In a highly contentious dispute between the board of managers of a condominium (the “Board) and Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client, an owner of a unit in the condominium, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. was faced with the tall task of defending against the Board’s concerted effort to seek contempt against the client.
In 2022, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client came to the firm with a difficult situation. The client, who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”), owns several service dogs, all of which the client uses to help alleviate the hardships that PTSD inflicts on the client’s daily life. Despite being on notice of the client’s need to house these service dogs—which the client has explained through a detailed doctor’s letter—the Board nonetheless commenced a lawsuit against the client seeking, among other things, monetary damages and removal of the client’s dogs. Upon being retained, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. immediately appeared in this case to not only help preserve the client’s rights, but to also, and most importantly, protect the sanctity of the client’s mental well-being. After initially litigating this dispute for several months through pleadings and motion practice, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. successfully convinced the Court to issue an order (the “Order”) directing the parties to act in an equitable fashion: (i) directing the client to limit the amount of dogs allowed on the apartment’s terrace at a time; and (ii) requiring the client to, within a certain timeframe, take certain measures to retain a dog behavioral specialist and a contractor to eventually soundproof the apartment.
While this decision by the Court seemed to be a very fair resolution for the Board’s alleged complaints, the problems, unfortunately, did not stop there. Given that the Board was motivated by pure animus against Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client, the Board filed an Order to Show Cause which quickly sought to hold the client in contempt for an alleged failure to comply with the Order. Specifically, the Board sought to punish Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client on the misguided belief that Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client did not accomplish the remedial measures directed in the Court’s Order. Here, the Board set forth the argument that the client should be held in contempt on the grounds that the client did not comply with the Court’s Order and that the Board was prejudiced by such conduct—the two essential elements that must be shown in order to win on a contempt motion.
Upon receiving a copy of the Board’s harsh and misplaced motion, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s attorneys quickly acted to, again, protect its client’s rights. Here, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. carefully crafted strong and persuasive opposition papers to show the Court that, through documentary evidence and the client’s firsthand knowledge, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client not only began the process of taking meaningful steps to comply with the Court’s Order, but also, and critically, the Board did not suffer any prejudice due to the client’s conduct. Specifically, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. advanced a two-pronged position, both on the papers during oral argument on the motion: (i) that the plain language of the Court’s Order did not require actual completion of dog behavior training and soundproofing, but rather that the client only needed to retain these experts to move forward with the work; and (ii) that the client, who was not living in the apartment during the time period in which the Board claimed it was prejudiced, could not have caused the Board to suffer any prejudice because the dogs were not physically present in the apartment during such time.
After reviewing the papers and hearing the parties’ oral arguments on the motion, the Court issued an order that swiftly and categorically denied the Board’s contempt motion. As a result of
Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s creatively tailor arguments and unrelenting advocacy, the client is now able to rest easy knowing that the Board can no longer continue in its campaign to punish the client for otherwise harmless conduct. Instead, the client can comfortably live in a world in which the client knows that Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. will continue to advocate not only for justice, but for the client’s mental well-being and safety.
John M. Desiderio, Courtney J. Lerias and William M. Pekarsky represent the client in this litigation and, with respect to the contempt motion, Courtney J. Lerias prepared the opposition papers and William M. Pekarsky argued against the motion in Court.