Category Archives: Real Estate

Contentious Dispute Between Contiguous 47th St. Property Owners

Court Decides Rights To 18 Inch/100 Foot Boundary Line Strip

In 2007, Jemsco Realty LLC acquired property on the north side of West 47th Street described as 29 West 47th Street. At that time, the lot was improved with a 16-story building, the east wall of which extended to the property line. In 2018, N47 Associates LLC bought the lot immediately to the east, described as 27 West 47th Street. At that time, the lot was improved with a six-story building built in 1924, whose west wall was parallel to and 18 inches east of the property line. Jemsco and N47 asserted competing claims to the 18-inch wide and 100-foot-long strip of land between the west wall of the N47 Building and the east wall of the Jemsco building. There was no dispute that the strip was within the metes and bounds of  N47 Building.

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Residential Coop Tenant Posts Allegedly Defamatory Statements on Website

Did General Manager & Superintendent  State Legally Cognizable Claims?

North Shore Towers Apartments Incorporated is a residential cooperative complex located in Queens. Glen Kotowski and Steven Cairo are employed as the general manager and general superintendent of the complex, respectively. They commenced an action to recover damages for allegedly defamatory statements made by Eric Kozminsky, a resident of the complex. The allegedly defamatory statements about Kotowksi, Cairo and conditions at the buildings, were made through a post on the social networking website NextDoor.com. In the post, Kozminsky, inter alia, reproduced extensive excerpts of filings in an action brought against NST, Cairo, and Kotowski by a former NST employee, and urged other residents to vote in an upcoming election for the NST’s board for directors who would replace the management of the complex. Kozminsky moved to dismiss the amended complaint. Supreme Court denied the motion. Kozminsky appeals.

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Well Pump and System Installed On Neighbor’s Land

Installer and Owner Sue Each Other for Damage

Amber Well Drilling, LLC sued Robert Diegelman for breach of contract and sought the unpaid balance for services in connection with the parties’ contract providing for the installation by Amber of a new well and pump system on Diegelman’s property. Diegelman answered and asserted a counterclaim alleging that the well was actually installed on his neighbors’ property and that, as a result, he was required to purchase the parcel containing the well from his neighbors. The counterclaim sought reimbursement for the money spent by Diegelman for the purchase of that parcel.

The evidence presented at the bench trial in this case established that, although Diegelman provided Amber with a survey of his property, the parties never met to discuss the exact location where the well would be installed, nor did the contract specify the exact location where the well would be installed. Diegelman made two payments to Amber for its services, but after purchasing the parcel containing the well from his neighbors, declined to make full payment to Amber. Following the bench trial, Supreme Court awarded Diegelman $1,456.00, which the court determined was the difference between the cost to him of buying the land where the well was installed, i.e., $6,975.00, and the amount due to Amber under the contract, i.e., $5,549.00. Amber appealed.

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Broker Sues Owner For Commission on Babylon Property Sale

Court Decides If Broker Was Procuring Cause of Transaction

Dalbir Singh purchased real property located in Babylon after signing a sales agreement for the property prepared and executed by R. Matthew Shane, a real estate broker employed by All Island Estates Realty Corp., a real estate brokerage firm. The sales agreement provided that the commission due to ERC was $50,000 “from buyer.” After Singh failed to pay the commission, ERC sued Singh. After a nonjury trial,  Supreme Court rendered a verdict in favor of the ERC and a judgment was entered against Singh in the total sum of $50,910.21. Singh appealed.

To prevail on a cause of action to recover a commission, the broker must establish (1) that it is duly licensed, (2) that it had a contract, express or implied, with the party to be charged with paying the commission, and (3) that it was the procuring cause of the sale. Where the broker is not involved in the negotiations leading up to the completion of the deal, the broker must establish that it created an amicable atmosphere in which negotiations proceeded or that it generated a chain of circumstances that proximately led to the sale.

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Commercial Tenant Sues After Coop Board Rejects Installation of Outdoor HVAC

Did Board Unreasonably Withold Consent/ Breach Fiduciary Duty?

Heykal Properties, LLC, a commercial tenant of Unit 2S in a commercial cooperative building, assert causes of action against the board of 450 West 31St. Owners Corp. and board member Karen Atta for breach of fiduciary duty in rejecting Heykal’s’ proposals to install an HVAC on an outdoor space adjacent to the leased unit. The motion by the board and Atta for summary judgment was denied. And they appealed.

