Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A claim of discrimination on the basis of marital status.

Practice point:  The Appellate Division affirmed the granting of defendant real estate brokers' motion to dismiss, as they sought to facilitate, not prevent, plaintiffs' purchase of a cooperative apartment. To the extent that the challenged statements, which suggested, but did not require, that plaintiffs submit a letter describing the "longevity" and "solidity" of their relationship, and stating that they are married, can be construed as inquiry into their sexual orientation or marital status, when read in context with the relevant emails, they do not express any "limitation, specification or discrimination" on the basis of the couples' sexual orientation, but, instead, financial concerns similar to any couple looking to buy an apartment in that building. Since they were married, the couple could not have been denied the apartment on the basis of their marital status had they disclosed their status to the coop board. Therefore, they were not aggrieved by an unlawful discriminatory practice, as is required to state a claim under the State and City Human Rights Laws (Executive Law § 297[1] and [9].

Case:  Verzatt v. Halstead Prop., LLC, NY Slip Op 03260 (1st Dep't April 27, 2017)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue:  The reasonability of the excuse for a default judgment.