April 2017 Archives

Welcome to the April 2017 Issue of Electronically In Touch

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We are pleased to submit the April 2017 Issue of Electronically In Touch. This issue contains a practice note on transient occupancy, a call for the involvement of senior lawyers in the Young Lawyers Section, and helpful information for any attorneys,law students, and/or their families that may be suffering from an addiction or mental disorders.

Electronically In Touch is a member driven publication. We welcome submissions from members on any relevant topic, including practice tips, substantive legal articles, case updates, work/life balance, and information regarding upcoming meetings and events. Please submit articles to Sasha R. Grandison, Esq. at srgrandison@gmail.com or Anne LaBarbera, Esq. at annelabarbera@gmail.com by the 1st of each month.

The Officers of YLS and the Editors of Electronically In Touch wish to make clear that the thoughts and opinions expressed in the articles that follow are those of the respective authors and do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the New York State Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section, its Officers, or Executive Committee.

A Message from the Chair of the Young Lawyers Section

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"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
- Winston Churchill.

Right now, for many, we are in a period of civil involvement and social engagement. People see things in society that they either agree or disagree with and are standing up to make their positions heard. But after every protest or position statement, there is always of the question of "so what?" Now that your voice has been heard, what action steps do you plan on taking to bring about the change you desire?

This is why I take great pride in being an active member of the New York State Bar Association. Our volunteer members take meaningful steps on a daily basis towards improving our profession and our state. These steps involve pro bono and community service projects, funding of legal services for the underprivileged, and lobbying to make sure that legislators understand the realities of decisions. Changes might not happen in a day. This spring, after five years of tireless effort by NYSBA and other groups, New York passed legislation allowing for sealing of some criminal convictions allowing those who have served their time and proven their rehabilitation to remove the stigma of a criminal conviction. This couldn't have been accomplished without the attorneys who volunteered their time to study the issue, meet with advocacy groups on both sides, and continuously talk to legislators.

I have proudly volunteered as the Chair of the Young Lawyers Section for the past year and appreciate that this section would not be the great section that it is without the tireless efforts of all those young lawyers who have volunteered to help plan events, joined our committees, and served on the executive committee. We might not have passed legislation, but each member contributed to the profession and opened the door for the next generation of young lawyers. I know I'm leaving the section in good hands with John Christopher, Terrence Tarver, Lauren Sharkey, and Mike DiFalco at the helm.

Erin K. Flynn

The number one reason why President-Elect, Sharon Stern Gerstman, is going to be a great NYSBA President is that she is a knitter! However, the second and arguably the most important reason she will be a great President is that she welcomes and encourages participation by Young Lawyers in the New York State Bar Association.

We were pleased to have President-Elect Gerstman stop in our Executive Committee meeting during Trial Academy in April 2017 to offer words of advice and encouragement to the committee. The Young Lawyers Section was treated to an invitation by the President-Elect to get involved in committees and we were encouraged to contact her if interested in being appointed to a NYSBA Committee.

Thank you President-Elect Gerstman for your leadership and encouragement and shall put your words into action!

Practice Note: Transient Occupancy

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By: Joshua S. Stricoff, Esq.

Recently, the City of New York has been ramping up enforcement of its illegal transient occupancy laws. The City's enforcement efforts are aimed at curbing illegal occupancies stemming from websites such as Airbnb. Curiously, the City is not going after the illegal short-term occupant or the individual illegally renting out his or her apartment. Rather, the City is ticketing--and sometimes even suing--the landlord of the building in which the illegal transient occupancy is occurring. Illegal transient occupancies present an extraordinary legal and financial risk to landlords, especially out-of-possession landlords. Luckily, there are measures that landlords can take to protect themselves in the face of City enforcement efforts.

First of all, what is an illegal transient occupancy?

The law on illegal transient occupancies is rather counter-intuitive. The State legislature did not enact a law specifically banning illegal transient occupancies. Instead, the legislature amended the statute that provides the definition for Class-A Multiple Dwellings, which are residential buildings where there are three or more individual units for rent. The "Class-A" designation is memorialized in a Certificate of Occupancy. Therefore, as a threshold matter, landlords owning buildings with two or less units for rent are not subject to the City's enforcement efforts.

