Tenants Can't Set Aside Court Agreement
LVT Number: 12309
Facts: Landlord sued to evict tenants. Landlord and tenants signed a court agreement by which landlord got a judgment and an eviction warrant, and tenants agreed to pay landlord back rent and use and occupancy for the apartment. Tenants were represented by an attorney. Tenants later asked the court to vacate the agreement, claiming that they hadn't understood the terms of the agreement because their attorney didn't speak Spanish well enough. The court held a hearing where landlord's attorney asked tenant's attorney to testify as to her communications with tenants. Court: Tenants lose. Landlord's case had been pending for at least a year and was set to go to trial when landlord and tenants settled. Tenants had been represented by the same attorney throughout the course of the case and admitted that they had been able to communicate with their attorney before the settlement. Tenant's attorney also testified that she studied Spanish in high school and college, spent nine months in Spanish-speaking countries, and in an earlier career taught Spanish-speaking children in schools for 1 1/2 years. Tenant's attorney also demonstrated her Spanish-speaking ability in court. The court found tenants' claim wasn't credible and that there was no reason to set aside the agreement.
Andrade v. Vientimilla: NYLJ, p. 26, col. 5 (4/29/98) (Civ. Ct. NY; Elsner, J)