Jury Finds That Landlord Committed Illegal Conversion

In the matter of Harleysville Insurance Co. a/s/o Ralph Kroner and Ralph H. Kroner v. Kaufman Management, Company LLC et al., Gregg R. Kurlander, of Kucker Marino Winiarsky & Bittens, LLP, successfully argued a conversion claim that led to a jury award of $2,286.83 in favor of the plaintiff.

The plaintiff, Ralph Kroner, a certified public accountant, had been occupying office space owned by the defendant, 450 7th Avenue Associates, LLC, for approximately eighteen years. Pursuant to his lease agreement, Mr. Kroner provided five months’ notice to his landlord conveying that he planned to merge with another accounting firm at a new location, and therefore planned to relinquish his space at the end of five months.

Plaintiff began the process of moving to his new office space while continuing to pay rent to 450 7th Avenue Associates, LLC. During the move, plaintiff arrived at the old office space only to find that all of his furniture, phone systems, and business files therein had been discarded by the landlord and that demolition had commenced prior to the completion of the remaining five months.

After two days of deliberations the jury found that defendants had acted in a manner that was inconsistent with the plaintiff’s ownership and had committed an illegal conversion. In addition, this verdict was listed in New York Law Journal’s Top New York Verdicts of 2014.