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Commercial Tenant Wins Lockout Proceeding

An Upper West Side restaurateur, the owner of an Italian restaurant located at a prime corner property in Morningside Heights, came to Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. after he was illegally locked out of his valuable storage facility. Not only did the landlord change the locks to the space, but also smashed and stole expensive liquor inventory amounting to thousands in money damages. The firm filed an emergency application to the civil court seeking for the space to be restored immediately. The landlord defended the case by claiming the restaurant was a mere licensee of the premises. The troubling issue at trial was whether the storage space was part of the leasehold.

The key to winning this case was in the testimony of the attorney and the broker who negotiated the lease six years ago. Before trial, the firm secured the cooperation of the attorney and broker, interviewed them, and prepared them to testify. The firm also ensured on cross examination of the landlord’s witnesses that it would be completely clear to the trial judge that the landlord repeatedly locked the firm’s client out of the storage space without ever having gone to court for a warrant of eviction. Each time, the landlord relied on this argument that the firm’s client was a mere licensee.

The firm presented its witnesses, gained admissions by the landlord on cross -examination, and ultimately, won the lockout trial and ensured that the firm’s client’s access to his storage space was never interrupted again. As a result of this victory, the restaurateur enjoys triple damages for the landlord’s illegal acts.

Christopher Halligan and Carolyn Rualo represented the commercial tenant in the above referenced case.

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