Matter of Stellar Sedgwick LLC v. Rhea
NEW YORK COUNTY
Justice Cynthia Kern
Owner Stellar Sedgwick LLC sought to compel New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to approve and implement monthly increases in Section 8 subsidy shares of rent for 12 tenants residing at Stellar's premises. NYCHA cross-moved to dismiss the petition. The court noted each of the 12 tenants had an expired Housing Assistance payment (HAP) contract. Stellar alleged NYCHA failed to make payment in connection with lease renewals and MCI charges, and failed to accept or reject the renewals and MCI charges. The court granted NYCHA's cross-motion to dismiss the petition on the ground Stellar was not entitled to mandamus relief, noting mandamus to compel performance was only granted when a petitioner demonstrated a clear legal right to such relief. It stated a mandamus to compel may not force the performance of a discretionary action, only a purely ministerial one to which a clear legal right exists. The court ruled lease renewal rent increases were not purely ministerial acts, but matters entrusted to NYCHA's discretion, thus Stellar did not have a clear legal right to the requested relief, hence, was not entitled to mandamus relief. It also found Stellar's claims were time-barred, denying the petition.