Dep't of Hous. Presrervation & Dev. of City of New York v. Rosenfeld, Index No. 300953/2021

CourtNew York Civil Court
Writing for the CourtHON. JACK STOLLER, J.H.C.
Citation2022 NY Slip Op 50480 (U)
Decision Date10 June 2022
Docket NumberIndex No. 300953/2021
PartiesDepartment of Housing Presrervation and Development of the City of New York, Petitioner, v. J Rosenfeld, JUDA ROSENFELD, and EAST 95 REALTY LLC, Respondent.

2022 NY Slip Op 50480(U)

Department of Housing Presrervation and Development of the City of New York, Petitioner,
v.

J Rosenfeld, JUDA ROSENFELD, and EAST 95 REALTY LLC, Respondent.

Index No. 300953/2021

Civil Court Of The City Of New York, Kings County

June 10, 2022


Unpublished Opinion

For Petitioner: Michael Paul Gdanski

For Respondent: Scott Gross

HON. JACK STOLLER, J.H.C.

Recitation, as required by CPLR §2219(a), of the papers considered in the review of this motion:

Pagesnumbered

Notice of Motion and Supplemental Affirmation Annexed 1, 2

Affirmation and Affidavit In Opposition 3, 4

Affirmation In Reply 5

Upon the foregoing papers, the Decision and Order on this motion are as follows:

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development of the City of New York ("HPD"), the petitioner in this proceeding, commenced this proceeding against J Rosenfeld, Juda Rosenfeld, and East 95th Realty LLC, the respondents in this proceeding ("Respondents"), seeking an order to correct and civil penalties with regard to violations of the New York City Housing Maintenance Code at 1008 Winthrop Street, Brooklyn, New York ("the subject premises"). The parties signed off on an order directing that Respondents correct violations at the subject premises ("the Consent Order"). HPD now moves for an order awarding it civil penalties against Respondents and to join another party as a respondent to this proceeding.

On December 2, 2021, both parties signed off on the Consent Order that directed Respondents to, inter alia, provide hot water to the subject premises. On default, the Consent Order provided that HPD "may seek additional civil penalties." HPD alleges that Respondent has defaulted in the order, evidenced by HPD's placement of three violations. One of the violations, placed on January 12, 2022, is for an inadequate supply of cold water.

The Court construes a consent order to correct in the same way as a binding stipulation that a party enters into instead of taking the risk of an adverse outcome at trial. HPD v. Maccarone, N.Y.L.J., May 25, 2003 at 19:3 (App. Term 2nd and 11th Depts.). As a stipulation is a contract, Matter of Banos v. Rhea, 25 N.Y.3d 266, 276 (2015), the Court construes the consent order according to the canons of contractual construction." Inclusio unius est exclusio alterius," a canon of contractual construction, Two Guys from Harrison-N.Y. v. S.F.R. Realty Assocs., 63 N.Y.2d 396, 404 (1984), provides that a specific provision that only applies to a particular circumstance implies the intended exclusion of that provision from other circumstances. 2626 Bway LLC v. Broadway Metro Assocs., LP, 85 A.D.3d 456, 457 (1st Dept. 2011). As the Consent Order provides for additional penalties for hot water violations and not cold water violations, HPD does not state a cause for additional penalties for cold water violations. [1] Accordingly, the Court will deny so much of HPD's motion as seeks additional penalties for the cold water violation.

On January 12, 2022, HPD placed a "C" violation for inadequate hot water in apartment 2C of the subject premises and on February 7, 2022, HPD placed a "C" violation for inadequate hot water in apartment B8 of the subject premises ("the Hot Water Violations"). HPD's placement of violations gives rise to a presumption that the condition existed. MDL §328(3). As a prima facie matter, then, HPD states cause to impose additional civil penalties on Respondents for the Hot Water Violations, in particular enhanced penalties that apply to hot-water violations recurring in two consecutive calendar years pursuant to N.Y.C. Admin. Code §27-2115(k)(1)(i) ("Enhanced Penalties").

In opposition, Respondents showed a form that HPD generated that informed Respondents to correct the violation from January 12, 2022 on or before January 20, 2022. Respondents' property manager ("the Property Manager") averred in opposition that there was a water leak on January 12, 2022 that forced him to interrupt the boiler and that Respondents corrected the violation that day. Respondents supported this averment with a contemporaneous invoice from a contractor. The Property Manager averred that he waited six days to certify to HPD that Respondents corrected the violation because he wanted to make sure that the underlying leak did not recur. HPD has since removed the violation from its database.

Respondents argue, in essence, that HPD's form with a date of January 20, 2022 estops HPD from seeking civil penalties for any condition that Respondents corrected before January 20, 2022. However, notices of violation, while requiring immediate correction of conditions, can still give owners ten days to certify, Dep't of Hous., Pres. & Dev. v. France, 63 Misc.3d 792, 794 (Civ. Ct. Bronx Co. 2019), which satisfies the notice as required by the hot water provisions of the New York City Housing Maintenance Code. Dep't of Hous., Pres. & Dev. v. France, 73 Misc.3d 132(A)(App. Term 1st Dept. 2021). [2]

Moreover, a party claiming estoppel bears the burden of proving, inter alia, that they changed their position to their injury in reliance on the representation of another. ...

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