Manu Leila Davidson Successfully Defends a Rockland County Cooperative, a Member of its Board, and the Board’s Private Counsel Against Multiple Counterclaims and a Third-Party Complaint

Manu and the firm represented a residential cooperative located in Rockland County, one of its Board members, and the Board’s private counsel (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) in connection counterclaims and a third-party complaint filed against them by a former resident and former Board member (the “Defendant”).

Manu moved to dismiss the counterclaims and third-party complaint in their entirety.  The Court granted the motion, in part, and dismissed the third-party complaint in its entirety and all but two of the counterclaims such that the only claims that survived the motion to dismiss were the counterclaim for breach of the proprietary lease and/or the by-laws against the Board and the defamation counterclaim against the Board member.

Manu filed a motion for reargument. The motion for reargument was granted in its entirety.  It held that the Defendant lacked standing to assert a cause of action for breach of the proprietary lease and/or the by-laws.  The Court also agreed that (1) it misapplied the Court of Appeals’ decision in Liberman v. Gelstein, 80 N.Y.2d 429 (1992), and (2) the alleged defamatory statements attributed to the Board member that: (1) the Defendant threatened to “shoot her between the eyes” and (2) harassed an elderly shareholder in the community, “cannot constitute slander per se.  This would be true even if the statements attributed to [the Board member] rose to the level of misdemeanor harassment, as expressly set forth in Liberman….  This being the case, Defendant is required to allege the existence of special damages, which he has not.”

Copies of the decisions and orders may be viewed here.