Showing posts with label lawsuits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lawsuits. Show all posts

Saturday, February 23, 2019

A Public lawsuit

ICYMI from The New York Times yesterday...The Public Theater on Lafayette filed a lawsuit against Ian Schrager's swank-o Public hotel, which opened in 2017 just below East Houston on Chrystie.

The Public Theater (officially known as the New York Shakespeare Festival) asserts that Schrager and Co. "violated its trademarks by using the name 'Public' — as well a strikingly similar logo — to advertise theater and musical performances."

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, argues that the hotel’s use of "Public" in marketing entertainment events is likely to confuse customers and cause some to assume that the performances are associated with the famed nonprofit theater on Lafayette Street. The Public Theater, which opened its first show in the 1960s, claims that the Public hotel is essentially siphoning off its business by riding on its theatrical coattails.

Public Theater officials told the Times that they didn't have any problem with Schrager using the name in association with the hotel. The issue comes with the hotel's performance space, called Public Arts.

And Schrager's response?

Mr. Schrager said in a statement through his spokeswoman that when his company registered its trademarks for the hotel, the Public Theater did not have any of its own. "We would not have gotten our trademarks if they did," he said.


"After being in the business for 40 years with scores of projects having been completed, I think I know a little about registering trademarks to protect our brands and good will."

This is the second high-profile trademark lawsuit on the LES. Last year, MoMA took legal action against the MoMaCha tea room on the Bowery.

Random P.I.L. album art via Wikipedia Commons.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Report: Discrimination suit claims principal overlooked racial issues at Tompkins Square Middle School

A Tompkins Square Middle School teacher says in a Manhattan Federal Court discrimination suit that Principal Sonhando Estwick "put his career at risk by failing to address racial issues at his school," the Daily News reports.

Per the News:

The 34-year-old teacher, who is black and has 10 years of experience, seeks $5 million from the city.

Doe says his relationship with Estwick soured in 2012 when he asked during a meeting whether the school would be celebrating Black History Month.

Estwick, who is also black, replied the school doesn’t celebrate the month because it celebrates diversity year-round, according to court papers.

The teacher alleges that the principal said that "his radical views are not welcome at the school," and that he was "an affirmative action hire."

And then...

In October 2016, a parent complained to Estwick that a teacher cracked a joke about a Muslim student who dresses conservatively, the suit says.

The teacher, who is white, joked about the classroom needing a Muslim ban — but replaced the word “Muslim” with the student’s name, the suit says.

Despite some complaints, that teacher was never reprimanded.

According to the News, the suit was filed as a John Doe case "to protect a vulnerable student." The John Doe is still employed at the school, on Sixth Street at Avenue B.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

SLA says East Village resident's drunk brunch suit doesn't belong in court

Last month, East Village resident Robert Halpern sued the State Liquor Authority (SLA) over a loophole in the 1999 law that allows bottomless brunches (drunk brunch, drunch, etc).

As the Post reports, the SLA has responded to the the Manhattan Supreme Court suit. They don't think much of it, and asked the court to dismiss.

“Halpern’s motivation behind alleging these complaints is his self-interest against increased noise and crowds in his community,” the SLA says in court papers.

“Halpern substitutes his own personal judgement for that of the Authority. … Halpern’s remedy, simply put, cannot be found within the walls of this Courthouse.”

Here's how The Real Deal first reported on the lawsuit last month:

“There are too may people running around drinking all the time,” Halpern told The Real Deal. “It’s become more and more of a drinking culture here.”

Halpern’s argument is that bottomless brunches are prohibited by a provision against selling unlimited alcohol for a set time and a set price. The Liquor Authority’s legal counsel has previously taken the position that “brunch specials” are considered special events and exempted from the provision. The suit makes the case that weekly bottomless brunches should not be exempt.

I asked Halpern, a lawyer and longtime resident of the East Village, what the next steps are with the suit.

"Next step in this case is for me to reply to motion to dismiss, and the papers get submitted on Dec. 6," he said in an email. "A motion to dismiss is a commonplace tactic. I don't think there's much merit to the motion, especially considering I am not asking for money, but for a ruling that the Liquor Authority is wrong.

