FINDLAW: Daily Opinion Summaries for New York Court of Appeals – 12/02/08


ADMINISTRATIVE LAW, LANDLORD TENANT LAW, PROPERTY LAW & REAL ESTATE

Matter of P’ship 92 LP v. State of New York Div. of Hous. & Cmty. Renewal, No. 221 SSM 38
Order of appellate division is affirmed where: 1) by its terms, the Rent Regulation Reform Act of 1997 applied to any proceeding that was pending before the Division of Housing and Community Renewal at the time of its enactment, as this case was; and 2) there was ample basis on the record for the conclusion that, in arguing for a higher base rent, the owner had relied on an illusory tenancy.

 

 

ATTORNEY’S FEES, CONTRACTS, ETHICS & PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, INJURY AND TORT LAW

Lawrence v. Graubard Miller, No. 76
In a suit arising from legal proceedings surrounding the administration of an estate, denial of a motion to dismiss a law firm’s petition seeking to compel the payment of legal fees is affirmed where the question of whether the retainer agreement at issue was unenforceable on the basis of unconscionability, either at the time it was entered into or in retrospect, was a factual one that could not be answered at the pre-answer motion stage.

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, EVIDENCE

People v. Giles, No. 181
Conviction for burglary and possession of stolen property is affirmed in part and reversed in part where evidence of defendant’s commission of prior uncharged burglaries was prejudicial as to the burglary count and required a limiting instruction.

 

 

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE

Matter of Rivera v. Firetog, No. 178
In a CPLR article 78 proceeding seeking to bar a retrial for murder on double jeopardy grounds, petition is dismissed where the trial court appropriately declared a mistrial based on the jury’s deadlock after exploring alternatives, and retrial of defendant would not implicate double jeopardy.

 

 

INJURY AND TORT LAW, LANDLORD TENANT LAW, PROPERTY LAW & REAL ESTATE

Kopsachilis v. 130 East 18 Owners Corp., No. 177
In a negligence action alleging that the owners of an apartment building failed to light a stairwell during a blackout, denial of defendants’ motion for summary judgment is reversed where the statutory requirement that lights in fire-stairs be kept burning continuously was not a strict-liability offense, and defendants could assert a “knowledge and consent” defense contained within the statute.