Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. Defeats Neighbor’s Attempt for Restraining Order Halting Construction in the Name of Adverse Possession
Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. recently defeated an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order by a neighbor seeking to permanently enjoin Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client, a Westchester developer, from any construction on a new subdivision adjoining the neighbor’s property. The proposed action, brought by Order to Show Cause, in an attempt to blackmail the developer into selling it the neighboring 100 x 200 foot lot in the subdivision for far below market value based on a stale and abandoned adverse possession claim.
The developer, with deep roots in the village, created the six-lot subdivision out of multiple older properties after more than a decade of planning in close coordination with the government and meeting all environmental and zoning requirements, during which time, despite its total silence during the multi-year subdivision approval process, and its former counsel’s assistance in assuring that the subdivision meets all lot size and zoning requirement – including representations to the village about the actual property line with each adjoining property – the neighbor asserts that, for a period of time beginning in the early 1980’s, it adversely possessed a portion of the subdivision bordering its northern property line.
Over the past two years, the neighbor sought repeated government intervention, through a campaign of local complaints and multiple lawsuits, all aimed at forcing the developer to sell it the neighboring lot for far less than market value. Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. has rebuffed these attempts at every turn, vigorously opposing the neighbor’s adverse possession suit and attempting to secure a fair negotiated settlement – all while preserving the client’s right to continue developing the remainder of the subdivision, much of which has already been completed. After its latest undervalue offer to purchase the adjoining property was roundly rejected by the developer and Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., and nearly two years after launching its first nuisance lawsuit accusing the developer of generating too much noise on the neighboring parcel – which was resolved through an on-the-record settlement – the neighbor filed the restraining order as part of a new action against both the village and, purportedly, the developer seeking to halt all development on the entire neighboring parcel pending a determination on its adverse possession claim over a 15-foot slice of the property. Not unexpectedly, in its rush to file – and despite the fact that it has been litigating against the developer for years in multiple other nuisance lawsuits – the neighbor misnamed the developer and then moved for default.
Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. then eloquently argued that (1) no development was currently occurring on the neighboring parcel and (2) the injunction seeking to permanently stop development on the entire parcel pending determination of the plaintiffs’ adverse possession claim was both unfounded in law and sought relief that far exceeded any rights the neighbor may have if successful in the underlying lawsuit. Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. further offered as evidence both recent aerial drone footage showing the nature of the construction on the subdivision which proved the adjoining parcel was not under development, and the numerous permits and approvals from the village – including recent visits from the village engineer and inspector confirming the propriety of the development activity – that would permit development of the adjacent parcel if necessary. Likewise, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. called the Court’s attention to specific concessions in the agreement settling its first action wherein the neighbor confirmed Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s clients’ right to develop the adjoining parcel as needed without any approvals from the neighbor or the Court.
Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client won on all counts and the Court declined to require any stand-still or other work stoppage in the pending final determination of the adversary’s motion. The judge recognized the neighbor’s bullying tactics and efforts of extortion during oral argument.
Adam Leitman Bailey, Eric S. Askanase, and John M. Desiderio secured the victory for the developer in this matter.