Judge dismisses Hakim’s lawsuit over “worst landlords” list

Landlord had attempted to sue Public Advocate Tish James for $15M in damages

New York /
May.May 09, 2018 12:15 PM

Letitia James (Credit: Getty Images)

A judge has dismissed landlord Kamran Hakim’s lawsuit against Public Advocate Letitia James over his inclusion on her list of the city’s “100 worst landlords.”

Hakim had filed the lawsuit against James in 2016, arguing that her office unfairly included him on its “worst landlords” list in 2015 and 2016. He sought $15 million in damages. The suit claimed that four of the six buildings James cited, between 1205 and 1215 First Avenue, were empty and slated for demolition. It also requested that James stop publishing the report.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Carol Edmead, who had previously ruled that James could continue publishing the “worst landlords” list, officially dismissed Hakim’s lawsuit May 3, according to court filings. Hakim’s suit said that his inclusion on the list constituted libel and intentional infliction of harm, but Edmead ruled that both of these claims were without merit.

She wrote in her dismissal that the “worst landlords” list was not libelous because it was “pure opinion,” adding that Hakim’s argument that James’ office “took accurate factual data, and applied it in a way that produced an incorrect opinion” was not strong enough to constitute libel.

She also ruled against Hakim’s intentional infliction of harm claim, writing that publicly embarrassing landlords was only one aspect of the office’s list.

“The City and James plainly intended to shame the landlords on the list into improving the conditions of their buildings,” she wrote, specifying that the goal of this shame is to provide “a benefit to the public.”

Hakim, who recently went into contract with a group of investors to buy the Plaza Hotel for about $600 million, was named by James as the 34th worst landlord in 2015, 52nd worst 2016 and 26th worst in 2017, with 483 open violations across four buildings.

Hakim’s attorney Darren Marks said they are appealing the decision and declined to comment further.

James described the judge’s ruling in a statement as a victory for protecting tenants and said that “a far easier and more productive route” for landlords who have issues with her list “would be to actually fix their buildings so that they avoid the Worst Landlords Watchlist altogether.”


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
The bus terminal was built in the 1950s and designed to serve one fourth of the riders it sees today. (Getty)
Port Authority to raze, replace “hell on earth” bus terminal
Port Authority to raze, replace “hell on earth” bus terminal
Financial disclosures show extent of Trump Org losses
Financial disclosures show extent of Trump Org losses
Financial disclosures show extent of Trump Org losses
Will Catsimatidis switch parties? (Getty)
Republican or Democrat? Catsimatidis picks his poison
Republican or Democrat? Catsimatidis picks his poison
Vijay Dandapani, president & CEO, Hotel Association of New York City (Getty)
Hotel owners ask NY for break on tax penalties
Hotel owners ask NY for break on tax penalties
An aerial view of the four apartment buildings known as the Grand Putnam Portfolio (Google Maps)
Four bankrupt Brooklyn rentals look to escape rent regulation
Four bankrupt Brooklyn rentals look to escape rent regulation
NAR's Vince Malta (Photos via NAR; Pixabay; iStock)
NAR suspends federal political donations after Capitol attack
NAR suspends federal political donations after Capitol attack
President Joe Biden (Getty; iStock)
President Joe Biden’s real estate checklist
President Joe Biden’s real estate checklist
Photo illustration of Sen. Brad Hoylman, who championed the pied-à-terre tax. (Getty)
Pied-à-terre tax revenue estimate slashed by 41%
Pied-à-terre tax revenue estimate slashed by 41%
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...