The Real Deal New York

Flophouse tenant barred from suing Bowery SRO owners

Landlords Meyer Muschel and Sam Chang had spent more than $200K defending frivolous suits
November 14, 2016 08:30AM

Whitehouse Hotel and Sam Chang

Whitehouse Hotel and Sam Chang

A Manhattan judge has banned a litigious tenant of a storied Bowery SRO from suing his landlords.

Roland Davis was told that unless he gets a lawyer to represent him, he’s not allowed again to file suit against current or former owners of the famed Whitehouse Hotel at 338-340 Bowery – putting a stop to a string of nearly two dozen frivolous lawsuits.

“While public policy generally mandates free access to the courts, the court will not tolerate the use of the legal system as a tool of harassment,” Manhattan Judge Kelly O’Neill wrote in her decision, the New York Post reported.

Davis, who paid $8.32 per night for a windowless room, had sued the hotel 23 times in seven years, insisting that management make repairs to his small room and then refusing to let workers in, court papers show.

“I am both relieved and excited, not just for me, but for the fact the courts are willing to recognize that nobody should be permitted to use the system as a weapon,” said former owner Meyer Muschel, who had been sued.

Muschel and the building’s current owner Sam Chang TRData LogoTINY had spent more than $200,000 and appeared in court over 100 times defending the shaky claims.

O’Neil said Davis could return to court, but only if he had a lawyer or permission from a chief judge.

“You can’t get away with filing lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit against somebody even if you’re doing it pro se,” said Steven Sladkus, Muschel’s lawyer. “It’s very disruptive, time-consuming, and costly.” [NYP]Rich Bockmann