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To the victor belong the spoils, except, of course, in landlord-tenant cases.

In First Ave. Village Corp. v. Harrison , a holdover case started against tenant Alexander Harrison was dismissed due the landlord's "incredible" testimony and failure to establish the existence of certain lease defaults alleged in its predicate notice.

Upon dismissing the holdover, the New York County Civil Court granted the tenant's request for legal fees and also concluded that the landlord had engaged in frivolous litigation practices.

While the Appellate Term, First Department, agreed that the case should have  been dismissed, it did not believe that the landlord's counsel had engaged in sanctionable conduct nor that the tenant should recover his legal costs since the latter had engaged in "unauthorized" alterations and there had been "initial intransigence in responding to the landlord's demands for access" which resulted in "undue delay in resolving the disputed issues."

So, even though the tenant's purported misconduct couldn't be established at trial, his "unclean hands" impeded his ability to recover fees.

Does that make sense to you?

For a copy of the Appellate Term's decision, please use this link: First Ave. Village Corp. v. Harrison


*For our other blog posts on this topic, please use this link: Prevailing Party