"A judge could rule that the bottomless brunches are illegal under the statute, and the Authority could still decide not to to anything about them, though they are obligated to investigate complaints," Halpern said.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

East Village resident sues State Liquor Authority over bottomless brunches

East Village resident Robert Halpern, a lawyer who has lived here for more than 30 years, is in the news after he sued the State Liquor Authority over a loophole in the 1999 law that allows bottomless brunches (drunk brunch, drunch, etc).

The Real Deal first had the story yesterday:

These weekend specials, where you pay a set price for unlimited alcohol during brunch hours, are prohibited by law, according to Halpern’s complaint, and they’re contributing to the “deterioration of the neighborhood.”

According to Halpern’s calculations, there are 679 active liquor licenses in the East Village alone, and the Liquor Authority keeps approving more. There were 305 new liquor licenses approved in the area in 2016, and 243 in 2017.

“There are too may people running around drinking all the time,” Halpern told The Real Deal. “It’s become more and more of a drinking culture here.”

From the Post:

“Anybody who has lived in this neighborhood for a while knows that it’s gotten out of w​h​ack. There’s no balance anymore in terms of people living here and people just deciding to have fun here,” he said.

The SLA has claimed that bottomless brunches — where customers pay a set amount for endless mimosas and Bloody Marys — are exempt from a rule prohibiting unlimited drinks because the “service of alcohol is incidental to the event.”

Halpern insists that’s nonsense.

“Alcoholic beverages are not ‘incidental’ to the bottomless brunches, they are intrinsic to them,” he said.

And the Daily News:

A Liquor Authority spokesman said that state law prohibited over-serving — even during bottomless brunch.

"Serving unlimited drinks is prohibited under the Alcoholic Beverage Control law, and instances of over serving by our licensees are aggressively investigated and prosecuted," SLA spokesman Bill Crowley said, adding that the law does provide for certain "special circumstances."

His complaint reportedly enumerates 17 bottomless brunches available in the East Village, including the Cloister Cafe on Ninth Street, Jeepney on First Avenue and Pardon My French on Avenue B.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Report: Landlord and partner sues Root & Bone chefs for spending profits

Chefs Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth, who run Root & Bone on Third Street at Avenue B, face a lawsuit for allegedly using $286,500 in profits from the Southern-themed restaurant for personal ventures, according to multiple published reports.

The lawsuit was filed by Richard Freedman, their business partner who also owns the building. He claims that the chefs, who live above the restaurant, spent some of the Root & Bone profits on a $135,000 apartment renovation and side projects such a like-minded pop up in Puerto Rico.

Per the Daily News:

"McInnis and Booth have assured Mr. Freedman that the restaurant is 'doing fine' but that it was not making much, if any, profit," the suit says.

McInnis, however, said the matter is nothing more than "bookkeeping confusion.”

“There's really no validation of any kind of lawsuit. I wish the guy the best," McInnis said.


Freedman seeks an order that McInnis and Booth have violated their lease. He also seeks damages to be determined at trial.

Eater has published a copy of the 17-page complaint here.

The restaurant opened in June 2014.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Mama's Food Shop closes after 15 years; 'the community nature of the neighborhood has all but vanished'

Rumors: 'Top Chef' alum Jeff McInnis will help revamp former Mama's Food Shop space

Root & Bone announces itself on E. 3rd St.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Report: Former NYU student paralyzed in fall from 2nd Avenue building awarded $29 million in suit

A former NYU student, who was paralyzed after a fall from a fire escape at 82 Second Ave. in 2008, won a $29 million verdict in court this week.

The Post has the details:

Anastasia “Sasha” Klupchak, who was an honors student and varsity soccer player, is guaranteed the $29 million from the building owner East Village Associates after her lawyer struck an unusual deal with defense counsel on Monday.

Called a “high low settlement” the parties agreed that if the jury came back with a verdict that was less than $13 million, the defense would pay $13 million; but if they arrived at a figure over $29 million, the landlord would cough up $29 million.

The pre-verdict deal means the award cannot be appealed.

Klupchak, 22 at the time in 2008, was visiting a friend at 82 Second Ave. between Fourth Street and Fifth Street. She and her friend went out on the fire escape to smoke around midnight. When attempting to re-enter the apartment, "she fell through an unguarded opening in the fire escape platform." The 12-foot fall left her paralyzed from the waist down.

