Judges to Consider City Plan for Union Square Park Restaurants

, New York Law Journal

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The pavilion at the north end of Union Square Park
The pavilion at the north end of Union Square Park

Sanford Weisburst, an attorney for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, will argue on behalf of the coalition that the public trust doctrine was designed by the court to provide a check by the state—in the form of the Legislature's approval—on officials who may be facing undue pressures about the use of parkland.

Among the plaintiffs is Democratic Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, a 43-year veteran of the state Legislature whose district includes the 175-year-old Union Square Park.

In an amicus curiae brief filed in support of the communities coalition, new Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and three other state legislators argue that the Union Square case "implicates the interest of millions of New Yorkers" and would "fundamentally transform one of New York City's most iconic parks."

State senators Liz Krueger and Brad Hoylman and Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, all Democrats from Manhattan, joined Brewer.

But New Yorkers for Parks, a parks and open space promotional group, said in its amicus curiae brief that the restaurant project will "serve park users, enliven parkland and have limited footprints that are appropriate uses of parkland and do not violate the public trust doctrine."

Chef Driven Market is run by the same company that owns Five Napkin Burgers.

Replacement Costs

The insurance case, Executive Plaza v. Peerless Insurance, 2, will be heard today.

Put before the court as a certified question by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (NYLJ, May 28, 2013), it involves an insurer's obligation in light of two potentially conflicting clauses common to insurance contracts.

One provision says any lawsuit for replacement costs of a building lost to an accident must be brought within two years while the other says the property owner, when seeking replacement costs, has to replace the damaged property before bringing suit and complete replacement work "as soon as reasonably possible."

Second Circuit Judge Denny Chin asked when a property cannot be "reasonably replaced" within the two-year limitations period specified in contracts.

"No controlling precedent interprets the suit limitations clause in light of the replacement cost provision," Chin wrote. He added that the "cases available provide little predictive value as to how the Court of Appeals would resolve this issue."

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