Van Straaten v. 125 Court St. LLC

Landlord/Tenant Law

New York Law Journal

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Justice Bernard Graham

In a putative class action, plaintiffs, 10 current or former tenants of a rent-stabilized residential building that is owned and managed by the defendant, 125 Court Street LLC, alleged two broad categories of claims: the first set of claims are rent-related and the second set of claims are electricity-related. Plaintiffs alleged, among other things, that defendant offered to prospective tenants leases that falsely listed the rent therein as the maximum legal regulated rent, even though the listed rent was far in excess of the actual maximum legal regulated rent. Plaintiffs contended that when existing tenants renewed, they allegedly paid more than the actual legal regulated rent. Defendant moved to dismiss plaintiffs' GBL §349 cause of action for failure to state a claim. The court held that plaintiffs' rent-related claims under GBL §349 withstand defendant's motion to dismiss, finding that defendant's conduct is akin to "an extensive marketing scheme, where it involved the multi-media dissemination of information to the public, and where it constituted a standard or routine practice that was consumer-oriented in the sense that it potentially affected similarly situated consumers," previously held to be actionable under GBL §349.

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