The landlord at the time, East Village Associates, was found liable "because a 1949 law prohibited the type of fire escape on the building." One of the six jurors found that Klupchak​ ​"was at least partially responsible for her injuries." She had been drinking on the evening of her fall, and the landlord's attorney said "that she treated the fire escape like a balcony instead of an emergency escape route."

Her attorney, Thomas Moore, noted that there was no provision in the lease that said tenants couldn’t hang out on the fire escape. He also got the landlord, Bernard McElhone of East Village Associates, to admit under cross examination that “tens of thousands of New Yorkers regularly” hang out on the structures.

Klupchak, who went on to pursue a Ph.D. in film studies at Emory, now teaches at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta.

As for the building, Icon Realty bought the property from East Village Associates in January 2013 for $3.1 million. Icon flipped the building in late 2015 to a South Carolina-based investor for $10.9 million.

Google Street View image from 2008

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Report: There's a $10-million lawsuit over use of Great Jones Alley for new development

[EVG file photo]

The 12-floor condoplex with a $30-million penthouse is moving skyward at 688 Broadway between Fourth Street and Great Jones.

The 16-unit project is known as 1 Great Jones Alley, which the developers say will include a "private gated alley" via Great Jones Street...the broker bunting on the sidewalk bridge promises "a private paradise" ...

However, this paradise is currently clouded in a lawsuit. The co-op board of 684 Broadway, the building at the corner of Great Jones with multi-million-dollar condos, is suing the developers of 1 Great Jones Alley.

Here's the Post with details of the $10-million lawsuit over the 137-foot alley:

The developer is “not authorized to remove and/or alter the gate that sits at the entrance to the alley … [and] do not have the right to advertise the alley as ‘private’ to potential buyers,” according to court papers.

The developer of 1 Great Jones Alley cannot even allow cars to sit and idle in the space — without the consent of 684 Broadway, the suit contends.

The co-op wants the condo’s misleading ads to end, and are asking a judge to order 1 Great Jones Alley to tell their residents no cars, or changes, will be permitted.

“The board believes that part of the alley and gate belongs to 684 Broadway, and felt that they had to file this lawsuit to protect their property rights,” said 684 Broadway in a statement via its lawyer, Robert Brown.

Here's how the alley looked in July 2015 ...

And in the rendering ...

On the topic of 684 Broadway, when did that Brazilia Café in the retail space close? Only just noticed that the other day.

And you can read some history of the alley here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Retail plans revealed for 12-floor condo building replacing open-air market on Broadway

NoHo flea market gutted ahead of new condo project on Broadway

Looking at One Great Jones Alley, 'a private paradise'

At the former home of the Broadway flea market, condos will cost upwards of $22 million

Construction watch: 688 Broadway, aka 1 Great Jones Alley

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Report: Settlement reached with family of man stabbed to death at Barrier Free Living

The operators of Barrier Free Living at 270 E. Second St. agreed to settle with the family of Ronal Garcia, who was fatally stabbed by another resident inside the facility between Avenue C and Avenue D in December 2009, the Daily News reports.

The $1.2 million settlement came toward the end of a month-long trial. The family of Garcia, who was 24, sued Barrier Free Living, arguing the city-contracted nonprofit for people with disabilities failed to protect the victim. Felipe Rivera-Cruz, who, like Garcia, uses a wheelchair, is currently serving a 25-years-to-life prison sentence.

Before the fatal encounter, the two men got into a fistfight after Garcia made a comment about Rivera-Cruz’s manhood, authorities said. They knocked each other out of their wheelchairs and on the floor during the melee before staff broke it up. The men were then separated and cops were called.

At the trial, Barrier Free Living officials claimed they lost incident reports filled out by staff during the attack. And they couldn’t find the portion of a video showing Rivera-Cruz ride past the security guard on the main floor.

Image via Google Street View

Monday, June 22, 2015

Report: Workers claim that 2 Bros. doesn't pay minimum wage, offer overtime

Employees of the 2. Bros. Pizza chainlet have filed a class-action suit, claiming that they worked 60- to 70-hour weeks for less than minimum wage and without overtime.

