47 Third Residential Invs. LLC v Georges  2018 NY Slip Op 30989(U)  May 22, 2018
Supreme Court, New York County  Docket Number: 155636/2017  Judge: Robert D. Kalish is the sad story of architectural work, of mistakes, and of tremendous losses, now probably not covered by insurance.

“Plaintiff commenced the instant action on June 21, 2017, bye-filing a summons and complaint. Plaintiff alleged in its complaint that it was the owner of a residential condominium unit comprising five floors and all development rights of the six-story building located at 101 East 10th Street, New York, New York 10003 (the “Building”). Plaintiff further alleged that it retained Defendant Gregory Georges in 2015 to investigate and determine the structural impact of adding new floors to the Building (the “Project”). Plaintiff then alleged that it relied on Defendant’s finding that the Building could support the addition of six new floors on top of the existing Building and purchased air rights from the neighboring property owner at 55 Third A venue in furtherance of the Project. Plaintiff next alleged that it commissioned structural and architectural drawings and other engineering services from Defendant in furtherance of the Project. Plaintiff then alleged that it added at least one floor to the Building based on Defendant’s services and conclusions. Plaintiff further alleged that it made several payments to Defendant.

Plaintiff alleged that, in or about March 2016, it retained three separate engineering firms-Active Design Group Engineering DPC, Rosenwasser Grossman Consulting Engineers, P.C., and Structural Engineering Technologies-to conduct a peer review of Defendant’s findings and study the structural impact of the proposed addition on the critical structural components of the Building. Plaintiff then alleged that the peer review resulted in unequivocal recommendations that differed greatly from Defendant’s in that other and additional major structural work not recommended by Defendant would be necessary to complete the Project. As a result, Plaintiff terninated Defendant from the project on February 29, 2016. Plaintiff then sued Defendant in the instant action for professional malpractice, alleging that Defendant has cost Plaintiff at least two years of delays on the Project, during which time it had paid for materials which would tum out to be useless and has had to continue paying substantial carrying costs on several vacant residential floors.

On October 12, 2017, this Court granted Plaintiffs September 1 1, 2017 motion pursuant to CPLR 3215 for an order directing the entry of a default judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant. (Affirmation of Skillman, exhibit A.) The Court found that Plaintiff had shown prima facie based upon an affidavit of service that Defendant had been served personally with process pursuant to CPLR 308 (1) on July 8, 2017, at 34 Wedgewood Drive, Coram, NY 11727. The Court found further that Defendant had failed to answer or appear in the instant action and his time to do so had expired. The Court found further that Plaintiff had submitted adequate proof of the facts constituting its claim by means of the affidavits of merit of Mr. Zampetti, an authorized representative of Plaintiff, and Mr. Nusbaum, a managing member of Plaintiff. As such, the Court directed the Clerk to enter a judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant on the issue of liability and further directed an assessment of damages.”

“On February 15, 2018, J.H.O. Gammerman held the inquest on damages. (See affirmation of Skillman, exhibit B [Tr].) Defendant appeared pro se at the inquest in his first appearance in
this action. J.H.O. Gammerman began by explaining to Defendant that a default judgment had
been entered against him as to liability establishing that Defendant was negligent in his profession. Defendant responded by asking to open the default judgment. J.H.O. Gammerman replied that Defendant would need to make a motion to do that. Defendant replied by saying he would like to move now, but J.H.O. Gammerman told Defendant that the issue was not before him.”

“Defendant stated that he had previously failed to appear in the instant action “[b Jecause
[he himself] was in the hospital.” (Tr at 7, line 3.) “