StClair v. Sansal, SCNY-16201/2020-1

CourtNew York Civil Court
Writing for the CourtIlana J. Marcus, J.
Citation155 N.Y.S.3d 712,73 Misc.3d 492
Docket NumberSCNY-16201/2020-1
Decision Date14 September 2021
Parties Neil E. STCLAIR, Claimant, v. Tarik SANSAL, and Homepeople Corporation, Defendants.

73 Misc.3d 492
155 N.Y.S.3d 712

Neil E. STCLAIR, Claimant,
v.
Tarik SANSAL, and Homepeople Corporation, Defendants.

SCNY-16201/2020-1

Civil Court, City of New York, New York County.

Decided on September 14, 2021


155 N.Y.S.3d 713

Neil E. StClair, claimant pro se.

Tarik Sansal, defendant pro se.

Ilana J. Marcus, J.

Claimant Neil E. StClair brought this small claims matter against defendants Tarik Sansal and Homepeople Corporation for failure to pay wages in the amount of $3,250.00 and for a doubling of that amount as damages pursuant to the Freelance Isn't Free Act ("FIFA"). A virtual trial was held over the MS Teams platform on August 12, 2021. Claimant is awarded judgment as follows:

It was undisputed that claimant was hired as an independent contractor performing work as the "Chief Growth Officer" and "Chief Operating Officer" of defendant Homepeople Corporation (referred to hereafter as, "Homepeople"). Claimant and Homepeople entered into a written agreement memorializing his consulting agreement on January 2, 2019. Defendant Sansal signed the agreement as the "President and Chief Executive Officer" of Homepeople. The agreement provides that claimant would be paid $6,500.00 monthly, in biweekly installments. Payments were made without issue until February 2020. Claimant was not paid for his biweekly wages spanning February 1, 2020 through February 15, 2020. Shortly thereafter, claimant filed a complaint with the New York City Office of Labor Policy & Standards (OLPS) alleging a FIFA violation. Claimant also commenced this action.

At the outset, the claims as against defendant Sansal are dismissed. The claims here solely stem from non-payment of wages in accordance with the consulting agreement. There are no cognizable claims against defendant Sansal personally, and thus, this action is dismissed as against him.

As to Homepeople, claimant invokes a violation of FIFA as the basis of his claim. Passed in 2016 and made effective in 2017, FIFA created new protections for New York City's freelance workforce against unlawful practices by employers (see NYC Admin Code § 20-927 et seq ). FIFA entitles freelancers to written contracts for any work exceeding $800 during a 120-day period, timely payment, and freedom from retaliation (id. ). FIFA further provides, inter alia, the right to file a complaint with OLPS, and court navigation services, which provide assistance with filing lawsuits, sample contracts, and other information (see Freelance Isn't Free Act: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), available at https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dca/downloads/pdf/workers/FAQs-Freelance.pdf [last accessed Sept. 14, 2021]). Companies in breach of FIFA expose themselves to statutory damages, injunctive relief, and

155 N.Y.S.3d 714

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