Per the Daily News, who first reported on the lawsuit:

"They built their dollar pizza empire on the backs of my clients and other workers by grossly underpaying them," said their lawyer, Adam Slater. "It’s just unfair."

Gabriel Bailon, who worked as a piemaker and cashier at the chain’s flagship pizzeria on St. Marks Place and saw 2 Bros. become a citywide staple, said he and other employees were talked into staying with phony promises about raises, but their bosses never came up with the dough.

An attorney representing the owners of 2 Bros., Eli and Oren Halali, as well as their father, Joshua, said they would prevail in court.

"2 Bros. pays its employees in compliance with city, state and federal law and categorically denies the claims made by the plaintiffs," the attorney told the Daily News.

Slater said that the suit represents 12 employees, with more coming forward, and that damages could exceed $10 million.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Claim: Landlord of 444 E. 13th St. threatened 'to drop dynamite on the building'

As we reported earlier today, residents who live at 444 E. 13th St. plan to sue their landlord for "deplorable conditions" as well as for ongoing threats and harassment.

The rent-regulated tenants, along with their legal counsel and City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, held a press conference outside the building between Avenue A and First Avenue this morning at 10 to speak out against landlord Goldmark Property Management and their associates.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy shared these photos from the press conference.

The residents said that they have haven't had gas for cooking or hot water since April 17 in the building that houses several children under the age of 7.

[Resident Patricia Ramirez]

Here's more from the Daily News:

They claim they've … endured racist taunts and threats to call immigration from the landlord's aggressive agents.

"They don't know the reality," said tenant Angel Salazar, 39. "Most of us are legal. That's why we are not afraid."

Tenants' lawyer Stephanie Rudolph said "this threat of retaliation and racial discrimination is egregious." She said only nine of the 18 units remain occupied — everybody else has been forced out.

[Stephanie Rudolph]

"There are tape recorded conversations where the landlord is threatening to drop dynamite on the building and then let everyone 'figure it out themselves,'" said Rudolph, a staff attorney at the Urban Justice Center.

There was no immediate response from Goldmark, whose agents include former NYPD Sgt. Miguel Cueto. The cop cost the city $2 million after he and his partner ran over and killed a Brooklyn man in their squad car three years ago.

[Rosie Mendez]

[Resident Cesar Bello with son, Ivan]

[Residents Lidia Puentes and Emma Gomez]

Said one longtime resident: "They are killing us. They don't have any feelings and they think everything's about money."

DNAinfo has more on the story here.

E. 13th St. tenants filing lawsuit against landlord for alleged harassment, poor living conditions

[444 E. 13th St. photo from March via EVG reader Gamelan]

Several families who live at 444 E. 13th St. are filing a lawsuit against their landlord for "deplorable conditions" as well as for ongoing threats and harassment, according to a media advisory about the tenants' situation.

The residents and their legal and housing reps will hold a press conference this morning at 10 outside 444 E. 13th St. between Avenue A and First Avenue to discuss the lawsuit.

Here's background via the EVG inbox:

The Community Development Project (CDP) of the Urban Justice Center, in collaboration with Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), is representing nine rent-regulated Mexican immigrant tenants of 444 E. 13th St. who are suing their landlord, Raphael Toledano, and his agents in Manhattan Housing Court. They are asking the court for an injunction against illegal harassment, the restoration of basic services, and repairs to individual apartments and common areas.

In addition to the wide range of alleged illegal harassment and discrimination practices from agents hired by the owners, tenants have gone without heat, hot water, and gas since mid-April.

Other alleged bad practices by the landlord include:
· Threats of demolishing the building;
· Threatening Mexican tenants who the owner alleges are undocumented; racist and discriminatory remarks about Latino tenants;
· Relocation pressure by agents;
· Health and safety hazards due to illegal construction and unsafe work on the gas lines.

There are currently several Stop Work Orders on the building, including for illegal renovations and unauthorized work on the gas lines, according to DOB records.

Meanwhile at 444, workers have carved out a new storefront on the ground-floor in the building. According to the listing (no longer online), the "Landlord will present as a restaurant ready space." The asking rent is $10,000 a month.

