A Sad Story from Landlord Tenant Court
Cases in Landlord-Tenant court often have sad back-stories, and even sadder endings. InAlves v 152-154 W. 131st St. Holding Co., Inc. ;2011 NY Slip Op 32328(U) ;August 25, 2011
Supreme Court, New York ounty ;Docket Number: 116783/10 ;Judge: Donna M. Mills we see only the begining of a tale so complex, that it does not bear repeating.
"In her affidavit, plaintiff states that she was originally represented by an attorney, Romeo Salta (Salta), who filed the initial complaint, which allegedly contained errors and was incorrectly served upon the parties. Salta was thereafter relieved by this court on March 18, 20 11. Plaintiff is representing herself, and wishes to continue in that status. Plaintiff elaborates that the original complaint was vague in its language. In addition, she claims that Salta failed to sue defendant William T. Hurley (Hurley) both personally and as the President of the Board of Directors of the co-op, and did not serve him. She contends that the amended complaint would not prejudice defendants at this early stage of the action. A copy of the proposed amended complaint is submitted. This complaint contains fourteen causes of action. The first cause of action is brought against the landlord and Hurley, in his dual capacities, for malicious prosecution and/or abuse of process. The second cause of action is brought against the landlord and Hurley as president of the Board of Directors, for violation of Section 223-b of the Real Property Law, The third cause of action is brought against Hurley, in his dual capacities, for harassment. The fourth cause of action is brought against the landlord for respondeat superior. The fifth cause of action is brought against defendant Michael Schwartz (Schwartz), the landlord’s attorney, for negligence. The sixth cause of action is brought against defendant Barry Malin & Associates, P.C. (Malin), Schwartz’s employer, for respondeat superior. The seventh cause of action is brought against Malin, Schwartz, the
landlord and Hurley, in his dual capacities, for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The
eighth cause of action is brought against defendants Adam L. Bailey (Bailey) and Steven Decastro (Decastro), former attorneys of plaintiff, for negligence. The ninth cause of action is brought against defendants Bailey and Decastro for breach of fiduciary duty. The tenth cause of action is brought against Bailey, Decastro and defendant Gregory Calabro (Calabro), a former attorney of plaintiff, for breach of contract. The eleventh cause of action is brought against Calabro for breach of fiduciary duty:The twelfth cause of action is brought against Calabro for fraud andor negligence. The thirteenth cause of action is brought against Calabro for conversion. The fourteenth cause of action is brought against Bailey, Decastro and Calabr based on a fee dispute.
Opposition to this motion is brought by Bailey, Calabro, the landlord and Hurley. Bailey argues that this motion must be denied because it lacks colorable merit. He claims that he did not represent plaintiff in his personal capacity but that his firm was retained by her. According to him, the retainer checks she sent to that firm were not made out to him, but to the professional corporation, “Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.”
Moreover, he states that there are no grounds for negligence or breach of contract due to the fact that she did not lose the Civil Court suit. He avers that the timeliness of the suit was not due to any actions taken by his firm. The fee dispute concerns a demand for a refund of money to which Bailey claims his firm was entitled. Calabro opposes the motion on the ground that there is no merit to the breach of fiduciary duty claim, since, through his efforts, plaintiff was relieved from the Civil Court suit, and he, not plaintiff, was entitled to attorney’s fees in that case. The landlord and Hurley oppose the motion, arguing that, as well as lacking in merit, plaintiffs amended complaint was improperly served on them. They acknowledge that tlus court, by Order dated March 18,201 1, granted plaintiffs former counsel’s motion to withdraw as plaintiffs counsel, and directed him to serve notice to plaintiff directing her to appoint a “substitute attorney” within 60 days. This Order prevented them, and other defendants, from taking any further proceedings against plaintiff without leave of court for a period of 90 days after entry of this Order, which allegedly expire on July 6,201 1. The landlord and Hurley request that the court prevent plaintiff from filing or serving the proposed amended complaint until after the expiration date of the stay.
In reply, plaintiff states that she is suing Bailey in his capacity as the owner of his law firm. She asserts that the claim of malpractice against him is valid and that he did not give her a retainer. She argues that Calabro was not entitled to all legal fees and that he initiated a Civil Court suit against her .to recover other1 unearned fees. She claims that she was not present or represented at the proceeding. That suit is allegedly stayed by court order.Plaintiff contends that the claims against the landlord and Hurley are valid as these defendants brought a holdover proceeding based on false grounds and as a vehicle for abuse and harassment, that was finally dismissed after three years of litigation. She opposes their request to delay her motion as pointless, since the order was allegedly meant to protect her temporarily from further actions brought by defendants. She defends her decision to sue Hurley in a dual capacity,due to the nature of his alleged misconduct