Case Notes

Case Notes provides insight on one particularly relevant co-op or condo case—clearly explaining what happened, why it’s important, and what lessons can be learned within.

227 results
First published: Apr 2002
Northeast Restoration Corp. v. K&J Construction Co.

This case construes a section of the state's Condominium Act dealing with the right to file a mechanic's lien. Because of the unique nature of condominium ownership when first introduced in New York by statute in 1964, special provisions were provided to reconcile the new law with existing laws including the lien law. The case, which is consistent with several prior cases, holds that a mechanic's lien must state with specificity the units to which it attaches and may not be on the common elements as required by the provisions of the Condominium Act. Such provisions are construed to facilitate the objectives of condominium ownership.

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First published: Apr 2002
Farnsworth v. Wells

The result here was predictable. There was no proof that the wall had been moved. Also, the plaintiff waited a long time to pursue this claim. As a result, the sympathy of the court was not invoked. Indeed, other defenses such as laches, waiver, and estoppel probably could have been raised by the defendant to support dismissal of the claim.

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First published: Mar 2002
Lambs, Inc. v. Diven

This is another in a long line of cases seeking to construe the nature of co-op ownership. In considering the dual nature of co-op ownership, a mixture of personal and real property, the court here concluded, for purposes of determining how a co-op was treated in a statutory homestead exemption from a legal attachment situation, that it was to be treated as real property. The reason: co-op shares represented the right to occupy and reside in real property. Despite this conclusion, the court refused to afford any relief to the petitioners on the ground that they had selected the wrong forum, an error that could be corrected by another lawsuit in a court of appropriate jurisdiction.

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First published: Mar 2002
Seward Park Housing Corp. v. Cohen

The subject of pets continues to be a troublesome one for the courts. This lengthy decision should help to resolve some of the uncertainty that has prevailed, although it applies only to pets in Manhattan and the Bronx. The last word on this subject, of course, lies with the court of appeals, which may be needed to resolve disputes between the two appellate divisions, which govern New York City. In any event, the result of this case is to make it more difficult for a co-op to enforce no-pet rules. Indeed, the case is a warning to co-ops that they must act promptly (within 90 days) and by appropriate legal action to challenge an unauthorized pet.

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First published: Feb 2002
Merioz v. Addison Hall Owners Corp.

This case is significant for two reasons. First, it clarifies the definition of a holder of unsold shares and expands it beyond that normally found in the typical proprietary lease to include the requirements imposed upon a holder of unsold shares by the New York State Department of Law. This may serve to reduce the number of persons claiming to be holders of unsold shares. It also reaffirms that bed and breakfast transient occupancies are not acceptable in a residential co-op since they constitute a commercial business.

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First published: Jan 2002
Axelrod v. 400 Owners Corp.

Although this case did not reach a final determination, the court allowed a claim for age discrimination to proceed against a co-op. The case illustrates that age discrimination, which is protected by both city and state laws, if proven, is just as invidious as racial, religious, or sexual discrimination. Here, the plaintiff still had to convince either a judge or a jury that the two rejections were based on age discrimination.

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First published: Jan 2002
The Residential Board of Managers of the 99 Jane Street Condominium v. Rockrose Development Corp.

This case left the board with a cause of action against the sponsor of the condominium plan for the building. However, the sponsor might be without assets or insolvent. Even if the sponsor could be induced to instigate a legal proceeding to place ultimate liability on the various designers and contractors, this might still result in substantial delays for the board to press its claim.

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