Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. (“R&E”) has successfully defended a motion to quash a subpoena for bank records, short-circuiting a delay tactic by an apartment tenant who clocked up over $60,000 in unpaid rent that he claimed to have paid.
Representing the lessor of a co-op apartment at 565 Broadway, Rosenberg & Estis Litigation Member Bradley S. Silverbush won an order denying businessman Jeremy Bernstein’s motion to quash a subpoena of his Bank of America records that would disprove Bernstein’s claims that he had been paying his rent.
In denying the motion brought in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Judge Dakota D. Ramseur noted that the defendant had failed to demonstrate that his bank records were “immaterial” to the action and ordered them to be produced by the bank.
The decision supports Silverbush’s decision to go straight to the bank for the records rather than allowing the defendant to produce them after he had claimed they would show he had been paying the $5,000-a-month rent on the apartment. Such a procedure could have lengthened the breach-of-contract and use-and-occupancy case by many months. “
If you’re going to try to hide behind bank records, then you better be prepared to produce them,” Silverbush said. “By subpoenaing the records straight from the bank rather than the defendant, we were able to expedite the entire matter, and we remain confident our client will now prevail in recovering thousands of dollars in unpaid rent and removing this unwanted tenant from the apartment.”
Bernstein moved into the two-bedroom, 2.5-bath Prince Towers loft in SoHo on December 20, 2018, on a one-year lease at $5,000 per month. After the expiration of the lease term, he continued in possession as a month-to-month tenant paying the same rent. Court papers reveal that the first hint of trouble began three years later, in May 2022, when he shortchanged his landlord $1,500. That was the start of a year-long drought when he failed to pay any rent at all and, by June of this year, he owed a total of $61,500.00.
Bernstein is still living in the loft without paying rent, but not for long, according to Silverbush.
“At Rosenberg & Estis, we pride ourselves in utilizing a broad and deep knowledge of the law to protect our clients’ rights,” Silverbush said. “In this case, we quickly circumvented the defendant’s assertion that his bank records would substantiate his claims that rent had been paid, by going straight to the source. Even in technical litigation such as this, tenacious efforts are often the best way to get to the truth.”