Recent Court Rulings

Court: Pandemic Isn't a 'Casualty' Event

April 6, 2021    

What Happened: Another retail tenant has failed in its bid to use COVID-19 as an excuse for not paying rent. The tenant in this case was a New York City outlet of national retail chain The Gap, which claimed, among other things, that the pandemic and its resulting shutdowns...

Pandemic Isn't a 'Casualty' Event

March 23, 2021    

What Happened: Another retail tenant has failed in its bid to use COVID-19 as an excuse for not paying rent. The tenant in this case was a New York City outlet of national retail chain The Gap, which claimed, among other things, that the pandemic and its resulting shutdowns...

Lockout Notice Wasn’t Defamatory Attack on Tenant’s Reputation

March 23, 2021    

What Happened: Upon arriving at his office, a tenant who was behind in his rent discovered that the landlord had changed the locks and left a paper notice taped to the inside glass door facing out. Its basic message: We’ve changed your lock. But we’re not...

Out-of-Possession Landlord Not Liable for Slip-and-Fall Injuries

March 23, 2021    

What Happened: An employee coming to work in the morning suffered serious injuries after slipping on ice in the office parking lot. Whether due to workers’ comp or just professional self-preservation, the employee decided that suing the landlord made a lot more sense than...

Eviction Moratorium Doesn't Get Guarantor Off the Hook

February 22, 2021    

What Happened: Like so many tenants affected by COVID-19, Saks Fifth Avenue stopped paying rent at its flagship New York City store. The landlord sued Saks’ parent company, the lease guarantor, for $2.7 million in unpaid rent. If these were normal times, we’d be...

Eviction Moratorium Doesn't Get Guarantor of Defaulting Tenant Off the Hook

February 18, 2021    

What Happened: Like so many tenants affected by COVID-19, Saks Fifth Avenue stopped paying rent at its flagship New York City store. The landlord sued Saks’ parent company, the lease guarantor, for $2.7 million in unpaid rent. If these were normal times, we’d be...

Tenant Waived Its Right to Arbitrate by Starting Lawsuit Against Landlord

February 18, 2021    

What Happened: If there are any disputes under this lease, we’ll try to resolve them via mediation. If that doesn’t work, we’ll go to binding arbitration. Those were the essential terms of a commercial lease between a landlord and gas station owner. Sure enough...

Shopping Center Must Pay $20K Damages for Violating Tenant’s Noncompete

February 18, 2021    

What Happened: A lease between a shopping center and hair salon banned the landlord from renting to a competing business. The landlord then acquired an adjacent, nearly identical building sharing the same parking lot located only 50 yards away and leased part of it to another...

COVID Shutdown Orders Don't Excuse Tenant's Failure to Pay Rent

January 22, 2021    

What Happened: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A gym that had to shut down temporarily under the governor’s COVID-19 emergency orders stopped paying rent in March. The landlord couldn’t evict because of the state-wide moratorium on commercial evictions...

Agreeing on Specs Isn’t Condition Precedent to Tenant’s Duty to Pay Rent

January 22, 2021    

“Within thirty (30) days after the Effective Date of the Lease, the parties shall agree upon a preliminary description of the Tenant's Work, which shall be attached to the Lease as Exhibit D. Within sixty (60) days following the Effective Date of the Lease, the parties shall agree...

Court Upholds NYC COVID-19 Commercial Tenant Anti-Harassment Law

December 17, 2020    

What Happened: New York City has a law that bans commercial landlords from engaging in “harassment” to force tenants to vacate or waive lease rights via illegal threat of force or threats based on race, creed, color, age, etc. At the height of the first wave of the...

Landlord Trumps Up Minor Lease Infractions as Excuse to Get Rid of Tenant

December 17, 2020    

What Happened: A landlord who had just bought the property and was eager to lease it for a higher rent approached the current gas station tenant about a potential buyout. The negotiations proved unsuccessful. Less than three months later, the landlord tried to evict the tenant...