Our client, a shareholder in a landmarked, prestigious cooperative apartment building faced a unique challenge:the cooperative was responsible for maintaining the windows in his unit that were installed in mid-century and pivoted in and out. However, the cooperative failed to maintain the windows and a leaking condition ensued. When the shareholder sought to have the leaks and windows repaired, a cooperative obligation under the proprietary lease, the cooperative sought to replace the unique windows and replace them with nondescript “plain vanilla” windows that were approved by the landmarks commission. The cooperative also sought to change the proprietary lease to shift window maintenance to the shareholders. Aggrieved by the potential loss of the unique windows and concomitant loss of shareholder value and angered by the cooperative’s ultra-vires shift of maintenance responsibilities, the shareholder brought suit.
Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. engaged a unique team of engineers, architects and artisans to analyze the legitimacy of the Board’s claims that the windows could not be repaired, and must be replaced. Using this creative combination of legal and engineering expertise, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. established that the windows were structurally sound and repairable and would not run afoul of landmarks. These factors and the questionable attempt to shift the maintenance responsibilities brought the question of whether the cooperative’s actions were protected under the business judgment rule.
The firm’s aggressive litigation stance ultimately set the stage for a comprehensive settlement whereby the shareholder was permitted to keep the unique windows and have all repairs paid for by the cooperative.
Jeffrey R. Metz and Joanna C. Peck were the attorneys from Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. who represented the shareholder in this case.