Landlords have claimed for years that housing court is stacked against them, but a federal judge has shot down an eight year-old lawsuit alleging that tenant-friendly court administrators are violating their constititional rights.
Federal Judge Shirley Wohl Kram ruled in late January that the Rent Stabilization Association had failed to prove a pattern of unconstitutional abuses. Kram also decided that federal courts had no jurisdiction in the matter.
RSA claimed court administrators improperly allowed distribution of anti-landlord literature, issued illegal rulings and, at times, made it difficult for owners to appeal questionable verdicts. The coalition also claimed that the judges too often reverted to off-the-record conversations with lawyers-requesting court recorders turn off their tape recorders — without agreement from landlord attornies.
In the wake of the recent defeat, RSA lawyers probably won't take the case to the state courts. “I don't think there are any [plans to sue], but I can't say for certain,” said Mitchell Posilkin, RSA's general counsel.