Couple sues neighbor over smoking in co-op

January 17, 2011 11:51AM

An Upper East Side couple is suing their neighbor for generating so much secondhand smoke that it’s seeping into their co-op unit at 501 East 79th Street, the Post reported. Though cigar smoker Harry Dale said he’s done everything to appease his neighbors — taking most of his smoke breaks outside, using air cleaners and hiring a specialist to try to seal off his apartment — neighbors Russell and Amanda Pose are suing him in Manhattan Supreme Court, accusing him of “maliciously” and “spitefully” trying to smoke them out. In the past, courts have ruled that secondhand smoke is a serious problem if it permeates another apartment or impacts the neighbors, said John Churneftsky, the Poses’ lawyer. The family, including son Charles, 6, and daughter Addison, 3, say they’ve lost sleep and suffered headaches and respiratory ailments, and say they haven’t been able to use most of their rooms because the fumes are so bad. They are asking for $500,000 in damages for each member of the family. In 2006, a Manhattan judge ruled that secondhand smoke is a breach of the “warrant of habitability,” a provision that says tenants are entitled to a “livable, safe and sanitary” apartment. Co-ops and apartment buildings can also choose to ban smoking throughout their buildings, including inside individual apartments. [Post]