Manhattan Judge Dismisses ‘Malicious Media Campaign’ $25M Tort Suit Against Alleged Holdover Tenant’s Lawyer
A Manhattan judge has rejected the claim that real estate attorney Adam Leitman Bailey waged a “malicious media campaign” aimed at “shaking down” a developer who is suing Bailey’s client, dismissing a $25 million suit that said the lawyer had committed abuse-of-process and tortious-interference torts.
The dismissal of the suit filed against Bailey and his 29-lawyer Manhattan firm, Adam Leitman Bailey P.C., appears to give some vindication to Bailey. He said publicly in May that Y. David Scharf, the Morrison Cohen litigator and chair who was helping to litigate the tort suit, “cannot win this case under any circumstances, assuming all the facts in it are true, which they are not.”
“I’d be more nervous,” Bailey said in early May in an interview with the New York Law Journal, “but [the lawsuit is] just harassment and bullying. There’s nothing close to abuse of process.”
And, he added, “It’s ridiculous.”
But Scharf and other lawyers working the case at the firm of Morrison Cohen, who represent plaintiff 215 West 84th St. Owner LLC, which is an arm of condo developer Naftali Group, have already filed a notice seeking leave to appeal the dismissal to the state’s high court, court records show.
The $25 million suit against Bailey, launched in May, had made headlines this spring for its unique factual makeup and legal theories. In the action, building owner 215 West 84th St. Owner, represented by Scharf, alleged that Bailey had “turned what should be a dispute settled according to the law” regarding an 84th Street “holdover tenant” being suing by the Naftali Group and represented by Bailey, “into a multi-national media circus.”
Bailey resorted to “extra-judicial channels,” the building owner and Scharf alleged in a 15-page complaint.
And “the key” to Bailey’s strategy was “public pressure and delay,” said the suit, in which the building owner alleged tenant Ahmet Nejat Ozsu was holding out as the lone tenant left in a building set for redevelopment, and that Ozsu kept demanding a seven-figure payout.
More specifically, according to the suit levied against Bailey, he had “engineered for the New York Post to run an article entitled: ‘This Lone Holdout Tenant is Blocking a $70M NYC Luxury Condo Tower’ (despite the fact that plaintiff is still considering what form the Planned Development will take).”
The suit’s complaint added that the “article featured posed photos of ALB [Adam Leitman Bailey] with holdover occupant [Ozsu] inside the property—clearly an event staged by defendants to portray holdover occupant as the David versus the evil Goliath plaintiff.”
And it said “the New York Post article has received several comments on its webpage as of this filing. Many of those responses evidence the harm to plaintiff that defendants’ media campaign is causing, no doubt by design, such as: ‘Naftali is acting like bullies. I wouldn’t buy an apartment from people like them.’”
Moreover, the complaint also laid out a disputed April 19, 2022, incident in which Bailey allegedly tried to have police arrest a Naftali employee after the building placed an industrial air filter outside Ozsu’s apartment door that roars nonstop.
But in her opinion throwing out the building owner’s $25 million tort action against Bailey and his law firm, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Sabrina Kraus took apart the owner’s claims against Bailey for tortious interference with economic advantage and for abuse of process.