Kucker Marino Winiarsky & Bittens, LLP Saves Building Owner Hundreds of Thousands In J-51 (“Roberts”) Litigation

Saul Bruh, James Marino, and Robert Berman of Kucker Marino Winiarsky & Bittens, LLP were instrumental in securing favorable decisions for building owners in Roberts litigation.

Immediately following the Tishman Speyer v. Roberts decision in 2010, a building owner contacted Mr. Marino to discuss the effect this decision would have on some of his tenants. Mr. Marino analyzed the Court of Appeals decision, the building’s rent roll reports, individual apartment leases, and the expiration dates of the J-51 tax abatement benefits in order to determine the best way for the building owners to respond to the changes in the law. Following his analysis, Mr. Marino advised the owner to register certain destabilized apartments as stabilized and to issue rent refunds in order to avoid larger rent overcharge and treble damages claims in the future.

Thereafter, four tenants in that building did in fact bring such claims by filing individual lawsuits against the owner in the Supreme Court. In trials lasting over twenty days, Saul Bruh, with the assistance of Robert Berman, successfully argued on behalf of the building owners and secured a decision that stated its client had committed no wrongdoing whatsoever. The tenants were awarded nothing on their claims and the court confirmed the correctness of the amounts previously refunded by the building owners when they acted on KMWB’s advice six years prior. Mr. Marino’s initial analysis of the Roberts decision coupled with Mr. Bruh’s and Mr. Berman’s litigation strategies saved the owners hundreds of thousands of dollars and also confirmed the proposition that a building owner who responds correctly to changes in the law will be well-served in the end.

If you have any questions regarding the Roberts decision, rent regulation, or how receiving J-51 tax abatement benefits may affect your building, contact Saul Bruh, Jim Marino, or Robert Berman.