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In an Unprecedented Decision, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. Defeats an Easement Claim by Summary Judgment

Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. was retained by a long-established Bronx construction company related to one of the few remaining privately owned streets in New York. Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client was sued by its neighbor who claimed an easement over the roadbed owned by Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client. The neighbor, who resided on the street prior to Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client, claimed that they had an easement over the land even before Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client acquired their properties on the street.  Moreover, the neighbor’s supply trucks had purportedly used the roadbed daily for decades and it claimed to jointly control gates at either end closing the road at night to the general public. It appeared like a dire case with the best possible outcome being that the neighbor held an easement to use the roadbed in common with Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client, which would travel with the property and severely reduce the client’s property value.  

It appeared like a dire case with the best possible outcome being that the neighbor did not have an easement but the public did.   

However, after five years of ferocious litigating, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. pursued all leads and using creative lawyering was able to win a motion for summary judgment – an unprecedented outcome in an easement case – not only defeating the neighbor’s claim but the Court went as far as to order that Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. clients had exclusive ownership, including to the center-point of the adjacent roadbed, and that Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. submit a settle order reflecting that to be indexed in the land records.  

Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. was able to secure this result due to its exhausting fact-finding mission. Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. was able to depose independent witnesses who had a prior knowledge of the street’s history and was able to cross-examine the neighbor’s own witnesses during the depositions to refute all the neighbor’s claims that they had exerted any control over the street.  In a twelve-page decision, the Court fully adopted Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s arguments made in favor of summary judgment. By securing such a result before what likely would have been a multiple week trial, saved the client tens of thousands of dollars.   

 

Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s Supreme Court Litigation Practice Group in this matter was led by Eric Askanase, John Desiderio and Jeffrey Metz

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