Previously on EV Grieve:
A storefront arrives on East 13th Street

Thursday, April 9, 2015

There's a campaign to buy the women suing over the 2nd Avenue blast 1-way tickets out of NYC

As the Post reported the other day, two women who were subletting an apartment at 129 Second Ave. have filed a $40 million lawsuit related to the deadly explosion on March 26.

Lucie Bauermeister, 23, and Anna Ramotowska, 26, are suing Con Ed, 121 Second Ave. landlord Maria Hrynenko, contractor Dilber Kukic and Hyeonil Kim, owner of Sushi Park, claiming they were "severally injured, both physically and mentally" by the explosion that killed two men and injured more than 20 people. Each are seeking $20 million.

Per the Post:

Their building reopened March 28, but Bauermeister complained that the smell of smoke was so “putrid,” she didn’t want to sleep there.

Ramatowska said she got “like, five or six scratches” when she went outside to inspect the blast site. Bauermeister didn’t suffer any physical injuries — but did say she is seeing a $175-an-hour psychologist to deal with the trauma.

Both women said they plan on moving to the South.

Meanwhile, perhaps to expedite that move, there is a crowdfunding campaign underway titled "Evict Fire Victim Bilkers from NYC."

Per the campaign:

Buy two one-way bus tickets out of NYC and a good riddence letter in the form of a full page ad in a NYC paper for heartless opportunists Anna Ramotowska and Lucie Bauermeister (or help the real victims of a tragic multi-building fire)

To date, $90 has been raised.

Find the campaign here. [Updated 11:09 p.m. — the campaign site is no longer active]

Screengrab from FOX News via Jezebel

Previously on EV Grieve:
[Updated] 2nd Avenue subletters suing for $40 million over deadly explosion (66 comments)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Report: Boukiés owner sues State Liquor Authority

Christos Valtzoglou, the owner of Boukiés (try the Spanakotyropitakia!) on Second Avenue and East Second Street, is suing the State Liquor Authority over an "illegal agreement" with Community Board 3, DNAinfo reported today.

Per the article:

[T]he SLA's decision not to grant a full liquor license to Christos Valtzoglou’s East Village restaurant Boukiés was based on an agreement between Community Board 3 and Valtzoglou that the board did not have the authority to make.

It's a little complicated, and dates back to when Valtzoglou could only get approval for beer-wine for his well-received but short-lived Heartbreak Cafe at the same address.

Also from the article.

Susan Stetzer, District Manager of CB3, appeared at the meeting to voice opposition to Valtzoglou’s application, according to legal documents alleging the board was interested more in asserting its power than in acting in the community interest.

“CB3 was motivated more by its interest in keeping its authority intact rather than representing the interests of its community members,” according to the lawsuit.

Boukiés opened almost one year ago to this date. Stetzer said that she was unaware of the lawsuit and declined to comment to DNAinfo.

Read the whole article here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Yoga guru Bikram Choudhury is suing Yoga to the People on St. Mark's Place. Choudhury claims that founder Gregory Gumucio is illegally using his copyrighted poses and super-heated rooms inside Yoga to the People classes, according to DNAinfo.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Noise wars: Bowery resident sues the eatery down below

A resident at 344 Bowery is suing her downstairs neighbor, the Spanish tapas joint Sala. The New York Law Journal wrote about the case yesterday:

New York City has a reputation as the city that never sleeps. As a recent decision by Supreme Court, New York County Justice Joan M. Kenney in Kahona Beach LLC v. Santa Ana Restaurant Corp. demonstrates, balancing that 24/7 vitality against competing quality of life concerns can sometimes be problematic and require court intervention. In Kahona Beach, the limited liability company owning a condominium apartment in Manhattan, and the individual residing there, sued a restaurant/lounge located directly below the apartment, the principal of the restaurant/lounge and the restaurant/lounge’s landlord. The suit sought damages and permanent injunctive relief based on defendants’ allegedly having created a private nuisance by playing music too loudly.

You need a "premium subscription" to access the article ... However, I'm thankful that the lawyer behind the blog NonConformingUse passed along the link with a quickie explanation:

Feel free to read through the whole article (which is just a jargony rehash of the decision). Basically, this case is cleared to go to trial — there are issues of fact that a jury needs to decide.

Also, as I reported back in August, Sala is for sale.

[Updated: Eater is reporting that Sala was victorious in the lawsuit.]