However, landlords owning buildings with three or more units for rent are subject to the enforcement efforts. Section 4.8.a. of the Multiple Dwelling Law restricts the use of Class-A Multiple Dwellings for only "permanent residence purposes." This consists of occupancy of an apartment or other dwelling unit by the same individual or family for thirty consecutive days.
There are two important exceptions to this restriction. First, an occupancy of fewer than thirty days is permissible if a lawful permanent occupant remains in the apartment. For example, if a tenant in a ten apartment building with a lawful one-year lease (Tenant A) rents out one room in her two bedroom apartment to a guest staying for only three days (Tenant B), there is no illegal transient occupancy as long as Tenant A is still living in the apartment during that time. The fact that Tenant A is receiving monetary compensation from Tenant B is irrelevant if Tenant A is living in the apartment with Tenant B during those three days. This may constitute a violation of a subleasing prohibition in Tenant A's lease, but it is not illegal. The second exception relates to short-term tenancies where there is no monetary compensation. In those circumstances, the permanent occupant can be absent from the apartment for personal reasons such as vacation or medical treatment. Using the previous example, if Tenant B did not pay Tenant A, then Tenant B can stay in Tenant A's apartment while Tenant A is on vacation or absent for some other personal reason.

Thus, what is illegal is an occupant paying for and staying in a Class-A Multiple Dwelling for less than thirty days while the permanent occupant is absent from the apartment or dwelling unit. Tenant A's landlord can face fines and legal action if Tenant A, for monetary compensation, rents her entire apartment to Tenant B for the weekend via Airbnb while Tenant A is out of town.

What if Tenant A's landlord is not aware of Tenant A's activities?

Section 28-210.3 of the New York City Administrative Code ("Admin. Code") makes it unlawful "for any person or entity who owns or occupies a multiple dwelling or dwelling unit classified for permanent residence purposes to use or occupy, offer or permit the use or occupancy or to convert for use or occupancy such multiple dwelling or dwelling unit for other than permanent residence purposes" (emphasis added). The City is using the word "permit" to levy fines and commence litigation against out of possession landlords who had no knowledge of their tenants' activities. For example, in The City of New York v. NYC Midtown LLC, et al. the City fined the owner of a three floor walk-up building for a three-day Airbnb occupancy occurring in one of the units behind the landlord's back.

What is at stake for landlords?

Landlords risk thousands of dollars in fines and, in extreme situations, complex litigation commenced by the City. If the City suspects an illegal transient occupancy, they will send a Department of Buildings ("DOB") inspector to the building to investigate and issue Environmental Control Board ("ECB") violations. These violations can result in thousands of dollars in fines and legal fees-- and City will not issue just a single violation. To go back to our earlier example, the City operates under the theory that Tenant A's landlord is running an illegal hotel and then not only issues the violation for an illegal transient occupancy, but also several fire safety violations. Hotels have to comply with more stringent fire safety laws than Class-A Multiple Dwellings, so the City will issue violations to Tenant A's landlord for "permitting" a transient occupancy and failing to comply with the fire safety laws related to hotel accommodations/lawful transient occupancies. Tenant A's landlord will receive additional fines for failing to have two means of egress, lack of adequate sprinklers, failure to provide a special fire alarm system for transient occupants, lack of evacuation plans, and more. DOB scrutiny may naturally--and often does--lead to additional violations for any other irregularities existing in the building, even those unrelated to transient occupancies. The fines resulting from these violations can cost landlords tens of thousands of dollars.

