Articles Tagged with Statute of Limitations

One should always be aware of contractually shortened statute of limitation provisions in insurance contracts, as was highlighted in the recent case of Chandler Management Corp. v. First Specialty Insurance (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. Docket No. 509677/15).

In this case, Chandler purchased insurance coverage for an apartment complex it owned in Dallas, Texas.  The policy specifically stated that the parties submitted to the exclusive jurisdiction of the New York courts, and that the laws of the State of New York would govern.  More importantly, the policy stated that any lawsuits regarding coverage must be commenced within twelve months of the date of the physical loss or damage.

According to Chandler, its apartment sustained roof damage on or about May 24, 2011.  On June 25, 2012 it commenced a lawsuit in the District Court of Dallas, Texas, apparently unaware of the above noted provisions.  The case was dismissed by the trial level court because of the New York forum selection clause and this holding was affirmed on appeal.

The Kings County Supreme Court has once again dismissed, on statute of limitations grounds, an action commenced by Save the View Now (“STVN”) against the Pierhouse hotel/condo complex currently being built in Brooklyn Bridge Park.   STVN previously sought a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction halting construction of the two buildings that comprise the Pierhouse, on the ground that the structures violated the building height limitations set forth in the 2006 Modified General Project Plan (“MGPP”), which governs the development of Brooklyn Bridge Park.  The request for injunctive relief was denied as untimely, but STVN returned to court in August 2015 with what is argued to be newly discovered evidence.

Pier 1 Development

The Pierhouse development located in Pier 1 of the park includes two buildings.  Throughout the approval and construction of the Pierhouse there has been much discussion about the negative impact the development would have on the views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline as seen from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.  As recognized by Judge Knipel in his first decision, the panorama is “an iconic, world-class view worthy of the maximum protection the law can afford.”  STVN argues that these views are being compromised because the Pierhouse has exceeded the maximum height permitted under the MGPP, which was designed to protect the views of from the promenade.

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In 1979, the Court of Appeals issued its ruling in Immediate v. St. John Queens Hospital, 48 N.Y.2d 671 (1979), wherein the Court held that a bare assertion of a statute of limitations defense in an answer would be sufficient to withstand the pleading particularity requirements of CPLR 3013. 48 N.Y.2d at 673. Recently, the First Department suggested that it was time for the high court to revisit the issue.

In Scholastic Inc. v. Pace Plumbing Corp., 8 N.Y.3d 143 (1st Dep’t 2015), the First Department considered a lower court order granting summary judgment dismissing a property damage case. In the case, the defendant had filed an answer containing a single, catch-all paragraph containing 15 affirmative defenses, including a statute of limitations defense. While the lower court dismissed the statute of limitations defense as improperly pleaded, it still dismissed the action on the merits.

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