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Graham Court Owner's Corp. v. Taylor, 18

In this dispute involving the tenant's alleged breach of his lease, the tenant denied that he breached the lease, asserted a defense of retaliatory eviction, and counterclaimed for attorneys' fees and damages under Real Property Law sections 234 and 233-b. The Appellate Division granted tenant's claim for attorneys' fees pursuant to section 234 and affirmed the lower court's award of damages to the tenant on his retaliatory eviction claim. The Appellate Division then certified the question of whether its order was properly made. The certified question is answered in the affirmative, where: 1) section 234, which imposes a covenant in favor of a tenant's right to attorneys' fees, applies to a lease that authorizes the landlord to cancel the lease upon tenant's default, repossess the premises, and then collect attorneys' fees incurred in retaking possession; 2) such lease permits the landlord to recover fees that result from the tenant's breach, and therefore serves as the basis for the tenant's implied rights to attorneys' fees; 3) section 234 applies to the parties' lease here; and 4) the tenant is entitled to attorneys' fees as the prevailing party.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 02/19/2015
  • Published 02/19/2015

Judges

  • Rivera

Court

  • Court of Appeals of New York

Counsel

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