In extreme situations, where there are continuous and numerous transient occupancy violations, the City will commence a nuisance abatement action against the landlord. A nuisance abatement action is law suit against the landlord and the building itself in what is called an in rem proceeding, which is a legal action against a physical space. In these proceedings, the City alleges that pervasive illegal transient occupants constitutes a threat to public safety, health and welfare. To demonstrate how seriously the City takes this issue, in papers supporting one of their nuisance abatement actions, the City wrote that illegal transient occupancies "adversely impacts the quality of life for the non-transient permanent residents of those [b]uildings who are lawfully occupying the [b]uildings due to the inhospitable conditions created by transient short-term occupants whose tourist lifestyle is usually not compatible and presents greater risks for permanent residents of a building." As of now, Courts are relatively deferential to the City's legal position, with one judge even commenting that illegal transient occupancies presents a situation where "people's lives are at risk." As a part of these nuisance abatement actions, the City seeks millions of dollars in damages, permanent injunctions against illegal short-term occupancies in the subject buildings, and court appointed receivers to manage the buildings. These injunctions are especially troublesome because if a tenant, without the landlord's knowledge, illegally rents her apartment via Airbnb, then the landlord can be held in civil and criminal contempt of court, which can result in additional fines and potentially incarceration. Court appointed receivers can be equally troublesome. Appointment of a receiver is an event of default under many mortgage and loan agreements. Receivers, therefore, place landlords at risk of foreclosure or a costly refinancing.

How can landlords protect themselves?

The City's enforcement policy puts landlords in the unfortunate and untenable position of prohibiting something that realistically cannot be stopped. There is nothing a landlord can do to stop its tenants from using Airbnb. However, there are measures that landlords can take to establish their diligence in not "permitting" illegal transient occupancies.

These measures include regularly sending agents or employees to buildings to knock on doors and speak with tenants, keeping a detailed and contemporaneous log of all visits to the building by the landlord or her agents, keeping a log book for all visitors in doorman buildings, signing up for services such as subletalert.com that track Airbnb advertisements occurring in specific buildings, and placing clear anti-subleasing provisions in their leases.

Most importantly, however, landlords must contact their tenants as soon as they discover that an illegal occupancy is occurring in the building. Specifically, landlords should serve their tenants with a ten-day notice to cure. This notice informs tenants that their leases will be terminated unless they cease subletting their apartments to illegal transient occupants. If a tenant continues to illegally sublease her apartment, then it is in the landlord's best interest to immediately terminate the lease and, if necessary, commence an eviction proceeding against the tenant.

In short, illegal transient occupancies present a tremendous legal and financial risk to a vast majority of New York City landlords.

Joshua S. Stricoff is an Associate at Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara & Wolf, LLP, in the Brooklyn Office. Mr. Stricoff is a member of the firm's Commercial Litigation Department, where he has represented clients in a wide variety of contractual, real estate and administrative disputes. Mr. Stricoff earned his juris doctorate from Fordham University School of Law and his undergraduate degree from Ursinus College, where he graduated Magnum Cum Laude, with honors Politics and Philosophy, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. While in law school, Mr. Stricoff was an active member of Fordham Journal of Corporate and Financial Law and the Dispute Resolution Society. This article was previously published online at Abrams, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara & Wolf, LLP.

A 2016 Journal of Addiction Medicine study revealed that attorneys suffer from substance abuse and mental disorders, including depression and anxiety at higher rates than adults in other professions. Notably, approximately 61% of the attorneys reported experiencing issues with anxiety and 46% reported experiencing issues with depression.

If you or someone you may know is suffering from drug and/or alcohol addiction, depression, anxiety, and/or any other mental health condition, we encourage you to contact the New York State Bar Association Lawyer Assistance Program ("LAP"). LAP provides free and confidential services, including referral to resources, counseling, and rehabilitation services; early identification of impairment; motivation and information to seek help; and training programs on alcoholism, stress management, and drug abuse.

You can contact LAP at: 1-800-255-0569 or lap@nysba.org.

EIT's Recommended Events

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May 19, 2017

LAP Spring Retreat 2017 - This Lawyer Assistance Program event is in the Adirondack region.

Cost: $70 for NYSBA Members, Spouses and Guests are welcome at a reduced rate. Children can register for free.
Dates: May 19, 2017 to May 21, 2017


June 6, 2017

Ethics 2017: Legal Ethics in the Real World - 4 MCLE Ethics credits are available for this event which is centrally located in Syracuse. This program analyses actual inquiries to the NYSBA Committee on Professional Ethics.

