Tenant Can't Sue for Unlawful Eviction in Federal Court
LVT Number: #23855
Tenant sued landlord, landlords' attorneys, and a housing court judge for wrongful eviction a year after he was evicted. He also claimed that his property was damaged when removed and that the landlord kept the interest on his security deposit. The court dismissed the case. Landlord had sued to evict the 84-year-old tenant based on the apartment's filthy condition and serious roach and bedbug infestation. The housing court ruled for landlord after a trial. Execution on the eviction warrant was postponed several times based on tenant's claim that he would clean the apartment and to allow Adult Protective Services to intervene. Eviction eventually went forward. Tenant didn't claim that he appealed. Tenant then filed a complaint with the State Division of Human Rights, claiming that he was evicted due to racial discrimination. That case was dismissed, and there was no appeal. The case against the housing court judge was dismissed outright as judges have absolute immunity for acts performed in their judicial capacities. In addition, the federal court wasn't authorized to hear landlord-tenant claims covered by New York State housing law. Tenant should have appealed the housing court decision if he wished to contest the ruling. It also was improper for tenant, having lost in state court, to seek review of that court's actions by a federal court.
Matthews v. L&B Realty Associates, Inc.: Index No. 11-CV-4989, 2011 WL 6136028 (EDNY; 12/9/11; Vitaliano, DJ)