Category Archives: Litigation

In-Ground Swimming Pool Collapsed Causing Collateral Damage:

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Was Loss Covered by Insurance Policy or Barred by Exclusion?

Homeowners’ insurance policies cover generic enumerated risks, on the one hand, but also expressly exclude certain coverages, on the other. As a recent case illustrates, a Court may be required to determine whether a particular loss is covered or excluded.

Evan and Jennifer Klein owned a home in Suffolk County insured under a homeowner’s insurance policy issued by State Farm Insurance Company. During the coverage period, the Klein’s in-ground swimming pool collapsed, causing damage to the pool walls, brick border, and patio area surrounding the pool. They submitted a claim for coverage under the policy.

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Colossal Kerfuffle Over Ownership of Falafel Café:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Was Hand-Written Note an Enforceable Contract of Sale?

Andres Tobon sued Pita Off The Corner, Inc., Falafel Off the Corner, Inc. Leor Yohanan, Miriam Yohanan and other members of their family for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and fraud, arising from the failed sale of a Manhattan falafel restaurant. Tobon moved for summary judgment on his second and third causes of action in the principal sum of $50,000.

In support of his application, Tobon submitted the verified complaint. The attorney-verified answer with counterclaim; an attorney’s affirmation; a transcript of an appearance by Tobon by counsel, and Leor Yohanan, pro se, before Justice Kathryn Freed on an order to show cause filed by Tobor in a prior action; and a one-page, undated, handwritten document signed by Leor and purporting to memorialize the terms of the sale of the falafel restaurant to him.

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Pedestrian Trips and Falls On Raised Sidewalk Near Overgrown Tree in Queens:

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Court Navigates Administrative Code: Was City Negligent/ Liable for Injury?

Commentators will probably disagree on whether or not the rules and exceptions of the New York City Administrative Code are as (or more) complicated and difficult to navigate than the United States Code, in general, or the Internal Revenue Code, in particular. But, as a recent case illustrates, the labyrinthine Administrative Code arguably gives its convoluted Federal counterparts a run for the money.

On March 5, 2017, Konstantinos Gallis allegedly was injured when he tripped and fell on an uneven or raised condition of a sidewalk that abutted property in Queens owned by 23-21 33 Road, LLC. The accident occurred on a part of the sidewalk that was near a tree. Gallis filed a personal injury action against the LLC and the City of New York. The LLC failed to answer the complaint and Gallis was granted leave to enter a default judgment against the LLC. Gallis then moved for summary judgment on the issue of liability against the City. Contending that the City negligently maintained the tree near the accident site, thereby allowing the tree roots to grow and lift the sidewalk, creating a dangerous condition. Supreme Court denied the motion. Gallis appealed.

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UCC Lien Filed Against 16th Century Portrait of de` Medici by del Sarto:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Would Court Direct Immediate Filing of Termination Statement?

The Uniform Commercial Code authorizes the filing of a lien  to perfect a security interest in personal property. But, as a recent case illustrates, the Court may be called upon to adjudicate the validity of the filing/lien.

A 16th century painting, entitled Portrait of Ottaviano de` Medici by the artist Andrea del Sarto, was scheduled for a UCC auction sale at Sotheby’s. Virginia Bonito challenged the validity of a UCC-1 lien filed by Ian Peck, Empire Chesapeake Holdings, LLC and Chelsea Fine Arts Holding, LLC against the painting in May 2021. Arguing that they had no security interest. Bonito moved for injunctive relief and Peck, Chesapeake and Chelsea cross-moved to dismiss Bonito’s complaint.

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After Medical Complaints: Sing Sing Prisoner Injured in Fall Down Stairs

This was originally posted on the DGR Blog.

Was New York State Liable for Medical Malpractice/Negligence?

A convict complained about lower back pain radiating into his legs and asked to be moved to a cell on the medical treatment floor to by-pass the stairs.  The request was denied and the prisoner was subsequently injured when he fell on the stairs.

The convict sued. Was the State liable?

On or about January 14, 2016, James Marsh was on his way to sick call at approximately 5:30-6:00 a.m. at the Sing Sing Correctional Facility from A Block, K company, 50 cell. As he descended the stairs, upon turning onto J Company, while holding onto the railing, he fell down the stairs when his right leg gave out due to prior severe lower back pain radiating into his legs.

