the payment would potentially be divided with a cooperating broker. But Delly wrote into the agreement and initialed the words “total 2% from seller” before signing and returning the agreement to Arvy and Morales.  The agreement also included a provision “that no change, amendment, modification or termination of this AGREEMENT shall be binding on any party unless the same shall be in writing and signed by the parties.”

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Rosario Injured Falling Through Roof of Cao’s Recently Purchased Building

Court Determines If Owner Was on Notice or Had Res Ipsa Loquitur Liability

Angela Rosario was injured when her foot went through the surface of a back deck of an apartment, creating a hole in the deck through which she fell. Peter Cao and others, who owned the building, had purchased the property approximately 51 days before the accident.

Litigation ensued. Supreme Court granted Cao’s motion for summary judgment dismissing Rosario’s complaint. Rosario appealed.

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Klara and Christos Sued Cindy For Constructive Trust on Bayside Real Estate

Court Determines If Daughter Held Property in Trust For Parents

Klara and Christos Koumantaros sued Cindy, their daughter, to impose a constructive trust on real property located in Bayside.  When the property was purchased title was vested to the Klara and Cindy. Klara and Christos alleged that the parties had an oral agreement whereby Cindy agreed to hold title to the property as a convenience to them and to relinquish her interest to Christos upon his request.

Following a nonjury trial, Supreme Court issued a judgment, which declared that Cindy held title to the property as a constructive trustee for the benefit of the Klara and Christos and that they were the rightful owners of the property. Cindy appealed.

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Employee Trips and Falls Off Cubicle Chair While Activating Lighting Control Motion Sensors

Was Managing Agent Liable For Launching and Instrument of Harm That Caused Accident?

Kylie Long tripped and fell on a chair in her cubicle, sustaining injuries, while getting up to activate the motion sensors that controlled the lighting that had gone off in her employer’s office building. Litigation ensued against Cushman & Wakefield, Inc., the managing agent for the building.  C&W moved for summary judgment dismissing Long’s complaint. The motion was denied. C&W appealed.

Supreme Court determined that issues of fact existed as to whether C&W, which had contracted with the employer to provide property management services, owed a duty of care to Long. There were issues of fact as to whether Long detrimentally relied on C&W to perform its obligations under the contract to keep the premises safe. C&W’s contention that Long could not claim detrimental reliance absent her actual knowledge of the property management agreement between C&W and her employer was improperly raised for the first time on appeal and, in any event, was unavailing in light of Long’s testimony, which raised an issue of fact as to her knowledge of the agreement.

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