Articles Posted in New York Court of Appeals

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the Appellate Division granting Respondents' motion to dismiss Petitioner's petitions challenging real property assessments, holding that Petitioner lacked standing to bring an action seeking judicial review of property tax assessments under N.Y. Real Prop. Law (RPTL) 7 because Petitioner was a non-owner with no legal authorization or obligation to pay the real property taxes and, therefore, was not an aggrieved party with in the meaning of RPTL 7. Petitioner was a family-owned corporation that operated a restaurant on the property at issue. The real property was owned by two individuals. For four tax years Petitioner filed administrative grievance complaints challenging the real property assessments. The board of assessment review confirmed the tax assessments. Thereafter, Petitioner commenced tax certiorari proceedings pursuant to RPTL article 7. Supreme Court denied Respondents' motion to dismiss the petitions. The Appellate Division reversed and granted Respondents' motions to dismiss, concluding that, while Petitioner had standing as an aggrieved party, Petitioner failed to satisfy a condition precedent to the filing of the petitions. The Court of Appeals affirmed on other grounds, holding that Petitioner lacked standing. View "Larchmont Pancake House v. Board of Assessors" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals held that N.Y. Real Prop. Law 339-y(4) allows a standing authorization issued by a condominium unit owner to confer authority upon a condominium board of managers to act on behalf of that owner for the tax year in which that authorization was issued and in all subsequent tax years. At issue were various tax assessments made with respect to property that consisted of individually-owned condominium units. The condominium units were assessed for four tax years during which Petitioner, the condominium board of managers, acting as the agent for individual owners, filed a grievance complaint with Respondents with respect to those assessments. Respondents denied the complaints. Acting as agent for each of the unit owners, Petitioner filed one petition for each of the tax years, alleging that Respondents had incorrectly assessed the units. Supreme Court ruled that the only unit owners who would receive a refund would be those who subscribed to a separate authorization for each of the separate tax years at issue. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that where an owner subscribes to a standing agency authorization conferring authority on a board of managers to act on behalf of that owner, section 339-y(4) allows that authorization to remain effective until it is cancelled or retracted. View "Eastbrooke Condominium v. Ainsworth" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the Appellate Division affirming the decision of Supreme Court annulling the decision of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to approve the redevelopment of 346 Broadway, a historic building that the LPC previously designated as a landmark, holding that the LPC's decision was not irrational or affected by errors of law. If an application seeks to alter or demolish a landmark, the LPC must issue a certificate of appropriateness (COA) before the proposed work can begin. In this case, a developer seeking to convert the 346 Broadway into private residences sought a COA from the LPC. The LPC approved the proposal. Supreme Court annulled the COA, The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the Appellate Division erred in concluding that the LPC acted with "no rational basis" and that the LPC's decisions were not affected by an error of law. View "Save America's Clocks, Inc. v City of New York" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of Supreme Court dismissing this action filed by the trustee (Trustee) of three residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) alleging violations of representations and warranties regarding the quality of loans contained in the respective securitization trust instruments, holding that the Trustee’s untimely-filed complaint cannot relate back under N.Y. C.P.L.R. 203(f) to a certificate holder’s previously filed action. Defendant served as seller and sponsor of three RMBS securitization trusts, each governed by a separate pooling and servicing agreement. A certificate holder later filed a notice claiming violations of the representations and warranties for each of the trusts. After the limitations period elapsed, the Trustee filed this complaint. Supreme Court dismissed the action with prejudice. The Appellate Division affirmed, concluding that the complaint was time-barred and that the Trustee could not rely on the prior action because the certificate holder lacked standing to sues. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the certificate holder’s action was subject to dismissal, and there was no valid pre-existing action to which a claim in a subsequent amended pleading may relate back. View "U.S. Bank National Ass’n v. DLJ Mortgage Capital, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the Appellate Division determining that certain telecommunications equipment was taxable property pursuant to N.Y. Real Prop. Tax Law (RPTL) 102(12)(i), holding that the Appellate Division properly found that the equipment was taxable under the statute. The equipment at issue was certain large cellular data transmission equipment owed by T-Mobile Northeast, LLC and mounted to the exterior of buildings throughout T-Mobile’s service area in Mount Vernon. T-Mobile brought this hybrid declaratory judgment action and N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding seeking a declaration that the property was not taxable. Supreme Court dismissed the proceeding, holding that the property was taxable under the RPTL. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that T-Mobile’s arguments on appeal lacked merit. View "T-Mobile Northeast, LLC v. DeBellis" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the Appellate Division order grantingd partial summary judgment against COR Ridge Road Company, LLC (COR), in favor of Angelo Ferrara upholding the validity of a lien placed by Ferrara on COR’s real property, holding that consent, for purposes of N.Y. Lien Law 3, was properly inferred from the terms of the lease agreement between COR and Peaches Cafe LLC and that the Appellate Division appropriately declined to impose a requirement that COR either expressly or directly consent to the improvements. COR entered into a lease agreement to lease space in a retail shopping plaza to Peaches, in which Peaches built and operated a full-service restaurant. Peaches contracted with Ferrara to perform electrical work at the premises. Peaches later closed its business, still owing Ferrara more than $50,000. Ferrara filed a mechanic’s lien against the property, noticing both COR and Peaches. Ferrara then initiated this action seeking to foreclose on the lien. Supreme Court granted COR motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, concluding that COR had not consented to the improvements within the meaning of Lien Law 3. The Appellate Division reversed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that consent for purposes of Lien Law 3 may be inferred from the terms of the lease. View "Ferrara v. Peaches Cafe LLC" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals held that the Town of Aurora, rather than the Village of East Aurora, was responsible for maintaining and repairing the Brooklea Drive Bridge, located within both of the municipalities, thus modifying the decision of the Appellate Division reversing the judgment of Supreme Court declaring that the Town was responsible for the maintenance of the bridge. Specifically, the Court of Appeals modified the order of the Appellate Division by (1) denying the Town’s motion for summary judgment, (2) granting the Village’s motion for summary judgment to the extent it sought a declaration in its favor as to the bridge, and (3) reinstating so much of the judgment of Supreme Court as declared the Town was responsible for the expenses of repairing the bridge, holding that because the Village did not assume control of the bridge pursuant to N.Y. Village Law 6-606, the Town had responsibility for maintaining the bridge. View "Town of Aurora v. Village of East Aurora" on Justia Law

