Defendants in Mortgage Foreclosure Cases May Recover Their Attorney’s Fees and Expenses under Real Property Law Section 282

A defendant/mortgagor who prevails in the successful defense of a mortgage foreclosure proceeding may be entitled to recover his  reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses under Real Property Law Section 282, which provides as follows:

Section 282. Mortgagor’s right to recover attorneys’ fees in actions or proceedings arising out of foreclosures of residential property

      1. Whenever a covenant contained in a mortgage on residential real property shall provide that in any action or proceeding to foreclose the mortgage that the mortgagee may recover attorneys’ fees and/or expenses incurred as the result of the failure of the mortgagor to perform any covenant or agreement contained in such mortgage, or that amounts paid by the mortgagee therefor shall be paid by the mortgagor as additional payment, there shall be implied in such mortgage a covenant by the mortgagee to pay to the mortgagor the reasonable attorneys’ fees and/or expenses incurred by the mortgagor as the result of the failure of the mortgagee to perform any covenant or agreement on its part to be performed under the mortgage or in the successful defense of any action or proceeding commenced by the mortgagee against the mortgagor arising out of the contract, and an agreement that such fees and expenses may be recovered as provided by law in an action commenced against the mortgagee or by way of counterclaim in any action or proceeding commenced by the mortgagee against the mortgagor. Any waiver of this section shall be void as against public policy.
      2. For the purposes of this section, “residential real property” means real property improved by a one- to four-family residence, a condominium that is occupied by the mortgagor or a cooperative unit that is occupied by the mortgagor.

In an appropriate case, where the mortgage provides for the recovery of the mortgagee’s attorney’s fees and expenses, the above statute applies, and the subject real property constitutes residential real property (one family) that is the mortgagors’ home, the court may award the defendant legal fees and costs.

by Richard A. Klass, Esq.

R. A. Klass
Your Court Street Lawyer

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New York State Court of Appeals adopts “likely to succeed” standard in legal malpractice cases

The New York State Court of Appeals decided an issue of first impression in New York State concerning an issue that arises in legal malpractice cases. In Grace v. Law, [October 21, 2014], the Court had to decide whether a client’s failure to pursue an appeal in the original, underlying lawsuit (which failed) bars him from pursuing a legal malpractice case against the attorney who lost the case.

In an opinion by Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the Court of Appeals held that the proper standard for trial courts to consider in legal malpractice cases brought by losing clients against their original attorneys is whether the client would have been “likely to succeed” on appeal. Enunciating the proper standard, the decision stated that, “prior to commencing a legal malpractice action, a party who is likely to succeed on appeal of the underlying action should be required to press an appeal. However, if the client is not likely to succeed, he or she may bring a legal malpractice action without first pursuing an appeal of the underlying action.

In rejecting the defendant-attorney’s argument that there should be an absolute bar to a legal malpractice case unless the client appealed the underlying court’s decision, the decision noted that following the “likely to succeed” standard would not be unfair; this standard requires trial courts to speculate on the success of an appeal just as those courts engage in the same analysis when deciding other aspects of legal malpractice actions generally.

by Richard A. Klass, Esq.

R. A. Klass
Your Court Street Lawyer

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Commercial tenants/Sublessors are responsible entities under the Labor Law

Pursuant to binding Court of Appeals precedents, as well as Appellate Division, First and Second Department precedents, commercial tenants/sublessors are responsible entities for purposes of Labor Law Section 240(1).

