Disputes between tenant and landlord are complicated by the fact that often, while a suit is underway, the landlord/tenant relationship continues to exist and rent accrues. After several years of legal wrangling, the Cuddy & Feder team led by Josh Kimerling recently won summary judgment decisions from the Supreme Court, Westchester County, dismissing two lawsuits against their clients, a shopping center owner-landlord and one of its tenants for whom the shopping center was being expanded.
The disputes arose when the shopping center began renovations. Two of the other tenants were unhappy about this, and brought suit, citing lost profits and damages caused by the construction’s dust, noise and debris. One sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars and the other for $4 million in damages based on claims that the expansion project breached their lease and interfered with their businesses. Both tenants stopped paying rent and eventually vacated the shopping center.
In response to the tenants’ complaint, we interposed counterclaims for rent and possession of the premises. We applied to the Court for summary judgment dismissing all of the tenants’ claims against the landlord on the basis that provisions in their leases barred the tenants from seeking the types of damages they sought. The Court, persuaded by our arguments, dismissed all of the tenants’ claims against the landlord and ordered the parties to appear for a settlement conference. Cuddy & Feder was able to secure six-figure settlements for the landlord on its counterclaims for unpaid rent.
Through assiduous maneuvering, Cuddy & Feder was able to turn around $4.2 million worth of claims against its client into settlements in its favor.