Craig M. Notte
Craig M. Notte is a Partner at Borah, Goldstein, Altschuler, Nahins & Goidel, P.C. who began as an associate in its Supreme Court litigation department in May 2005. His practice currently includes commercial and residential rent disputes, Yellowstone actions, partition actions, foreclosures, proceedings to collect money judgments, as well as real estate matters in Surrogate’s Court. Mr. Notte also represents condominium and cooperative boards in actions and proceedings for unpaid common charges and maintenance and all other issues arising in the coop/condo context, and is versed in Housing Court holdover and non-payment proceedings, rent stabilization and bankruptcy related issues in the landlord-tenant and condominium contexts.
In September 2014, Craig was elected to the Advisory Council of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, the not-for-profit corporation dedicated to celebrating, preserving and protecting New York City’s iconic buildings and unique neighborhoods.
Craig is a former member of the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Cooperative and Condominium Law, and former President of the Board of Managers of the 110 Livingston Street Condominium in Downtown Brooklyn.
He is a member of the Judiciary Screening Committee of the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York.
He has also been a guest lecturer with Lorman Education Services on the topic of judgment collection in landlord/tenant disputes, and he has received a Pro Bono Award from the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.
Mr. Notte was named New York Metro Super Lawyers for in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Mr. Notte has been counsel on the following important cases:
- Chelsea 8th Avenue, LLC v. OA 21st LLC, Christopher Anci and Douglas Evans, Supreme Court, New York County (April 30, 2019). Landlord granted summary judgment against commercial tenant and a default judgment against tenant’s guarantor for unpaid pre-vacatur and post-vacatur rent. Tenant contended that landlord accepted surrender of the premises by operation of law, thereby terminating the post-surrender rent obligation. The court disagreed since the tenant was evicted and did not surrender. Also, if tenant’s vacatur could be construed as a surrender, landlord did not accept the surrender because the lease requires a signed writing as evidence of landlord’s acceptance.
- Springfield Norse ReSpringfield Norse Realty, LLC v. Spiegel & Utrera, P.C., Supreme Court, New York Countyalty (March 6, 2019). During the pendency of plaintiff-landlord’s Supreme Court action for unpaid rent against the alter egos of its former commercial tenant, landlord commenced this proceeding against the respondent Spiegel & Utrera, P.C. for its-refusal to produce corporate formation records relating to tenant’s corporate alter egos. Respondent, a law firm business of forming corporate entities around the country, refused to produce based on attorney client privilege. The documents sought were applications submitted to respondent requesting formation of the corporate entities. The court directed respondent to turn over the documents because the attorney-client privilege applies only to “advice given . . . that is predominantly legal, as opposed to business in nature” and attorney work product is not privileged except “materials prepared by an attorney, acting as an attorney, which contain his analysis and trial strategy.”
- Fifty East Forty-Second Company, LLC v. Ildiko Pekar, Inc., et al., Supreme Court, New York County (January 16, 2019). Landlord granted summary judgment for unpaid rent and attorneys’ fees against principal of the corporate tenant because the corporation never existed. The constructive eviction defense was unavailing because the business vacated pursuant to a surrender agreement, not because of conditions in the premises.
- Empire LLC v. Armin A. Meizlik Co., Inc. and Harold Weiss, Supreme Court, New York County (January 4, 2019). Landlord granted summary judgment for $77,399.76 with interest plus attorneys’ fees against corporate tenant and guarantor. Landlord did not agree to accept surrender or terminate the lease, and non-binding communications do not modify the tenant’s obligations under the lease. Defendants also cannot rely on inadmissible parol evidence to vary the lease or the guaranty’s unambiguous terms.
- Fifth Partners, LLC v. Hartford CP Management, LLC, and Irene Shapiro, Supreme Court, New York County, (October 30, 2018) Landlord granted summary judgement against commercial tenant for unpaid base rent and broker’s commission as a re-letting expense. Guarantor is not entitled to apply tenant’s security deposit as a setoff. Also, the fact that the broker who re-let the premises represents residential tenants is irrelevant to tenant and guarantor’s liability for the broker’s commission.
