The Real Deal New York

Queens woman whose entire home was stolen barred from suing city

She was seeking $1 million in damages

May 14, 2016 11:00AM

Jennifer Merin and her home in Queens

Jennifer Merin and her home in Queens

It was a bizarre case that just got stranger and stranger. During the fall of 2014, Jennifer Merin, 72, discovered that someone had moved into her family home in Queens and changed the locks. When confronted by police, the thieves claimed they were the legal residents, even producing a deed issued by the city in error. In response, Merin sued the city and the City Registrar’s Office for their costly mistake and was seeking $1 million in damages. No more.

Supreme Court Justice Kevin Kerrigan ordered Merin to drop her suit because the City Registrar has no obligation and “no authority” under New York law to ensure the deeds it accepts are legitimate, according to the New York Post.

Merin was seeking nearly $600,000 from the City for negligence, and $400,000 in property damages resulting from the break-in and squatting.

“[The city] was negligent in the way in which they allowed the deed to be registered,” she told The Post. “There was no indication that any of those signatures were related to my family or the property.”

Merin said her Russian and Ukrainian grandparents moved into the house on 141st Avenue in 1931 and raised her mother and her mother’s two siblings there. She now lives on the Upper West Side.

She first realized something was wrong when she received a pricey water bill. When she investigated, she found her locks changed and her car gone. Criminal charges are still pending. [NYP]Christopher Cameron

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