Feb 4, 2020

What’s In a Name? (Part 2): Tax and Other Consequences Caused by Joint Ownership of Real Property

Estate Tax

In an earlier article we posted entitled “What’s in a Name? (Part 1),” we set forth the various possible ways that assets can be titled. Titling controls how an asset that you own will be distributed upon your death.  If you own an asset in your individual name, this asset will most likely be distributed through the terms of your Will through the court process called probate, or if you die without a Will, through the process known as administration.  If you own an asset that permits you to designate a beneficiary, such as a retirement account, that designation controls… Read more

Mar 20, 2019

Groundwater Pollution Liability Under Clean Water Act to be Reviewed by U.S. Supreme Court

Groundwater Pollution

On February 19, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to review a unanimous decision by a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that underground wastewater injection into a groundwater channel that flows to the Pacific Ocean requires a permit under the Clean Water Act.  The Ninth Circuit decision, Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, et al v. County of Maui, 886 F.3d 737 (9th Cir. 2018), is one of two Circuit Court cases finding liability under the Clean Water Act for unpermitted discharges of pollutants to groundwater for which certiorari petitions are pending in the Supreme Court.  The Order issued on… Read more

Sep 5, 2017

Beware of Post-Closing Actions Having a Retro-Active Pre-Closing Impact

Balance Sheet

We are now in September, and with the turn of the Gregorian calendar, comes the unofficial end of summer for both the United States and Israel.  Most have taken their summer holidays, the children are back in school, and the company transaction environment gains new momentum for the balance of the calendar year.  It is a good time to reflect. When selling the equity of a company, Sellers expect Buyers to require a representation and warranty that (1) all taxes of the company have been paid or reserved on the target’s balance sheet and (2) all tax returns previously filed… Read more

Feb 7, 2017

What A Trump Administration Will Mean For Franchising


as published in QSR Magazine The election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States certainly promises significant changes for the nation’s businesses. Despite the fact that many of Trump’s policies on labor and employment are still unclear, many laws and regulations promulgated during the Obama administration, including many rulings by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), may be challenged by the new Republican administration going forward in 2017 and beyond. Some of the more controversial rulings by the NLRB in Obama’s last administration have involved issues related to joint employers. In August 2015, The NLRB ruled… Read more

Mar 7, 2016

Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand Smoke from Ashtray

Over the past few years a number of our clients have asked about the legal implications of secondhand smoke in their buildings. The law on the issue has been largely unsettled.  However, boards and property managers should be aware of a clearly emerging trend of imposing liability on cooperative and condominium boards that permit smokers to subject their neighbors to secondhand smoke.  This trend is highlighted by a recent decision in the case of Reinhard v. Connaught Tower Corp., a lawsuit brought in the New York State Supreme Court for Manhattan. The plaintiff in the Reinhard case had purchased a… Read more

Jul 19, 2012

Board Member Liability after Fletcher v. The Dakota, Inc.

board room

A recent decision of the Appellate Division, First Department,[1] Fletcher v. The Dakota, Inc.,[2] has significantly changed the circumstances in which tort claims may be asserted against board members of cooperatives  and condominiums in their personal, rather than only corporate, capacities.  We believe this decision is not the last word on this issue.  However, board members should be aware that until or unless the apparent holding of the case is rejected by the New York Court of Appeals or narrowed by the Appellate Division itself,  board members who are successfully sued personally and are not protected by sufficient insurance or… Read more

Jun 21, 2012

Mold Revisited

Mold in house

Despite an earlier court decision that has been widely interpreted as holding that landlords in New York (including cooperatives and condominiums) had no liability for alleged bodily injury from mold, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court for the First Department has issued a decision making clear that the issue remains very much in play. In a memorandum in October of 2006 we advised our cooperative and condominium clients of a Supreme Court decision in the Fraser case[1] which found that then-current scientific evidence did not support a conclusion that mold or damp indoor environments cause illness. … Read more

Oct 28, 2005

Liability of Condominium Managers and Unit Owners for Injuries to Third Parties

Dictionary: Liability

On October 25, 2005, New York’s intermediate appellate court issued a decision of concern to both condominium boards and individual unit owners.  Although the decision, on its face, appears to limit the personal liability of unit owners for claims made against the condominium by third parties, it, in fact, poses new and troubling issues regarding the personal liability of condominium board members while not ultimately providing unit owners real protection. We described the case involved, Pekelnaya v. Allyn, in our March 24, 2004 memorandum.  The lawsuit was commenced after a section of chain link fence fell from the rooftop of… Read more