Cases and Deals

Blank Rome Prevails on Dispositive Motion, Further Developing Law on the Propriety of Predicate Notices Required to Terminate Commercial Tenancies

Blank Rome recently prevailed on summary judgment on behalf of a Brooklyn commercial parking lot operator in a contested eviction brought by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“MTA”) over a parking facility in Brooklyn. This victory, which was highlighted in the New York Law Journal’s Case Update newsletter, further modified the law regarding the appropriate predicate notice that is required to be served when terminating a license agreement, as opposed to a lease agreement, and the timing and service of such notice.

Blank Rome’s client has operated a commercial parking lot in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, for more than twenty years pursuant to a lease agreement with the MTA. In or around 2021, the MTA sought to terminate the client’s license agreement, and thereafter, the MTA’s property management company commenced a campaign of constructively evicting the client from the premises, culminating with service of an alleged bad faith termination notice of the client’s lease. At or around the same time that the improper constructive eviction was taking place, the MTA held a public bid process that excluded the client, and purported to award a new lease for the parking lot to another operator who was believed to have connections to the property management company. After the client brought a lawsuit to address these issues, the MTA commenced a separate eviction proceeding in Civil Court and moved for summary judgment.

 In denying the MTA’s motion, the court agreed with the arguments advanced by the Blank Rome team on the grounds that, among other things, the MTA had failed to properly serve an appropriate predicate notice to terminate a lease agreement, instead opting to serve a notice to terminate a license that contained a shorter time period for surrender of the premises. As such, this ruling created new decisional authority concerning the appropriate notice to be served as a predicate for terminating a leasehold interest as opposed to a license under these circumstances. The decision also signaled a significant procedural victory for the firm’s client, which permitted the client to proceed to trial to further bolster its defenses and arguments against the purported lease termination.

 The Blank Rome team was led by Real Estate industry group co-chair Massimo F. D’Angelo with key contributions from Robert Chester.