Cost: $125 for NYSBA members
Time: 9 am to 1 pm


June 9, 2017

Representation in Family Court Proceedings - MCLE credits will be available. Complementary event. Lunch served during and awards ceremony for the Outstanding Achievements in Promoting Standards of Excellence in Mandated Representation and the Denison Ray Criminal Defender Awards.

Cost: Complimentary
Time: 10 am to 5 pm, Registration at 9:30 am


A full list of all New York State Bar Association Events can be found at www.nysba.org.

The Young Lawyers Section Seeks Senior Lawyers

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By: Anne LaBarbera, Esq.

Wait, what? That is right. The NYSBA Young Lawyers Section is looking for greater participation from our senior lawyers. Many readers may be asking the obvious question, 'How can you be a Senior Young Lawyer' and for the answer I would direct the reader to the definitions of Senior Lawyer and Young Lawyer.

The Senior Lawyers Section defines a Senior Lawyer as an attorney who is over the age of 55 and the Young Lawyers Section defines a Young Lawyer an attorney admitted ten years or fewer. So with this in mind, it becomes immediately obvious that it is not only possible, but probable that there be NYSBA members who are Senior Young Lawyers.

NYSBA Young Lawyers Section liaison, Megan O'Toole did some research and found out that more than 600 members of NYSBA qualify to join both the Senior Lawyers Section of the organization as well as the Young Lawyers Section. This research came about as a result of a discussion at the last Young Lawyers Section Executive Committee Meeting in which outgoing Section Chair, Erin Flynn and incoming Chair, John Christopher, lamented that we have not, in recent memory, been able to have a YLS liaison to the Senior Lawyers because we have not identified a member who is a member of both sections. John Christopher later said 'I don't know if we have ever had [a liaison to the Senior Lawyers] since I started, so if we find one, it may be a first.'

And so the search was begun to find at least one Senior Young Lawyer to fill that role. After Megan's research results, there is no chance that we will be satisfied with finding one Senior Young Lawyer to participate in the section. Now that we know there are more than six hundred NYSBA members who fit the description, we have changed the mission entirely from the search for a mythical unicorn who could serve as the elusive liaison to the Senior Lawyers, to a determination to get the word out that Senior Lawyers who are Young Lawyers are welcome at YLS and would be received with enthusiasm to participate in the Section in as many ways as there are Senior Young Lawyers.

We do however hope that one of you will be interested in participating as the liaison to the Senior Lawyers Section so we can have one. Other positions that remain open at this time are liaison to the Intellectual Property Section, liaison to the Judicial Section (must also be a Judge and possibly a unicorn), as well delegates to several districts. There is also always room for co delegates and co liaisons so Senior Young Lawyers, let us know how you want to participate!

To get involved, please contact our NYSBA liaison, Megan O'Toole at motoole@nysba.org

New Members of the Young Lawyers Section

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We are pleased to welcome the following new members to the Young Lawyers Section:

Samson Adler
Jeffrey Brown
Anastasia Dorofeeva
Bruce Gomez
Ankit Kapoor
Elidi Lara
Michael Pottetti
Alison Snyder
Yuxuan Sun
Bojun Zhang

Judicial District: 01

Jacqueline Marie Aiello, Esq.
James R. Alicea
Gonzalo Anton
Corinne Avanzino
Evelyn Bagdasarova, Esq.
Stephanie N Baran, Esq.
Bhagyalaxmi Basotia
Mara Bento
Katherine Ruiz Boada
Matteo Carrera
Pallavi Chandrasekhar
Shneur Zalman Cole
Melanie Jane Debrosse, Esq.
Devanshi Desai
John Raymond Dillon, Esq.
Alexandra Ferlise
Sabrina Frean
Brandon Fremed
Ashley Glazewski
Alisa Gorbunova
Hilary Greeff
Catherine Hartmann
Migir Ilganayev, Esq.
Roya Imani
Jason Jacobs
Sungyong Kang
Lindsay Korn
Ohad Krief
Tiffany Larson
Daniel Levinas, Esq.
Juan Luchi Puig
David Samuel Marcou, Esq.
Yarciyn Mena
Jonathan Milohnic
Jordyn Mitzman
Evan J. Preminger, Esq.
Teemu Puutio
Kristen M. Ramos, Esq.
Rafael Rencoret
Michael Anthony Rolek, Esq.
Aslihan Routledge
Alexander Ihor Sawczuk, Esq.
Matthew Jason Schwartz, Esq.
Justyna Sobczyk
Pollyane Spinasse
Andrew Nicholas Stahl, Esq.
Raphael Stern
Asena Surmen
Davide Szep
Veronika Timofeeva
Ami Sharon Watkin, Esq.
Rilana Wenske
Jaclyn Wishnia
Elizabeth Zakheim
Razeen Zaman
Juan Bautista Zambon

