Tenant Can't Get Attorney's Fees
LVT Number: #24454
New York's highest court ruled that, in a rent overcharge proceeding, the DHCR could look back more than four years and freeze the tenant's rent at the level determined in a prior rent reduction order based on reduction of services. Tenant then sought attorney's fees, which the DHCR opposed. The court ruled for tenant. The DHCR appealed and won. Although the high court ultimately disagreed with the DHCR's interpretation of the law, the DHCR's position was "substantially justified" since it had a reasonable basis both in law and fact. When tenant filed his complaint there was in fact case law supporting his position. In addition, since tenant didn't show that his net worth was less than $50,000, he was barred from getting attorney's fees in this proceeding under Civil Practice Laws and Rules Article 86.
Cintron v. Calogero: NYLJ, 10/12/12, p. 24, col. 5 (App. Div. 1 Dept.; Andrias, JP, Sweeny, Catterson, Moskowitz, JJ)