The proprietary lease provided that, to make alterations to a unit, a lessee must first obtain the written consent of the lessor, “which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld.” Where a “reasonableness” standard is imposed, the actions of the board and its members must be legitimately related to the welfare of the cooperative. The board contended that Heykal’s alteration plans were reasonably rejected because the plans sought to use a common element of the building for the tenant’s own exclusive use, and there were concerns about whether the space was structurally sound for the proposed alterations. The board moved for summary judgment..

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Owner Files/Withdraws Action for Access to Adjoining Parcel

Was Neighbor Entitled to Legal/Architectural Fees Incurred?             

Somchai Ngamwajasat and Ladda Ngamwajasat made a motion for an order granting them summary judgment on the issue of their counterclaim against West End Ave Development LLC for reimbursement of professional fees they incurred relating to (i) the negotiations with West End for a license agreement for temporary access to their home located 71 West End Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, and (ii) their opposition to West End’s action under RPAPL 881.

Ted Kalavesios, West End’s counsel, sent an e-mail to Joanna C. Peck, of the law firm of Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.,  counsel for Somchai N. and Ladda N., advising of his intention to withdraw the petition for the RPAPL 881 license. The exact message was as follows:

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Richard Sued Kenneth (His Brother) Over Transfer of Property By Jean (Their Mother)

Court Determines If Sibling Procured Transfer of Land by Fraud and Undue Influence.

Richard Crawford, as administrator, sued his brother, Kenneth Smith, and alleged that a deed purportedly conveying certain real property from the parties’ mother, Jean T. Smith, to Kenneth was procured by fraud and undue influence. Jean  died prior to the commencement of this action. The deed purportedly conveyed a fee interest in the real property to Kenneth, subject to  Jean’s retention  of a life estate in the property. After certain motion practice, the first cause of action, sounding in conversion, was dismissed.

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Non-Compliant Home Improvement Contract Not Enforceable

Could Contractor Nevertheless Seek Damages For Value Of Services?

In a small claim action, Richard Chapman d/b/a Chapman Construction sought  the recovery of $2,999.99 for breach of contract by  Cheryl Davis and Heather Kunkel– who appeared and entered a general denial. The matter proceeded to trial at the first appearance. Each of the parties testified, cross-examined each other and presented documentary evidence to the court.

On or about September 15, 2021, Davis and Kunkel hired Chapman to perform a basement renovation at their home. Chapman drafted a written contract which he signed together with Kunkel.. The contract contained a general outline of the work to be performed, as well as a payment schedule.

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Simmons Alleged That Forged Deed Gave Bell Title to Real Property in Queens

Was Motion to Dismiss Properly Denied– Was Suit Time-Barred?

Bessie Rogers ( Derrick Simmons’ decedent)  acquired title to real property located in Queens in 1987. Simmons started an action, pursuant to RPAPL article 15,  to quiet title to the property and for a judgment declaring that a deed allegedly executed in 1998 by Rogers, which gave Alfred Bell and others an interest in the property, was forged and was, therefore, void.  Simmons also sought to recover the proceeds of a subsequent sale of the property in 2007, of which Bell allegedly took possession, and was not entitled to on account of the forged deed.

Bell moved to dismiss the complaint as barred by the statute of limitations. Supreme Court denied the motion. Bell appealed.

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Easement for Ingress/ Egress For Benefit of Neighboring Property in Brooklyn

Was Easement Extinguished/Abandoned After Adjoining Owner Built a Brick Wall?

In 1949, certain real property in Brooklyn, known as the Marte Property, was converted to an automobile repair shop. A new certificate of occupancy was issued based upon a letter of approval by the New York City Fire Department dated March 15, 1949. The new facility included a rear door, leading to an easement of record over the adjoining real property, known as the Boerum property, for ingress and egress.

On February 17, 1987, the Marte property was conveyed to Emenegilda Marte. Shortly thereafter, the owner of the Boerum property erected a brick wall, topped by a metal fence, which blocked the easement. However, the owner of the Boerum property provided access in an area adjacent to the easement through a gate and gave the occupiers of the Marte property a key to that gate. The automobile repair shop was altered by removing a 10-foot-wide door which provided access to the easement and replacing the door with a narrower door which served as a fire exit.

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