Tenant Can File Late Answer and Conduct Pre-Trial Questioning in Nuisance Case
LVT Number: #31571
Landlord sued to evict rent-stabilized tenant for breaching a substantial obligation of her tenancy and for creating a nuisance through objectionable conduct. Landlord claimed that tenant caused loud music to emanate from her apartment in violation of Rent Stabilization Code Section 2524.3(b),(d), her lease, and house rules. When tenant failed to respond or to appear for the initial court date in March 2020, the case was adjourned for an inquest. But then the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the courts for several months, and the court adjourned the case to February 2021. By then, tenant had obtained an attorney and asked the court for permission to file a late answer and to conduct pre-trial questioning.
The court ruled for tenant despite landlord's objections. Any delay in the proceedings wasn't tenant's fault but resulted from the court-ordered procedural restrictions during the past year and a half. During this time, among other things, in-person court appearances were prohibited, case filings were limited to HP and illegal lockout proceedings, pending cases were administratively adjourned, and there was minimal delay in the filing of tenant's request. Tenant also had a potentially meritorious defense. She claimed that landlord failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for her mental disability. So the court granted tenant's request to file a late answer. The court also granted tenant's request to serve interrogatories and a document demand. Tenant sought the names of individuals affected by tenant's behavior. Landlord claimed that there had been a number of non-emergency 311 complaints about tenant's conduct.
Nysandy3 Nbp11 LLC v. Thompson: Index No. LT 8645/2020, 2021 NY Slip Op 50689(U)(Civ. Ct. Bronx; 7/9/21; Miller, J)