Bleecker St. Invs., LLC v Zabari

Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. successfully represented Bleecker Street Investors, LLC (“Landlord”) in connection with an appeal at the Appellate Term, First Department. The Civil Court, New York County had erroneously denied Landlord’s motion for summary judgment in a residential lease expiration holdover proceeding on the grounds that an issue of fact purportedly existed as to whether the subject apartment was rent stabilized. By Decision and Order dated March 8, 2016, the Appellate Term reversed the Civil Court’s order, granted summary judgment to Landlord, and remanded the matter to the Civil Court to determine the amount of reasonable attorneys’ fees and use and occupancy due to Landlord.

On appeal, Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. cited a 2005 Loft Board order removing the subject apartment from rent stabilization, and argued that such order was binding on the Civil Court. Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. also argued that a Supreme Court ruling in connection with an Article 78 proceeding commenced by the tenant, in which the court held any challenge to the Loft Board’s order to be time-barred, precluded any assertion by the tenant that the subject apartment is rent stabilized.

The Appellate Term agreed, holding that the tenant “is precluded from claiming that the apartment is rent regulated by virtue of the May 19, 2005 order of the Loft Board, which held that the subject unit is not subject to rent regulation, and the unappealed dismissal of his CPLR article 78 petition challenging that determination.” While the tenant asserted that certain language in the Supreme Court’s ruling permitted him to assert a rent stabilization defense in Civil Court, the Appellate Term disagreed, holding — based on arguments set forth in R&E’s briefs — that such language “was merely dictum wholly unnecessary to [Supreme] Court’s holding.”

(Supreme Court, Appellate Term, First Department, Civil Court, Decided 03/08/16)
(Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. Team: Jason R. Davidson and Ethan R. Cohen )