December 23, 2021
On December 22, 2021, in response to a motion made by Schlam Stone & Dolan attorneys Jeffrey M. Eilender and Joshua Wurtzel, a Manhattan judge ordered a commercial tenant and its guarantor to pay over $1.3 million to their landlord and Schlam Stone client in unpaid rent, interest, late fees, and attorneys’ fees. This decision followed an October 20, 2021 order awarding Schlam Stone’s client summary judgment on unpaid rent accruing from and after March 7, 2020. Though the court had initially denied Schlam Stone’s summary judgment motion on the ground that there were issues of fact concerning whether the doctrine of frustration of purpose excused the tenant’s obligation to pay rent when Governor Cuomo issued his shutdown orders, the court later reversed itself—granting Schlam Stone’s motion to renew in light of two landlord-favorable First Department decisions that were issued after briefing was completed. This is a great result for Schlam Stone and its client, and continues New York courts’ enforcement of commercial tenants’ obligations under their leases during the pandemic.