Monday, December 31, 2012


Friday, December 28, 2012


This article was just sent to me and I re post it here.

Many people I know are reluctant to go ahead with any estate planning - to at least have a will. Without a will, an individual's estate goes into intestacy and an administrator must be appointed.

Sometimes the adminsitrator may be a relation, attorney or friend of the deceased. Sometimes, a public administrator is appointed.

The following article should not be construed as an indictment of all public appointed administrators (or judges) but as an incentive for estate planning:

Bronx Surrogate Holzman faces censure but escapes removal in misconduct case

Thursday, December 27, 2012


This is just a reminder that when an employee is terminated, the right to Unemployment Insurance may not be the only legal issue that arises.

Here is a link to a recent article:

MSN CAREERS: Unfair dismissal: Has your employer broken the law?

Friday, December 21, 2012


The Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. law firm spoke at the NYSBA seminars on rental issues and Sandy and here is a link to their discussion:

Post-Sandy Landlord-Tenant Questions and Answers About Your Apartments

Thursday, December 20, 2012


During the NYSBA seminars on Sandy Relief, the following material was handed out:

"Are Landlords Really Responsible for Con-Ed’s Inability to Provide Power?

Q. Are you saying that whenever a rent regulated tenant loses power because of a widespread power outage that the tenant is entitled to a rent abatement?

A. It has nothing to do with rent regulation. It’s all about the warranty of habitability. As to a power outage, it depends on the duration. For a few minutes, there is no abatement and that is also probably true of a couple of hours. However, if the outage is for days, there would be an abatement.

We learn this from the case of Park West Management Corp. v. Mitchell, 47 NY2d 316, 418 NYS2d 310 in which New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals wrote in 1979, "The scope of the warranty includes, of course, conditions caused by both latent and patent defects existing at the inception of and throughout the tenancy. However, as the statute places an unqualified obligation on the landlord to keep the premises habitable, conditions occasioned by ordinary deterioration, work stoppages by employees, acts of third parties or natural disaster are within the scope of the warranty as well (cf., Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, § 2.104). Inasmuch as the landlord is vested with the ultimate control and responsibility for the building, it is he who has a corresponding nondelegable and nonwaivable duty to maintain it. The obligation of the tenant to pay rent is dependent upon the landlord's satisfactory maintenance of the premises in habitable condition."

When the court wrote, "acts of third parties or natural disaster are within the scope of the warranty as well," it was making clear that it does not have to be the landlord’s fault or anyone’s fault that the apartment has become unlivable. The court is just saying that for whatever reason the apartment becomes unlivable, the tenant does not have to pay the rent during the unlivable period."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Interesting matter that came up:

Landlord and Tenant have written residential lease in which Tenant is to pay directly for all utilities viz., electricity, heat and hot water which is all run by electricity. Sandy power interruption is for two weeks and Tenant must move out for health reasons. Tenant pays rent and deducts 2 weeks rent, claiming premises were uninhabitable. Landlord brings non payment.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Today, I will be a volunteer lawyer at Landlord/Tenant District Court as part of the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Nassau County Bar Association.
 "Attorneys are encouraged to volunteer to provide free legal assistance to the poor in Nassau County through the Volunteer Lawyers Project. NCBA partners with the Nassau/Suffolk Law Services Committee to support VLP, which helps maximize the quantity and quality of pro bono assistance provided for the county's low-income community.  Volunteer attorneys handle a wide array of cases including matrimonial matters, individual bankruptcy, personal injury and negligence defense, estate matters, release of accounts blocked by judgment creditors, and various other civil matters.  • The Landlord/Tenant Project's Attorney of the Day Program assists thousands of men, women and children in court to prevent homelessness.  • The Bankruptcy Clinics assist families either with advice or the filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, when appropriate.
• The Matrimonial Project assists hundreds of individuals in obtaining divorces, child support and custody."

Monday, December 17, 2012


First, the post below was supposed to be published on Friday - mea culpa.

Second, today I will be a volunteer lawyer at the Nassau County Bar Association volunteering for their Sandy Relief clinic on Monday 12/17/12 from 10 - 12.

For more information call:

Nassau County Bar Association
15th & West Streets
Mineola, NY 11501
Phone 516-747-4070 ext. 226

Friday, December 14, 2012


Many homeowners from Sandy have been unable to cash settlement checks because they are made out to both homeowners and their mortgage lenders. Since homes are the collateral backing mortgages written by banks, it's common for insurers to make out settlement checks to both homeowners and lenders. Banks often wait to sign off until the work is finished to make sure the property is repaired.

Governor Cuomo on Wednesday announced that some financial institutions have agreed to expedite endorsements for initial settlement checks, typically less than $20,000. Most of the homeowners I counsel at the NCBA naturally have suffered damages way in excess of $20,000. Some homeowners, to compound the issue, are underwater, noth with respect to the storm damage as well as the value of their home.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Of course, court is a difficult place to get immediate relief but here is an interesting article about the possible fallout from certain political disputes:

CRAINS: Fiscal Cliff could slam New York's congested courts

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


For attorneys impacted by the storm, here is an email I received yesterday:

"Hi Jon,

After your recent post on Hurricane Sandy I wanted to reach out to you about Lawline's efforts to help attorneys affected by the storm., one of the nation's leading online CE providers, has opened its doors to any and all attorneys still needing to complete their CLE credits for any upcoming deadline.

