1250 Broadway, 27th Floor New York, NY 10001


What does it cost to replace 16 windows? Well, if we're talking about the presidential suite at the Four Seasons Hotel, try a whopping $300,000.

In Hotel 57 LLC, dba Four Seasons Hotel New York v. Harvard Maintenance, Inc., the Four Seasons hired Harvard Maintenance to assist with the renovation of the hotel's exclusive 52nd floor space. After Harvard dispatched two window cleaners to remove construction-related debris from the windows' surface, scratches were discovered on all 16 plates of glass.
Apparently, the cause of the scratches was in dispute, and Harvard's employees--who were on-site when the damage was discovered--disavowed responsibility and contended that the scratches preexisted their work.
Some six months later, the hotel replaced and destroyed the widows in question, without notice to Harvard. When litigation was later initiated by the hotel to recover the replacement costs, Harvard sought to dismiss the case asserting that the hotel's destruction of the original set of windows was prejudicial to the defense of the lawsuit. While the New York County Supreme Court denied Harvard's motion, on appeal, the Appellate Division, First Department, reversed and dismissed the hotel's case in its entirety.
You don't have to go to a fancy Ivy League school to know that "spoliation"--the destruction of evidence--can have adverse consequences, particularly when an opponent is not afforded an adequate opportunity to review or examine the items in dispute. (In other words, by not affording Harvard an early check-out, the Four Seasons threw its case out with the windows.)
For a copy of the Appellate Division's decision in Hotel 57 LLC v. Harvard Maintenance, Inc., please click on the following link: