Class Action law suits allow claims to be brought on behalf of many people who have been adversely affected by the actions of the defendant. Often times the individual claims are small but in the aggregate can be huge. For example, a credit card company that charged a fraction of a percent more than allowed by law may owe one million customers $10 each. Not enough for any individual to sue but as a class of one million, another matter altogether.
Our law firm commenced a number of class action law suits back in 2009 and early 2010 on behalf of tenants who were treated as market tenants, and charged marked rents, when they should have been treated as rent stabilized tenants, and charged lower regulated rents. The claims arose out of the Court of Appeals decision Roberts v. Tishman-Speyer. We asked the court to certify the cases as class actions, reduce the tenants’ rents and award monetary damages based on rent overcharges. Some of the cases have already been certified as class actions.
Recently the Appellate Division, First Department, agreed that three class action cases, including one of our cases, Downing v. Lenox Terrace, will be heard by the Court of Appeals, the State’s highest court, on the issue of whether they can be maintained as class actions. That court will have to decide if the Appellate Division’s decisions allowing the cases to go forward class actions were correct.
Needless to say we think that Downing v. Lenox Terrace meets all the criteria for a class action and we are optimistic about the outcome.