News & Noteworthy

Frydman LLC Obtains Dismissal of All Claims in Construction Defects Action

Frydman LLC recently won a motion for summary judgment dismissing a complaint that raised significant allegations and sought relief that could have cost our clients millions of dollars.  One Frydman LLC’s areas of practice concentration is real estate litigation, and this case involved serious allegations of construction defects and related claims.  In an eighteen page decision, the Court dismissed the claims as meritless and time barred.  The dismissal allows our client to avoid trial and removed claims that, if successful, could have led to millions of dollars of construction costs and damages.

Our clients purchased a five story townhouse in New York City and performed a stunningly beautiful gut renovation.  The demolition left little more than the front façade and floor joists and the home is now modernized and stylish.  Several years after completion of the renovation, their neighbor brought a lawsuit alleging that the work was defective, impermissibly used the party wall between the buildings and undermined the structural integrity of the adjacent building.  The claims included nuisance, trespass, property damage, construction defect and Building Code and Zoning violations.  The relief demanded would have required demolishing and rebuilding much of the home and also unspecified monetary damages.

Obtaining the complete dismissal of all claims necessitated two dispositive motions.  The first tranche of the dismissal occurred on the appeal of our pre-answer motion to dismiss the complaint, which the First Department Appellate Division granted in large part.  The appellate court rendered a written decision upholding a Statutes of Limitations defense and finding many of the claims failed to state a valid cause of action.

We then proceeded with fact discovery in which six subpoenas were served on construction professionals and others, nearly 10,000 pages of documents were exchanged and eight depositions were conducted, including of all parties and the main professionals on the project – the project architect, project engineer, inspecting engineer and general contractor’s project manager.  Frydman LLC successfully obtained an order compelling plaintiff to produce the electronic files of contemporaneous digital photographs plaintiff took of the renovation work, with crucial metadata that provided the dates the photographs were taken.  We successfully defended plaintiff’s barrage of motions – eleven in total, including two motions to the Appellate Division.  Frydman LLC also successfully obtained Court orders repeatedly sanctioning plaintiff for discovery failures and frivolous conduct in the litigation.  .

At the close of discovery, we moved for summary judgment dismissing the remaining claims.  Our motion was supported by eight affidavits, including affidavits from two expert witnesses, extensive deposition testimony and over thirty record exhibits, including the metadata from plaintiff’s own photographs.  Following extensive oral argument, the Court issued its eighteen page decision granting our motion in its entirety and dismissing the complaint with prejudice.  The Court held that we supported our motion with sufficient evidence of a lack of construction defects, a lack of infringement of plaintiff’s rights in the party wall, a lack of code violations and affirmative proof that many of the claims were also time barred.  We are very pleased to secure a total victory for our clients, allowing them piece of mind in their home and vindicating their position all along that the project was 100% compliant and of sound construction.