Jun 12, 2019

Roger Maldonado Interviewed on Diversity Initiatives for Law Students

Q&A: NYC Bar president on an initiative to reach diverse lawyers-to-be in childhood By: Daniel Wiessner (Reuters) – The New York City Bar Association is launching a far-reaching initiative to diversify the legal profession by creating a talent pipeline that begins as early as elementary school, after finding in a recent report that minorities remain underrepresented at law firms. Roger Juan Maldonado, the group’s president, said in a recent interview with Reuters that years-long diversity efforts by firms, bar associations, and the court system have been disjointed and produced mixed results. The city bar initiative, announced last month, is designed… Read more


May 2, 2019

But Only God Can Make a Tree (Joyce Kilmer, 1914)

Tree on neighboring property line

Ironically, despite their divine origin, disputes between neighbors over trees often arise and, as a recent case illustrates, become the subject of hard-fought litigation. Shafi Ahmed and Nusrat Ahmed filed a Small Claims proceeding against their Middletown, New York neighbor,. Allen H. Zoghby. Both Parties appeared without attorneys. The Ahmeds alleged that roots from a tree, purportedly on the property next door owned by  Zoghby (73 Beattie Avenue), damaged the pavement and driveway located at the front of the house on their property (75 Beattie Avenue).  The Ahmeds also alleged that the tree’s roots were slowly moving under the foundation of… Read more


Apr 15, 2019

“Baseball is a game of inches.” And often so is construction.

Land Surveyor: Property Line Encroachment

A recent case illustrates the point: A Romanian Orthodox Christian Church in Elmhurst, Queens is adjacent to a construction site. Defendants were building a substantial residential apartment building next door. For construction to proceed, a retaining wall was built very close to the Church property line. The Church hired a professional surveyor who found that the steel piles encroached on the north end of the Church’s western property line by 2.5 inches and at the south end of its western property line by 3.25 inches. The survey also showed that the wood lagging encroached on the Church’s property at the north end of… Read more


Mar 21, 2019

Behold the “Litigation Hold”

Litigation Hold

You are an officer, director/manager or agent for a corporation, limited liability company or residential cooperative/condominium. You occasionally receive garden-variety  claims for  personal injuries (e.g. slip-and-falls).  And from time-to-time more threatening claims (e.g. discrimination, breach of fiduciary duty). First thing first: immediately notify your liability insurance carrier in writing.  And second: preserve all hard copy and electronic documents and communications (including all audio and visual records) directly or indirectly relating to the claim. The first admonition of your obligation to preserve and protect relevant records may be a so-called “litigation hold”—a direction from either your attorney or the lawyer for the claimant to save… Read more


Mar 15, 2019

Court-Imposed Access for “Underpinning” Next Door

Underpinning - extension of the foundation of one's property

CUCS Housing Development Fund Corporation  and several related entities sued under RPAPL § 881  for Court-imposed  access, for the  purpose of underpinning  a neighboring property on West 12th Street owned by  Clifford S. Aymes.  Underpinning is  the extension of the foundation of one property to below the foundation of a neighboring parcel. CUCS was trying to begin a construction project to provide New York City’s homeless population with affordable housing. Aymes owned the one-story, unoccupied building adjoining  the project. The New York City Building Code  required CUCS take careful measures to protect public safety and to prevent damages to Aymes’ property during the building’s construction. Where… Read more


Mar 8, 2019

And on the Third Day…

land disputes

Dry land has been around—well, according to the Bible,  since the third day of the Creation.  So it is not surprising that land disputes relating to ownership of real property often have their “Genesis”  in facts, circumstances, and documents with an ancient pedigree.  A recent case, in which the Town of Southampton and the Freeholder Trustees sued for a judgment declaring them to be the sole owners of real estate on the shore of Moriches Bay, Suffolk County, reached and searched back to a decree promulgated in 1686 and a statute enacted in 1818. The case arose out of a… Read more


Feb 11, 2019

Co-op Boards Are Not Quality-Control Watchdogs

Co-op apartment in need of renovation

Copyright by, and republished with permission of, Habitat Magazine. Wade and Vanessa Johnson thought they were getting a “triple mint” luxury unit when they bought a gut-renovated apartment from the sponsor of a cooperative conversion at 1150 Fifth Avenue. But after the closing, the Johnsons learned that there were numerous conditions in the apartment that were not up to code – or actually dangerous – most of which had been concealed. The Johnsons alleged that the renovations were defective and noncompliant with requirements of the building code and co-op policies. For instance, the bathrooms were not properly waterproofed. Two bathrooms… Read more


Feb 7, 2019

Automatic Stay of Federal Judgments Extended to 30 days

Rule 62: Automatic Stay of Judgement

Rule 62 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure[1] addresses a stay of proceedings to enforce a judgment. Amendments to Rule 62 became effective on December 1, 2018. The amendments reorganize the Rule somewhat, clear up some confusing timing issues, and replace the term “supersedeas bond” with “bond or other security.” As to timing, amended Rule 62(a) extends the automatic stay of judgment enforcement from 14 days to 30 days following entry of judgment. According to the Advisory Committee, this change from 14 to 30 days resolves an “apparent gap” between the expiration of the automatic stay after judgment and… Read more


Jan 18, 2019

Nuisance on Central Park West

Smoking violated condominium by-laws

A Central Park West condominium sued the owner of a first-floor unit and her son for breach of contract and nuisance. The Board wanted to enjoin them from smoking marijuana and making excessive noise in their unit. At the outset, the Supreme Court issued a preliminary injunction that prohibited defendants from smoking marijuana and permitting marijuana smoke and excessively loud noises from infiltrating into the common areas and other units of the condominium. And several months later the Court addressed the application for a permanent injunction. The by-laws prohibited nuisance within the condominium property, as well as improper, offensive, or unlawful… Read more


Dec 7, 2018

Co-op Board and the Great “Washing Machine” Dispute

Co-op Board vs. Washing Machine

Nancy McCaskill  bought the shares for a cooperative apartment in Mount Vernon, New York in April 1998. At the time she entered into possession a washing machine was installed. In 2014, the Board of Directors enacted the following House Rule 21: The Board of Directors having determined that the plumbing systems of the Buildings are not sufficiently robust to allow use of washing machines without damage to the plumbing and to other apartments, washing machines, dryers or combination washer/dryer machines are not permitted to be used or kept in any apartment. The cooperative did not contact McCaskill regarding her washing… Read more