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The determination of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) that income reported on a joint tax return filed on behalf of an occupant and non-occupant of a housing accommodation may not be apportioned to determine the occupant’s individual annual income for purposes of ascertaining if the deregulation income threshold has been met was rational and does not run counter to the language of the Rent Regulation Reform Act of 1993. Petitioner, the owner of the building where Respondent was a tenant of the subject rent-controlled apartment, served a tenant and her husband with an income certification form (ICF) pursuant to New York City Rent Control Law. When they did not respond, Petitioner filed a petition with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) to verify whether the total annual income of the occupants exceeded the deregulation income threshold for the two years preceding the filing of the ICF. DHCR denied Petitioner’s petition for deregulation. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the income of the tenant’s husband was properly excluded from the calculation of total annual income because he was not an occupant of the housing accommodation when the ICF was served. View "Matter of Brookford, LLC v. New York State Division of Housing & Community Renewal" on Justia Law

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In 2003, Altman subleased from Rider, the apartment's tenant since 1993. Rider had a rent-stabilized lease at $1,829.49 per month. In 2004, the landlord commenced a nonpayment proceeding against both men. Altman and the landlord entered into a settlement, agreeing that Rider would surrender all rights to the apartment and the landlord would deliver a new lease to Altman. A "Deregulation Rider," stating that the apartment was not rent-stabilized "because the legal rent was or became $2000 or more on vacancy" after the statutory vacancy increase was added to the last regulated rent. The landlord removed the apartment from registration based on "high rent vacancy." Defendant purchased the premises and, in 2007, entered into a fair market renewal lease with Altman at $2,600 per month. Altman agreed to refrain from challenging the nonregulated status of the apartment. Beginning in 2008, the owner commenced a series of nonpayment proceedings against Altman. Altman did not challenge the apartment's deregulated status. In 2014, Altman sought a declaration that the premises are subject to rent stabilization. On remand, the Supreme Court held that, although the owner was entitled to a 20% rent increase for Altman's initial lease, that increase did not deregulate the apartment. The New York Court of Appeals reversed. The 20% vacancy increase should be included when calculating the regulated rent to determine whether an apartment has reached the $2,000 deregulation threshold in the Rent Stabilization Law, section 26-511 [c]. View "Altman v 285 W. Fourth LLC" on Justia Law

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Aponte moved into his mother's one-bedroom New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)-owned apartment and cared for her until she died in 2012. Two requests for Aponte to be granted permanent permission to live with his mother were denied. After she died, Aponte requested to be allowed to lease her apartment as a "remaining family member." NYCHA denied his request, finding that Aponte lacked permanent permission to reside in the apartment; management properly denied such permission because Aponte's presence would have violated occupancy rules for overcrowding. A person lacking permanent permission to reside in an apartment is not eligible for RFM status. The Court of Appeals upheld the denial. Under its rules, NYCHA could not have granted Aponte permanent permission to reside in his mother's apartment, and thus could not have granted his request for RFM status. NYCHA's rules contemplate that a tenant may require a live-in home-care attendant, either for a transient illness or the last stages of life, and expressly allow for such an attendant as a temporary resident, even if that permission will result in "overcrowding," regardless of whether the attendant is related to the tenant. NYCHA's policy is not arbitrary and capricious for not allowing Aponte to bypass the 250,000-household waiting line as a reward for enduring an "overcrowded" living situation while caring for his mother. View "Aponte v Olatoye" on Justia Law