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Movie Theatre Manager Uses Baton/Pellet Gun Against Unruly Patron:

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Were Theatre Owners Vicariously Liable for Injury to Customer?

Unruly patrons at a crowded theatre are not unusual. But are the owners of movie theatres liable for the injury to an aggressive patron where the responsive actions of the manager were prohibited but foreseeable?

On the evening of April 23, 2011, Victor Norwood and several friends, went to the AMC Lowes Roosevelt Field 8 movie theater at the Roosevelt Field Mall located in Garden City. According to Eric C. Adams, one of the theater managers working that evening, the group was “causing a ruckus” near the theater entrance before they came inside. Some group members were “hitting” the glass entrance doors. Roosevelt Field Mall security guards were notified; they instructed the group to buy tickets to a movie or leave.

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Patron Slips On Water Near Gym Shower Room:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Was Owner Liable for Personal Injury?

Some fact patterns raise the question of why the suit was even filed?  A recent case is illustrative.

On the evening of March 28, 2018, while at the gym, which is a corporately-owned location of Planet Fitness, located in the City of Newburgh, Orange County, Jason Briggs allegedly slipped and fell in a puddle of water that had accumulated near the shower in the men’s locker room. He filed a negligence action against Planet Fitness to recover damages for personal injuries he sustained due to the fall.

Supreme Court dismissed Briggs’ complaint—finding that Planet Fitness established, prima facie, that it did not have constructive notice of the alleged condition and that there was no dangerous condition. Briggs failed to raise a question of fact in response. Briggs appealed.

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Of Course, You Have an Insurance Policy:

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

But Does the Policy Provide Coverage?

The COVID pandemic and the resulting Executive Orders limited business activity– and triggered a tsunami of so-called insurance “coverage” disputes in which the insured claims and the carrier disclaims coverage for losses and expenses incurred as a result of the downtown in commercial activity. But, as a recent case illustrates, coverage under any number of theories may be expressly or impliedly barred by the language of a policy—which requires the Court to meticulously navigate a plethora of carefully defined terms that may give meaning to other defined terms.

Island Gastroenterology Consultants, PC, and Island Endoscopy Center, LLC obtained two separate, but materially identical, business owners’ insurance policies from the General Casualty Company of Wisconsin from September 1, 2019 to September 1, 2020. The policies covered “direct physical loss of or damage to the Covered Property at the premises described in the Declarations caused by or resulting from any Covered Cause of Loss.” The premises described in the Declarations were the medical offices located at 1111 Montauk Highway and 1175 Montauk Highway, West Islip, New York. “Covered Property” included “Buildings,” “meaning the buildings and structures at the premises described in the Declarations,” and “Business Personal Property located in or on the buildings at the described premises.” “Covered Causes of Loss” were defined as “[r]isks of direct physical loss” unless excluded or limited.

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Melee at MSG/Billy Joel Concert Leads to Arrest:

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Did Police Officers Have Probable Cause?

A certain amount of rowdiness is expected and is accepted when the Rangers face off against the Bruins at Madison Square Garden.  But what happens when a Billy Joel concert-goer gets into a fight?

Ari Ganeles claimed that he sustained injuries when he was allegedly assaulted by fellow concert-goers and off-duty New York Police Department (NYPD) Officers– Joseph Brennan, Kevin Ermann, Lerone Davis, and their respective dates– during a Billy Joel concert at Madison Square Garden (MSG). And sued for intentional infliction of emotional distress, false arrest, and malicious prosecution as a result of the City of New York’s “conspiracy” to “cover up” the alleged altercation.

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Lawsuit Pits Father Against Son Over Family Businesses

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Did Son [Im]properly Divest Father of Interests in LLCs?

Battles between fathers and sons are found in Greek mythology (Zeus and Cronus). And, as a recent case illustrates, continue to this day in a somewhat different manner.

Jacob Harounian owned and operated a rug business called J. Harounian Oriental Rug Center. Jacob eventually asked his son, Mark Harounian, to help him run JHORC. Jacob thereafter gave Mark a 40% ownership interest in JHORC. In addition, Jacob formed a partnership with Mark and Mark’s two sisters called JAM Realty Co. to take title to a property located on 25th Street in Manhattan. Jacob had a 76% ownership interest in JAM Realty, while Mark’s two sisters had 5% each, and Mark had 14% (10% plus a 4% “equity kicker”) in light of the active role Mark would be taking in JAM Realty. 

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