Appellate Term - Appellate Division - Court of Appeals
Receiving a Decision from the initial Court in which a matter appears, may only be the first part of a long journey down the judicial highway to final resolution. When the landlord receives an unfavorable Court decision, what are the available options to challenge that determination in an effort to have it reversed? One possibility is to make a motion asking the Court that rendered the initial decision to reverse itself. More often than not, this is a costly exercise in futility as seldom will a Court reverse its original decision admitting that it made an error. The other option available to a Landlord dissatisfied with the decision and seeking its reversal is to file an Appeal. We have experience in prosecuting and defending appeals in various Appellate Courts of the State, including the Appellate Term, Appellate Division and the New York State Court of Appeals, the highest State Court. We have successfully prosecuted and defended appeals at all levels. In some instances, we have been in the vanguard of establishing new law benefiting some Landlords and the Real Estate industry in general. Appeals from the Housing Court and Civil Court are prosecuted to the Appellate Term, the first appellate level.
If permitted by law, they can be prosecuted to the next appellate level, the Appellate Division, and thereafter to the final appellate level, the Court of Appeals. We can assist you in determining when an appeal is appropriate, in terms of the possible outcome, and cost effectiveness and when it is not. We are also experienced in handling interim appellate proceedings attendant to an appeal, such as motions for a stay pending appeal often times sought by the party appealing to block implementation of the Court ruling appealed from, while the Appellate Court decides the ultimate outcome of that appeal. An example of a recent appeal handled by the firm was the case of Wellington Fee, LLC v. Cotter. This was a complicated and multifaceted Holdover case brought by the Landlord to evict a Rent Stabilized Tenant for failing to execute and return a renewal lease. Tenant asserted multiple defenses including a claim that he was entitled to receive a preferential rent provided for in the original lease agreement, for however long he remained as a Tenant of the apartment. The Landlord disputed that claim as the original lease and subsequent lease riders indicated that the preferential rent to be received by the Tenant was not intended to be permanent. Additionally, the Tenant claimed that since the building was converted to condominium ownership, that the provisions of Section 352 of the General Business Law (the Martin Act), he could not be evicted by way of a summary proceeding for failing to return a renewal lease, as that was
not one of the enumerated statutory grounds for removal of a tenant in occupancy. Again, the Landlord disputed the Tenant’s interpretation of the law. The Tenant further claimed fraud and irregularity in the conversion by the Sponsor of the Conversion Plan, and claimed fraud and misrepresentation made by the Sponsor’s agents to the Tenant concerning the rent and his ability to purchase the Unit at a special price. In the Housing Court, the Landlord was awarded summary judgment resolving all issues in its favor and dismissing all defenses and claims of the Tenant. The Tenant appealed to the Appellate Term, First Department. After reviewing the briefs on appeal filed by each party, and hearing oral argument, the Appellate Term unanimously affirmed the ruling of the Housing Court. The Tenant chose not to further appeal that decision to the next Appellate level thereby rendering the decision final. The firm has been instrumental in breaking new ground in various areas in the context of the Appellate practice including the first case to establish a Landlord’s right to evict the Tenant who overcharged a roommate (the law has since been modified). Our firm handled an appeal in which the Court, in the context of a non-primary residence proceeding, refused to extend an additional five (5) day mailing requirement deemed necessary in Holdover proceedings concerning a lease violation, to the service of a predicate (“Golub” notice) advising the Tenant that his or her lease would not be renewed by virtue of his or her non-primary residence. Simply put, our firm has the experience necessary to navigate its way through the various Appellate levels