December 2013 -- Settlement with New Landlord and Continuing Litigation with the Old:
Once the black curtain came down (see below), the restaurant flourished and the building was sold to a new ownership anxious to redevelop the property. The new ownership indicated it recognized that the Dumpling House was a growing success and that the only way to redevelop the property was by reaching a mutual accommodation with the Dumpling House owners that terminated the lease. In fact, we sent the new owners pictures of the daily lunch crowd:
After a number of conversations between counsel over proposed terms, a very satisfactory agreement was reached with the restaurant to vacate the premises in July of 2013. As the terms of the agreement are confidential they cannot be discussed.
The litigation against the former owners, however, continued as no agreement could be reached with them over compensation for the intentional interference with the Dumpling House opening by the erection of the scaffold and obstructive black curtain which precluded the August opening of the restaurant. The former owners opted to move for summary judgment claiming that the Dumpling House claims of intentionally interfering with the opening in an attempt to pressure the restaurant owners to accept a buyout and attendant damages for harassment, partial actual eviction, constructive eviction, breach of contract should be dismissed. The motion was made before any discovery of documents generated by the prior landlord could be produced and reviewed and the decision makers for the owner could be deposed. By order dated December 17, 2013, the Court, in a brief decision, denied the former landlord’s motion and directed that the discovery proceedings should proceed.
Link to Full Text of Decision. The case continues.
The scaffolding came down! The building apparently has a new owner with a new approach. Lines for Spring are now out the door at lunch time. As of this writing, there are 49 really amazing reviews on Yelp and a bunch on other sites. It’s nice to be on side of the angels once in awhile…
Bao Fusion Food, Inc. v. West 38th Street Holdings LLC
(NY Supreme Court, October 12, 2012)
Itkowitz PLLC obtains partial injunction against owner trying to muscle a Manhattan retail store out of a building. The owner sought to buy out the lease for a newly constructed restaurant, Spring, and attempted to convince the tenant by erecting a scaffold with a black curtain that completely obscured the view of the restaurant from the street. The court, after hearing evidence on a preliminary injunction, directed the removal of the curtain and the restaurant was able to open. The saga was detailed in the New York Observer.
Link to Full text of Decision