Litigation Update Spring 2013

The litigation team obtained the dismissal of a two-pronged action against the firm’s client, one of the largest owners of telecommunications towers in the country, which cleared a path for the construction of a new tower and removal a functionally obsolete tower on adjoining property. The action was commenced by a disgruntled landlord who objected to the tower company’s removal of an existing tower on the landlord’s property at the expiration of the lease. The landlord filed a hybrid Article 78 petition/complaint in the Supreme Court of Putnam County seeking to prevent the tower’s removal from his property and challenging municipal approvals permitting the construction of a new tower on adjoining property. The firm obtained dismissal of the Article 78 petition by arguing that the landlord lacked standing to challenge the municipal approvals for the new tower. The firm argued that, although the landlord was an abutting neighbor, the landlord was not sufficiently within the “zone of interest” of the relevant zoning laws to have standing. The firm also obtained dismissal of the complaint by arguing that the terms of the lease permitted the tower owner to remove the existing tower because the existing tower is a detachable “trade fixture.” The decision, Daniel Rosen Realty, LLC v. Town of Ramapo, (Docket No 2574-2012) (Putnam Sup. 2013) was issued by the Honorable Francis A. Nicolai of the Supreme Court of Putnam County on May 6, 2013. The firm has also successfully defended the landlord’s request for a stay pending appeal of the decision.