See Glielmi v. Toys “R” Us, Inc., 62 N.Y.2d 664, 666, 476 N.Y.S.2d 283, 284, 464 N.E.2d 981, 982 (1984) (“The jury was charged that the owner trustees and the tenant were to be considered a single unit for purposes of determining liability to the injured plaintiff. There was evidence from which the jury could properly have found that both were absolutely liable under subdivision 1 of section 240 of the Labor Law”); Godoy v. Baisley Lumber Corp., 40 A.D.3d 920, 921, 837 N.Y.S.2d 682, 683- 684 (2d Dep’t 2007); Murphy v. Sawmill Construction Corp., 17 A.D.3d 422, 424, 792 N.Y.S.2d 616, 618 (2d Dep’t 2005) (“We note that the term ‘owner,’ for purposes of Labor Law §§ 240(1) and 241(6), has been construed to include not only property owners but, under certain circumstances, also those who have an interest in property, such as easement holders and lessees (see Kane v. Coundorous, 293 A.D.2d 309, 739 N.Y.S.2d 711;  Copertino v. Ward, 100 A.D.2d 565, 473 N.Y.S.2d 494).”); Bell v. Bengomo Realty, Inc., 36 A.D.3d 479, 480, 829 N.Y.S.2d 42, 44 (1st Dep’t 2007) (“Summary judgment in favor of plaintiff on the issue of liability under Labor Law Section 240 (1) should have been granted as against Bengomo Realty as the owner of the property); see Coleman v. City of New York, 91 N.Y.2d 821, 822-823, 666 N.Y.S.2d 553, 689 N.E.2d 523 [1997]; Spagnuolo v. Port Auth. of N.Y. & N.J., 8 A.D.3d 64, 778 N.Y.S.2d 23 [2004] ), and Willow Media who, as lessee, contracted for the work (see Guzman v. L.M.P. Realty Corp., 262 A.D.2d 99, 691 N.Y.S.2d 483 [1999] ).”); Meade v. Rock-McGraw, Inc., 307 A.D.2d 156, 158-159, 760 N.Y.S.2d 39, 41-42 (1st Dep’t 2003) (“After discovery, plaintiff moved for summary judgment against defendants, Rock-McGraw, Inc., the building owner, McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., the building lessee, and Morgan Stanley & Co., Incorporated, the sublessee of the 44th floor, on his Labor Law § 240(1) claim, arguing that the ladder was not secured by another worker, that the ladder fell because the floor was slippery and the ladder lacked footings and that defendants had breached their duty to insure that the ladder was placed so as to give him proper protection. …Depending on the fact finder’s determination, plaintiff may, however, establish a section 240(1) violation for failure to provide a proper safety device.”); Kane v. Coundorous, 293 A.D.2d 309, 311, 739 N.Y.S.2d 711, 714 (1st Dep’t 2002) (“A lessee of property under construction is deemed to be an ‘owner’ for purposes of liability under Article 10 of New York’s Labor Laws (see, e.g., Glielmi v. Toys “R” Us, 62 N.Y.2d 664, 476 N.Y.S.2d 283, 464 N.E.2d 981; Bart v. Universal Pictures, 277 A.D.2d 4,5, 715 N.Y.S.2d 240; Tate v. Clancy Cullen Storage Co., 171 A.D.2d 292, 295, 575 N.Y.S.2d 832; Copertino v. Ward, 100 A.D.2d 565, 566, 473 N.Y.S.2d 494).”); Wehmeyer v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 248 A.D.2d 187, 188, 669 N.Y.S.2d 578, 579 (1st Dep’t 1998).

by Richard A. Klass, Esq.



———–
copyr. 2014 Richard A. Klass, Esq.
The firm’s website: www.CourtStreetLaw.com
Richard A. Klass, Esq., maintains a law firm engaged in civil litigation in Brooklyn Heights, New York.
He may be reached at (718) COURT-ST or e-ml to RichKlass@courtstreetlaw.com with any questions.
Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

R. A. Klass
Your Court Street Lawyer

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Klass in the News: Yoko Ono’s publicist sues Eataly for $20M after bouncer ‘beatdown’

By Julia Marsh and Natasha Velez
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August 29, 2014 | 11:52am

Maybe the security guards at Mario Batali‘s Eataly need to give peace a chance.

Yoko Ono‘s publicist is suing the Manhattan pasta emporium for at least $20 million after he was allegedly beaten up by bouncers, thrown through a glass window and then called a “p—–” and a “f—–.”

Kip Kouri, head of Tell All Your Friends PR, was trying to get a table at Eataly’s popular rooftop beer garden Birreria on July 17 when he was “violently assaulted by” 10 unnamed security guards, according to his Manhattan civil suit.

His attorney, Richard Klass, told The Post his client was at the Fifth Avenue eatery with his boyfriend, sister and stepmother and got into an argument with the hostess about his reservation…. opens in a new window(more)

———–
copyr. 2014 Richard A. Klass, Esq.
The firm’s website: www.CourtStreetLaw.com
Richard A. Klass, Esq., maintains a law firm engaged in civil litigation in Brooklyn Heights, New York.
He may be reached at (718) COURT-ST or e-ml to RichKlass@courtstreetlaw.com with any questions.
Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

R. A. Klass
Your Court Street Lawyer

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