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May 18, 2007

Setback for renters’ case, as state judge boots suit

Atlantic Yards Report

Ruling that the renters' lawsuit "was brought both in the wrong church and the wrong pew,” State Supreme Court Justice Walter B. Tolub dismissed their case on the grounds that the plaintiffs have "standing" in appellate court as condemnees:

One of the “smaller” Atlantic Yards lawsuits was dismissed yesterday in state trial court, as the judge—as he strongly hinted in oral arguments March 13—ruled that the case belonged instead in the appellate division, where challenges to eminent domain determinations are heard, but without the legal muscle that could be mustered in trial court.

This case involves 13 tenants in two rent-stabilized buildings in the Atlantic Yards footprint. It is separate from two pending cases organized by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn and allies: a federal court challenge to eminent domain and a state court challenge to the state’s environmental review of Atlantic Yards.

The tenants, represented by attorney George Locker, claim that their landlord, Forest City Ratner, should be subject to the tougher regulations of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), rather than remain free to convey the buildings to ESDC for “friendly condemnations.” Locker also argues that the creation of private roads for the project requires a jury trial—an issue never tested in court.

In the trial court, the Supreme Court, the plaintiffs would have more of an opportunity, via discovery, to extract documents bolstering their case.

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Posted by lumi at May 18, 2007 9:04 AM