Lawline will be offering all of its December LIVE SEMINAR CLE courses for free! In this time of need, Lawline hopes to extend a helping hand to attorneys whose schedules were changed abruptly and still need to complete their credits.

If you have any questions or would like more information please don't hesitate to ask!

Thanks in advance,



Stephanie Paeprer
Media Relations Coordinator - A Division of FurtherEd
61 Broadway, Suite 1105
New York, NY 10006
Phone: 646.448.3280Fax: 212.514.7072

Check us out on Facebook, Twitter & Google+!"

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Hurricane Sandy survivors, who received temporary housing assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and continue to have a housing need, must fill out an important form for additional short-term rental assistance.

FEMA mails all applicants who receive rental assistance the “Declaration for Continuing Need for Rental Assistance” form. It reaffirms that applicants have an ongoing need for temporary housing while they search for a permanent place to live.

This form is mailed 15 days after applicants receive their initial rental assistance grant.
Applicants who need additional rental assistance must complete the form and mail it back to FEMA at the address printed on the form.

If you don’t have the form, contact FEMA’s toll-free helpline 800-621-FEMA (3362).

Monday, December 10, 2012


I will be a volunteer lawyer this morning from 10-12:

In an effort to aid the residents of Nassau County from the devastating effects of SUPERSTORM SANDY, the Nassau County Bar Association has scheduled legal clinics to help businesses and individuals on Monday, December 10, 2012 and Monday, December 17, 2012

Free one-on-one consultation with an attorney 10 a.m. - 12 noon or 3:30 - 6 p.m.

NASSAU COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION 15th Street at the corner of West Street, Mineola

Friday, December 7, 2012


Due to recent court decisions, it is now suggested that same-sex couples should consult with their tax attorney to see if they may qualify to file a “Protective Claim for Refund.”

More information can be found at this link:

JD SUPRA: Same-sex married couples: Consider filing a Protective Claim for Tax Refund NOW

Thursday, December 6, 2012


According to Newsday:

"Nassau residents whose homes were seriously damaged by superstorm Sandy should ask the county to reduce their assessment by the end of this month in order to get their property taxes reduced next year, Democratic legislators announced Wednesday."

For more information, see this link:

NEWSDAY - Nassau pols: Seek Sandy property tax relief now

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


From the Nassau County Bar Association (I will be a volunteer on the mornings of the 10th and 17th): "SANDY VICTIMS ARE STILL IN NEED – WE NEED YOUR HELP TO ASSIST THEM.

The Nassau County Bar Association is continuing our efforts to aid Nassau County residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. We will hold two more upcoming consultation clinics:

Monday December 10, 2012 and Monday December 17, 2012.

Two sessions will be held each day:10am-12noon and 3:30pm-6pm.

Please volunteer for one of these sessions.

Attorney Volunteers are sought to assist in the following areas:
- Insurance Claims
- FEMA Assistance and Grants
- Bankruptcy/Debt
- Consumer Protection Issues (contractors, etc.)
- Landlord/Tenant
- Foreclosure
- Health/ Disability/Personal Injury/Post-traumatic Stress Issues

Please contact if you are able to volunteer for any of the above stated dates and times. We will then notify you with a confirmation. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your continued Cooperation and Support."

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


There was a recent discussion on a legal listerv that I am a member of regarding liability for fallen trees - the question was:

"Does anyone know if the neighbor was put on notice through certified mail that the tree was a possible danger; it then falls on the property owner’s yard. Luckily no property or personal damage. But it costs 1,200 to cut up and remove the tree.(it was a big tree).  Can the neighbor who was put on notice be responsible for that?"

And the answers were quite varied and it appeared that there were three different opinions:

1. The neighbor would be liable if it can be proved that the tree was defective and the neighbor was at fault.

2. The property owner is always responsible for removal and notice to neighbor does not shift responsibility.

3. If notice was given, the neighbor would be responsible and there would be no need to establish fault.

Monday, December 3, 2012


Unfortunately, I cannot volunteer today but please note:

"Nassau residents caught in the growing mortgage foreclosure crisis can have their questions answered by attorneys at a free clinic sponsored by the Nassau County Bar Association at the NCBA headquarters, 15th and West Streets, Mineola, NY. Attorneys have volunteered to provide one-on-one guidance, advice and direction to any Nassau County homeowner who is concerned about foreclosure matters or is already in the foreclosure process involving property in Nassau County.

Attorneys have volunteered to review individual foreclosure issues with Nassau homeowners, help them sort things out, and give advice or refer them to agencies and programs, right in the same room, that may be able to help. This is not legal representation. The attorneys will help the homeowner find out if indeed, they need a credit counselor or a lawyer, and get them in touch with available resources.

In addition to meeting one-on-one with a volunteer attorney, housing counselors, bankruptcy attorneys and representatives from Nassau/Suffolk Law Services -- which provides free legal services for those who meet certain income guidelines -- are on hand to provide assistance.

→ Reservations are required by calling the Bar Association at 516-747-4070. Please bring your mortgage documents. Attorneys fluent in other languages are available upon request when reserving.

All clinics are 3-6 p.m. and are held at the Nassau County Bar Association in Mineola."