Lawyers’ demand for $500K from co-op owners “highway robbery,” judge says

Greenberg Traurig attorneys successfully represented Seward Park in case brought by homeowners

New York Weekend Edition /
Jul.July 22, 2018 06:00 PM

Lawyers who demanded half a million dollars in legal fees from co-op owners at Seward Park on the Lower East Side were looking to carry out “highway robbery without the six-gun,” a Manhattan judge said.

Attorneys from Greenberg Traurig asked Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron to force four Seward Park co-op owners to fork over $464,000 in legal fees, the New York Post reported.

The homeowners sued the management over parking spaces, and Greenberg attorneys representing the building won a preliminary motion to dismiss the case.

But Judge Engoron noted that the “staggering sum” was enough to buy a one-bedroom apartment in an Upper East Side doorman building or a four-bedroom home in Nassau County.

“By requesting astronomical fees, attorneys are in danger of killing the goose that laid the golden egg,” Engoron wrote in his ruling, in which he clipped the fees by nearly 40 percent to $175,000.

A spokesperson for Greenberg Traurig said the company “respectfully disagree[s] with the characterization of our firm’s fees in this matter on which our client prevailed.”

Tom Stebbins, executive director of the nonprofit Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York advocacy organization, agreed with Engoron’s view that attorney fees have gotten out of control.

“We continually hear stories of law firms over-billing by hundreds of thousands of dollars and class action lawyers that pocket the majority of large settlements, leaving little or nothing for the plaintiffs,” he told the Post.

In an unrelated matter, the Seward Park board last month voted against selling the property’s development rights to the Ascend group for $54 million. [NYP]Rich Bockmann


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
From left: Fannie Mae's Hugh Frater and Freddie Mac's Michael DeVito
Government to back home loans over $1M
Government to back home loans over $1M
(Getty/Illustration by The Real Deal)
TRD Pro: 7% mortgage rates are not so bad
TRD Pro: 7% mortgage rates are not so bad
Case-Shiller, Home Prices, Housing Market, Residential Real Estate
US home prices lose more momentum
US home prices lose more momentum
56 Middagh Street and 50 Bridge Park Drive #20B (Streeteasy, Quay Tower BK, Getty)
Brooklyn Heights townhouse, Quay Tower score borough’s biggest contracts
Brooklyn Heights townhouse, Quay Tower score borough’s biggest contracts
(Getty Images)
Tenants attack landlords in two separate incidents
Tenants attack landlords in two separate incidents
One of the two Avalon lots sold to an unnamed businessman (Google Maps)
Two Jersey Shore lots sell for record $21M
Two Jersey Shore lots sell for record $21M
Michael Ovitz looks to flip Greenwich Village condo for $25M
Michael Ovitz looks to flip Greenwich Village condo for $25M
Michael Ovitz looks to flip Greenwich Village condo for $25M
(Getty Images)
Millions of housing units are needed in the US
Millions of housing units are needed in the US
arrow_forward_ios

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

Loading...