Judicial District: 02

Mrs. Diana Acosta Esq.
Kim Baker
Michael W. Bethoney, Esq.
Elisheva Betjackov
Natalie Bledman
Daniel Robert Bunge, Esq.
Michael Kuhn-wai Chiu, Esq.
Sean Davis
Jade D. Edwards, Esq.
Kate E. Giessel, Esq.
Zachary Isaac Gold, Esq.
Timothy Haslam Gray, Esq.
Jaclyn Hellreich
Deborah Hertz
Gregory Martin Juell, Esq.
Stavroula Kalogerogiannis
Frank Kelly
Stephanie King, Esq.
Solomon Lim
Vara Gartin Lyons, Esq.
Jonathan Mason
Nicole Morgan
Rios O'Leary-Tagiuri
Paul Young Park
Kenneth Levon Perkins, Esq.
Elliot S. Schubin, Esq.
Tatyana Segal, Esq.
Randall Tesser
Andreas Panagiotis Verrios, Esq.
Kaitlin A. Wallace, Esq.
Esther Wortman
Michelle Yeung

Judicial District: 03

Dana Michelle Bergmann, Esq.
Peter Black
Kristen M. Casper
Francesca Juliet Corbacho, Esq.
Andrew Kossowski
Konstandinos D. Leris
Henry RZ Liu, Esq.
Kimberly A. Van Wormer

Judicial District: 04

Aimee Fournier

Judicial District: 05

Douglas S. Bullock
Scott D. Cerio, Esq.
Rachel Friedman
Shahnoz Mamadatoeva
Justin P. McHugh, Esq.
Michael Polkhovsky
Milan Tang

Judicial District: 06

Loana Benjamin
Mark Carper
Michael Duke
Rudolf Efremov

Judicial District: 07

Lucy Anderson Brado, Esq.
Aaron Thomas Frazier

Judicial District: 08

Ashley Corene Blahowicz, Esq.
Caitlin C. Collins, Esq.
Theresa Joe Ferrara, Esq.
Emily Florczak
Meaghan Phelan Kelsey, Esq.
Mr. Michael Kozlowski Jr. Esq.
Dominique Josette Mendez, Esq.
Meghan Rae Olsowski
Christopher John Sasiadek, Esq.
Gerald J. Whalen, II, Esq.
Mengyi Xu, Esq.

Judicial District: 09

Bryan Cipolla
Tanyell Cooke
Patricie Drake, Esq.
Samantha Rae Fabricant, Esq.
Meg Christiny Ferreira Cirilo
Sylvie Lamothe, Esq.
Rachel Lust
Elizabeth Z. Marcus, Esq.
Andreia Moura
Anu Paulose, Esq.
Patrica Rau
Maria Reyes Vargas
Paul A. Wugman, Esq.

