RIVER YORK STRATFORD, LLC, Petitioner–Landlord v. Estelle LINDERMAN and Martin Resnick, Respondents–Tenants–Respondents, Corey Resnick, “John Doe” and/or “Jane Doe,” Respondents–Undertenants–Respondents.
Order (Brenda S. Spears, J.), entered February 4, 2011, reversed, with $10 costs, motion denied and petition reinstated.
Respondents' preanswer motion to dismiss this September 2010 nonprimary residence holdover proceeding should have been denied. “The meaning and coverage of a general release depends on the controversy being settled and upon the purpose for which the release was actually given ․ A release may not be read to cover matters which the parties did not desire or intend to dispose of” (Lefrak SBN Assocs. v. Kennedy Galleries, 203 A.D.2d 256, 257 , citing Cahill v. Regan, 5 N.Y.2d 292, 299  ). Here, the release in question was part of a stipulation, so-ordered on May 14, 2009, which resolved an attorneys' fee dispute arising from an earlier (2001) nonprimary residence proceeding and related agency proceedings involving these same parties. The stipulation included a provision (paragraph 7) releasing each side from “any and all claims ․ relating to [the respondent-tenants'] occupancy of the Apartment through the date of this Stipulation.”
Considering the narrow scope of the “controversy being settled” (Lefrak, 203 A.D.2d at 257) and accepting as true the petitioner-landlord's sworn allegations as to the intended reach of the settlement (see Enock v. National Westminster Bankcorp., 226 A.D.2d 235  ), respondents failed to establish that the release was intended to bar prosecution of the within nonprimary residence eviction claim, which, notably, did not become actionable until, at the earliest, June 1, 2010 (or more than a year after execution of the settlement agreement), at the end of the so-called “window period” prior to the expiration of the tenant-respondents' most recent renewal lease (see 615 Co. v. Mikeska, 75 N.Y.2d 987  ). In reinstating the holdover petition, we express no view as to the potential impact, if any, of the release provisions on the temporal scope of petitioner's trial evidence.
THIS CONSTITUTES THE DECISION AND ORDER OF THE COURT.