Category Archives: New York Law

Would UWS Hi-Rise Developer be Forced to Demolish Top Floors?: First Department Tackles Complicated/Ambiguous Zoning Rules

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Questions presented: Was it proper for Supreme Court to annul the determination by the Board of Standards and Appeals to approve a new 55-story condominium building at 200 Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan? For Supreme Court to direct the demolition of an unspecified number of floors from the building? And were legal proceeding moot because the building was substantially completed and the Committee of Environmentally Sound Development and the Municipal Art Society of New York failed to exercise continued due diligence to halt the project by not seeking injunctive relief at every stage of the protracted litigation?

The building lot was originally part of a single parcel of land, which in the 1960s consisted of five buildings along West End Avenue. In 1987, the DOB approved a subdivision into two separate parcels that included partial tax lots and, subsequently, two mergers with four other tax lots. In 2015, the DOB approved another zoning lot subdivision, creating two new zoning lots, both of which contained partial tax lots, and filed a declaration with the City Register. The pertinent subdivided zoning lot included the improved land at 200 West End Avenue, the unimproved land at 200 Amsterdam Avenue, and portions of four other tax lots.

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New York Court of Appeals Update (February 2021) #2

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Was Grandparent Member of  Grandchild’s Immediate Family?

Answer Dispositive of Bystander “Zone of Danger” Claim

The question presented: may a grandparent, who was in close proximity to her grandchild at the time of the death-producing accident, pursue a claim for bystander recovery under a “zone of danger” theory?

The “zone of danger” rule to “allow[s] one who is . . . threatened with bodily harm in consequence of the defendant’s negligence to recover for emotional distress” flowing only from the “viewing [of] the death or serious physical injury of a member of [that person’s] immediate family”. Unsettled were “the outer limits” of the phrase “immediate family”. The Court of Appeals was not asked to fix permanent boundaries of the “immediate family.” Instead, the Court was simply to determine whether a grandchild may come within the limits of her grandparent’s “immediate family,” as that phrase is used in zone of danger jurisprudence.

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New York Court of Appeals Update (February 2021)

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Was “Mike” Bloomberg  Personally Liable For Alleged Transgressions of Supervisor at His Eponymous Firm?

Court of Appeals Addresses Question of  Owner/Leaders Vicarious Liability Under NYC Human Rights Law

GARCIA,  J. :

An employee of Bloomberg L.P., using the pseudonym “Margaret Doe,” sued Bloomberg L.P., her supervisor Nicholas Ferris, and Michael Bloomberg, asserting several causes of action arising from alleged discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse. The question before the Court of Appeals was whether Bloomberg, in addition to Bloomberg L.P., could be held vicariously liable as an employer under the New York City Human Rights Law based on his status as “owner” and officer of the company. Was Bloomberg an “employer” within the meaning of the City HRL, and could Bloomberg be held vicariously liable for Ferris’s offending conduct.

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It All Came Out in the Wash: Consignment Dispute Over Persian Rug

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Mundane business transactions involving relatively small amounts may nevertheless raise a variety of factual and legal issues. And, as a recent case illustrates, what started as a garden variety case arising out of the consignment of a Persian rug to a dealer became a far more complicated dispute with the passage of time.

Jahanshah Josh Nazimayal and Rugs and Kilim Corp. are carpet dealers. Peter Lentz owns a Persian Mahal rug. Pursuant to a consignment agreement dated June 21, 2011, Nazimayal and Kilim acknowledged receiving Lentz’s rug and agreed to try to sell it for a 20% commission.

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“Something There Is That Doesn’t Love A Wall”: Especially Between Two Outdoor Apartment Terraces

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Contiguous neighbors often get into disputes concerning protection or invasion of their property lines and rights. But, as a recent case illustrates, the legal battle can reach great heights when the claims are between the disputatious owners of neighboring outdoor terraces.

Nocola W. Cicchetti sued TRNC Associates Ltd. and 333 East 46th St. Apartment Corp. for trespass, breach of contract, and injunctive and declaratory relief arising from a dispute over the placement of a partition wall between two outdoor apartment terraces. TRNC and the coop moved to dismiss.

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Shootout at the Poonam on Park Hill Ave: Was Security Lax and Incident Foreseeable?

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Terry Kellman sued Poonam Apts. LLC, the owner of 180 Park Hill Avenue on Staten Island, and Jelene Greenfield, the building’s managing agent, for injuries sustained when he was shot at the building by Angelo Nesemi.

Kellman asserted two causes of action for negligence. In the second negligence claim, he asserted that Poonam and Greenfield were negligent in failing to take proper precautions for his safety, hiring, screening, training, supervising of its employees, and failing to adopt appropriate procedures for the protection of visitors. Poonam and Greenfield moved to dismiss the complaint.

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NYC Administrative Code Collides with Personal Guaranty of Lease At Sons of Thunder in Murray Hill

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

The recent legal tsunami of executive and administrative orders in New York State and New York City has fueled a wave of litigation between commercial landlords, tenants, and lease guarantors. As a recent case illustrates, the disputes raise issues as to the constitutionality of those orders.

204 E. 38th LLC leased space to Sons of Thunder LLC, under a ten-year lease signed in 2014, for a restaurant in Murray Hill specializing in Hawaiian and Californian beach-inspired food. Thunder stopped paying rent (and additional rent) in March 2020. John Kim signed a guaranty in connection with the lease. E.38th LLC sued Thunder and Kim.

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Good Timing is Invisible: Bad Timing Sticks Out a Mile

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Harsh facts do no automatically lead to an equitable result. In a recent case, a commercial tenant signed a New York City lease that contemplated the tenant would “build-out” the leased “white box” space into a second-floor gymnasium. The day after the signing, construction was stopped, and gyms were closed by Executive Order due to the pandemic.

ITS Soho LLC sought rescission and termination of a long-term lease for second-floor space with 598 Broadway Realty Associates, Inc. The lease term was to start on March 15, 2020. The lease required Realty to provide a “white box” to Soho, and Soho was to do its own build-out as a gym. The lease also provided no obligation to pay rent for the first six months, and the first monthly installment was not due until September. Soho took possession on March 15, 2020, and the very next day, March 16, 2020, gyms were ordered to shut down effective on March 17, 2020, due to the ongoing pandemic. Gyms were not permitted to reopen until September 2020.

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Tenant’s Pandemic Related Exercise of “Good Guy“ Guarantee

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Confronts Dispute With Landlord Over Amount Due

Commercial leases are often signed with a concomitant “good guy” guarantee, in which a principal of the tenant guarantees the payment of the financial obligations under the lease. And the guarantor can be released from such liability if both a timely notice to terminate the lease is given, and rent and additional rent are paid in full until the date of surrender. But what if the landlord and tenant disagree about the amount due to perfect the termination and release?

Monica King Contemporary LLC, a corporate tenant, and Monica King, individually, as “good guy” guarantor, sought injunctive relief from a lease with Kedskidz Realty II for the ground floor and basement space used for an art gallery and office at 39 Lispenard Street.

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Pix of House From Google Street Dispositive: Resolve Dispute Between Chauncey St. Neighbors

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Neighbors regularly and routinely litigate disputes over fallen trees and branches. A recent case had a twist: the dispositive proof was photographs from Google Maps.

Terry L. Young sued Fredrick Wide, Rory O’Flaherty, Elizabeth O’Flaherty, Arnoldo’s Tree Service and Outside Space for property damage and trespass based on a tree branch from the adjacent property, owned by Wide, falling on the rear portion of the roof of her property; the unpermitted removal of an apple and a fig tree from Young’s property; and the erection of a fence which purportedly encroaches on her property.

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