A Manhattan co-op that cleaned out a tenant’s garbage-filled apartment and replaced his cat litter without his permission must pay the tenant’s legal fees after losing a motion for a preliminary injunction against the tenant, as reported by the NYLJ.
The 3-2 Appellate Division, First Department, panel ruled on Thursday in 433 Sutton Corp. v. Broder, 110071/11, that the tenant, Robert Broder, was the prevailing party because the co-op had entered his unit to clean it in response to neighbors’ complaints without first asking him to do it himself, breaching the 10 day notice provision in the proprietary lease. The First Department’s majority said that the tenant had prevailed. It said that the co-op had obtained the TRO by misrepresenting to Rakower that the cat was still in the apartment, and that in fact, it had no legitimate grievance at that time it filed the TRO.
The co-op acted improperly, the majority said, by failing to give defendant adequate notice and a chance to cure the problem. It also failed to advise the court that the tenant had removed the cat prior to its making the motion, “thereby ameliorating any alleged nuisance.” “Because plaintiff disingenuously chose not to disclose significant facts at the time it made an application for a TRO,” The tenant was forced to retain counsel and incur costs in defending the action, the majority said.