Category Archives: Real Estate

Managing Agent for Residential Landlord Failed to Return Security Deposit

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

enant Awarded Deposit with Interest & Punitive Damages

Arlene Marie Karole commenced a small claims action against 340 West End Ave, LLC seeking $2,655.86 in damages for West End Ave’s failure to return a security deposit for an apartment which Karole had leased. On February 1, 2022, Karole amended her claim to increase the amount of damages to $3,851.89.

The Court conducted a nonjury trial. Karole appeared virtually via Microsoft Teams. West End Ave appeared in person by Steven Kirschner, the president of Kay Equities, the management company of the apartment building.

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Visitor Trips, Falls and Injured When Leaving a House

This was originally published on the SGR blog.

Was Defect in Steps Obvious or Actionable?

Jason Collins tripped and fell around 6:15 p.m. as he was leaving the home of Donald and Marilyn Comilloni on Granite Springs Road in Granite Springs. His injuries included rupture of a tendon and ligaments of the right ankle as well as bone contusion and fracture.

Collins, accompanied by his wife Melissa and a realtor, had gone to the house to look at it for possible purchase. As they left the home, they exited from the side of the house to traverse along the exterior walk-way owned and maintained by the Comilloni’s.

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Fifth Ave. Building Charged Neighbor with Multiple NYC Code Violations

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Was DOB Finding That Violations Existed Dispositive  in Parallel Nuisance Claim?

1143 Fifth, LLC owns the seven-story building located at 1143 Fifth Avenue, New York, and was in the process of adding an eighth floor so as to create a duplex penthouse apartment with a large terrace.

1148 Corporation owns the 13-story building directly to the north of 1143 at 1148 Fifth Avenue, New York and that building’s southern façade has multiple windows overlooking 1143’s penthouse terrace-to-be.

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Siblings In-Law Litigate Woodside Driveway Easement

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Court Asked to Find Easement by Implication/Necessity

Residential Lot A in Woodside, New York, owned by John Bonadio, is situated perpendicular to residential Lot B, owned by Elizabeth Bonadio. The two lots share a border. Lot A has a detached two-car garage, the entrance to which faces a driveway situated on Lot B. John’s father (Richard) acquired title to both lots in 1953, and used the driveway on Lot B to access the garage on Lot A.

In 1962, Richard conveyed title to Lot B to himself and his wife, Jane (Elizabeth’s mother). Also, in 1985, Richard similarly conveyed title to Lot A to himself and Jane. After Richard passed away in 1997, Jane became the sole owner of both lots. In 2007, Jane conveyed Lot B to Elizabeth (John’s sister-in-law). In 2008, Jane conveyed Lot A to John, retaining a life estate for herself. Jane died in 2016.

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Siblings Mark and Paul Contest Title to Property in Brooklyn

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Did Mark Deed Over Rights or Was He Ousted of Possession?

Mark Belli sought the partition and sale of real property located at 466 76th Street in Brooklyn, claiming that he owned a 12.5% interest and that Belli, LLC, a limited liability company of which his brother Paul Belli was the sole member, owned an 87.5% interest. The LLC interposed an answer and asserted counterclaims, to quiet title, contending that Mark had transferred his interest in the property to Paul, who then transferred his interest to the LLC, or, alternatively, that the LLC had acquired title to the property by adverse possession. Signature Bank’s predecessor in interest—New York Community Bank—to which the LLC had given a mortgage on the property, intervened in the action.

The LLC moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint and declaring that it was the sole fee owner of the property. The Supreme Court granted the LLC’s motion. Mark appealed.

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“On or About” Closing Date Meets “Right of First Refusal” on Kingston Avenue

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Were Brooklyn Property Purchase Rights Abrogated by Passage of Time?

A real estate contract vendee had the right to purchase a parcel in Brooklyn. But that right was subject to a third-party’s right of first refusal to buy the lot. As a recent case illustrates, the Court was required to navigate those concurrent provisions after several years of failure to close on the contract, on the one hand, or exercise of the right of first refusal, on the other.

On January 17, 2017, Parkway Trading Group Corp. commenced an action for specific performance against Yehuda Blesofsky, alleging that, on or about February 20, 2008, Blesofsky, as seller, and Parkway, as purchaser, entered into a contract for the purchase of  328 Kingston Avenue in Brooklyn for $640,000.00 with a closing date of on or about August 15, 2008.

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Companion Sues Former Beau for Damages Arising Out of Long-Term Relationship

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Court Decides Whether/ Which of a Dozen Claims Survives Motion to Dismiss

Andrea Coulter entered into an intimate relationship with Carl Sorenson, eighteen years her senior, in 2008 when she was 25 years old. Sorenson was a businessman who owned Nanz Custom Hardware, LLC., a substantial enterprise which manufactured and sold high-end custom-made metal hardware products used in the construction of residential and commercial properties. During the course of their decade-long relationship, Coulter and Sorenson lived together at more than one of Sorenson’s homes. At some point during the course of the relationship, Coulter started working, allegedly without compensation, for Sorenson both as his personal assistant and at Nanz.

In or about 2013, Coulter allegedly proposed that Sorensen utilize a Tribeca co-op apartment Sorenson owned through the Carl Sorenson IV Revocable Trust as a short-term rental space using the Airbnb platform, and claimed to have been responsible for fully managing the Airbnb initiative, including overseeing the apartment’s renovation and decoration, servicing the apartment, as well as managing the business’s account and the greeting of guests.

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Bickering Neighbors Sue and Counter-Sue After Altercation and Arrest:

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Court Patiently Parses Panoply of Pernicious Pleadings

A front-yard fracas erupts among neighbors. Police are called. An arrest is made. The charge is dismissed. Civil litigation ensues.

A verbal altercation occurred between Denise Mahoney and her neighbors on August 28, 2016. The spat allegedly began after Terry Mayowski looked through the window of his home and spotted Mahoney standing in her front yard across the street waiving her finger and shouting obscenities at him. After observing Mahoney, Mayowski walked into his front yard to confront her. Melissa Teehan, Mayowski’s girlfriend, joined Mayowski shortly after she overheard the shouting and began arguing with Mahoney.

As the verbal confrontation ensued, Mahoney allegedly threatened to assault the couple. Teehan, allegedly feeling threatened, returned into her home and called the police. Teehan and Mayowski made a statement to the police after they arrived and Mahoney was arrested and charged with harassment. Teehan also obtained an ex-parte order of protection against Mahoney, causing the police to take possession of her firearm.

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Contiguous Owner Opposes Neighbors Application for Roof Protection:

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Court Weighs and Resolves Competing Claims and Interests

New York has a statutory procedure in which a real property owner contemplating construction or renovation work may petition the Court for a license to install roof protection and safety devices that implicate the rights of a neighbor. But, as a recent case illustrates, the Court may be required to weigh and evaluate competing claims, facts, and interests in addressing the petition.

145 E. 57th St. Associates, LLC sought an order, pursuant to RPAPL 881, granting it a license to enter the neighboring property of Aldo LLC at 149 E. 57th St., to install required roof protection and construction safety devices. Associates was required to perform masonry repair work along the brick facade of its building, including a wall shared with Aldo’s building. But Aldo opposed and contended that Associates had erected a sidewalk shed in front of its building without its permission and that Associates waited 42 days after receiving a work permit to seek access from Aldo—so “there is no emergency.”

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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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