Judicial District: 10

Kerry Beal
Andrew Buonincontri
Brittney Cox
Joshua A. Dell
Juzel Duenas, Esq.
David Joshua Feldman, Esq.
Alexana Gaspari, Esq.
Stephanie Kenn
Dennis Lyons, Esq.
Paul N. Macerino, Esq.
Stephen Timothy McLinden
Seth Adam Nadel, Esq.
Ishara Quick
Joanna Sedlak
Jordan Michael Silber, Esq.
Brenda Slochowsky

Judicial District: 11

Sultan Alyousef
Abigail Champness
Kurt Andreas Doiron, Esq.
Monica Ferreira
Esther Feuer
Anthony K.C. Fong, Esq.
Daniel G. Hochman
Yezi Hua
Fotini Karamouzis, Esq.
Mui Karen Kuo, Esq.
Illana Leiser
Yang Liu
Samuel Malebranche
Jennifer Mok, Esq.
Christos Chris Philippos Moutousis, Esq.
Ayishetu Rahaman, Esq.
Amina Rashad-Hoque, Esq.
Ewelina Sierzputowska
Veronica Jacquelin Springer, Esq.
Shiyu Wang, Esq.
Christopher Theodore Wellington, Esq.

Judicial District: 12

Randy Abreu, Esq.
Aleks Kovkov
Melissa Elizabeth Young, Esq.

Judicial District: 13

Michael Louis Henry, Esq.
Alina Kipnis
Gregory Santo Lombardi, Esq.

Judicial District: 99

Tracy U. Azinge, Esq.
Andrew M. Boytos
Jiajie Cao
Nicholas A. Caselli, Esq.
Yixin Che
Lawrence Chinsky
Brian Clancy
Michael Conforti
Courtney Connor
Emma A. Coppola
John DeLuca
John Edwards
Marco Fornari, Esq.
Elizabeth Fuzaylov
Sherry Gelenius
Lynne Glass
Yanyan Hu
Deepti Jain
Anna Kaminsky
Evi T. Katsantonis, Esq.
Kelsie Kelly
Siobhan Kinealy, Esq.
Megan Linares
Lauren Ashley MacDonald, Esq.
Emma McElligott
Christina McGinnis
Jason McMullen
Chan Tov McNamarah
Lila Rebecca Miller, Esq.
Rachael Miller
Leslyn Moore
Lavitta Murray
Allen Nguyen
Alexander O'Sullivan-Pierce, Esq.
Dipa Patel
Joseph R. Patton, Esq.
Stephanie M. Platt, Esq.
Louis Poggioli
Cory Poker
Steff Prebay
Amy Pujara
Soleiman Raie, Esq.
Alexandra Rappaport
Sabine Rospide, Esq.
Anielka Del Socorro Sanchez Godinez, Esq.
Nicholas Scoullos
Katherine Shim
Jacob G. Shulman
Michael Simone
Susan Skiba
Jarrod Sowell
Daniel Stalter
Matthew John Stankiewicz, Esq.
Jana Beth Steenholdt, Esq.
Joseph Stimmel
Alvina Swati
Steven Roman Szaro
Christopher M. Tansey, Esq.
Jewel Tewiah
Ahmed Toure
Oksana Tuncer
Peter Urmston
Sewoon Yu

Join The Young Lawyers Section

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Become the voice of newly-admitted and young attorneys in NYSBA. Designed to help make the transition from law school to practice an easier one for newly-admitted attorneys, the Young Lawyers Section connects you with experienced attorneys lending general advice, legal guidance, or expert opinions. Take advantage of educational programs, networking events, and the exclusive Young Lawyers Section Mentor Directory, which is just one of the Section's mentoring initiatives. The Section publishes Electronically In Touch and Perspective. Law students may also join the Section and get a jump start on their careers.

Are you interested in volunteering for a Section Committee? Please email Megan O'Toole at motoole@nysba.org and indicate the committees you wish to join.


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Electronically In Touch
is the electronic news-publication of the NYSBA Young Lawyers Section (YLS). It is a member-driven publication that encourages YLS members to write articles. We welcome submissions from members on any relevant topic, including practice tips, substantive legal articles, case updates, work/life advice, and information regarding upcoming meetings and events. Please submit articles to Sasha R. Grandison, Esq. at srgrandison@gmail.com or Anne LaBarbera, Esq. at annelabarbera@gmail.com by the 1st of each month.

The Officers of YLS and the Editors of Electronically In Touch wish to make clear that the thoughts and opinions expressed in the articles that follow are those of the respective authors and do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the New York State Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section, or its Officers or Executive Committee.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2017 listed from newest to oldest.

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