- Cast Iron Co., LLC v. Brooklyn Industries, LLC, Supreme Court, New York (December 12, 2016) Landlord obtained a $450,000 summary judgment award against the retail tenant and guarantor for post-vacatur rent. Tenant breached the lease by vacating during the term thereof, and the guarantor was held liable for tenant’s default because tenant failed to return possession in a manner that would have terminated guarantor liability. Tenant’s counterclaims alleging constructive eviction and loss of business were dismissed as precluded by the lease and because tenant was responsible for conditions in the premises.
- Rich Mayer v. 812-816 Lighthouse Properties, Civil Court, New York County (June 16, 2016). Housing Court initially determined that it had jurisdiction in this Housing Part proceeding regarding elevator service. On motion to reargue, the Court reversed itself holding that the claim was more in the nature of a diminution of services to be considered by the Loft Board. The court determined that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the claim and dismissed the proceeding.
- Stahl York Avenue LLC. v. City of New York, Supreme Court New York County (January 8, 2016). Partner Craig M. Notte, Esq., as amicus for the New York Landmarks Conservancy, received a favorable dismissal of an Article 78 proceeding challenging the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission’s determination that a set of historically significant Upper East Side tenements may not be demolished. Supreme Court, New York County Justice Michael D. Stallman upheld the LPC’s determination and ruled that the buildings shall remain landmarks.
- In the Matter of Fiona Campbell et al. v. New York City Loft Board, Supreme Court, New York County, Index No. 100534/2014 (June 10, 2015). The purported occupants of an interim multiple dwelling commenced an Article 78 proceeding to overturn a Loft Board determination denying them Loft Law protection. The occupants alleged the Loft Board violated the Public Officers Law by going into closed session to discuss a related litigation. The court declined to reverse the Loft Board. While the Loft Board’s deliberation should have been public, there was no prejudice and the Loft Board’s decision was otherwise proper.
- In the Matter of the Estate of Sallie Ross, Surrogate’s Court, New York County, (June 9, 2015). The coop arranged a non-judicial auction of shares of an apartment after the proprietary lessee died owing maintenance. While the Surrogate’s Court initially stayed the auction to give the administrator of the lessee’s estate an opportunity to sell the shares, the coop had the Public Administrator substituted in to sell the shares so the maintenance arrears would be paid because the lessee’s administrator’s failure to pay ongoing maintenance violated the stay.
- Anna Rodriguez v. Michael Bibbs, Supreme Court, Kings County, (October 14, 2014). In this action for a partition sale of a two-family house, the defendant counterclaimed that the plaintiff, his sister, mishandled their now-deceased father’s assets as power of attorney and executrix of his estate, and was therefore not entitled to her proportionate one-third share of the sale proceeds of the house. The counterclaim alleged fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment against the plaintiff. All counterclaims were dismissed for failure to allege the requisite elements. Moreover, the counterclaims were barred under res judicata because the Surrogate’s Court previously confirmed plaintiff’s estate accounting as valid and complete, and defendant did not submit an objection to the accounting in Surrogate’s Court. Defendant’s allegations were not properly asserted in Supreme Court because the Surrogate’s Court’s decree confirming the accounting could only be modified by that court.
- S. & W. Ladies Wear Corp. v. Ilan Portal, Supreme Court, New York County (September 4, 2014). In landlord’s action against a commercial tenant’s guarantor, landlord was awarded CPLR 3213 summary judgment in lieu of a complaint for unpaid rent based on the guaranty and an underlying money judgment against the tenant from Civil Court. The judgment against the tenant, together with the guaranty, were deemed appropriate for CPLR 3213 relief against the guarantor. The guarantor asserted no meritorious defenses. The fact that the tenant remained in possession beyond expiration of the lease did not abrogate the guarantor’s liability for unpaid rent because he agreed to be liable through the date of tenant’s surrender, without regard for the expiration date of the lease. Similarly, the tenant’s occupancy on a month-to-month basis after expiration of the lease was not a new lease that extended guarantor’s obligations without his consent.
- Bank of New York et al. v. Robert O’Neel III and the Board of Managers of 103 Greene Street Condominium, Supreme Court, New York County, (January 31, 2014). Plaintiff-lender obtained a judgment of foreclosure and sale against a condominium unit owner. Lender failed to arrange an auction, leaving the unit owner in possession owing years of common charges. The condominium board compelled the lender to enforce its judgment and auction the apartment, resulting in a sale that paid off the mortgage, the common charges and the majority of the condominium board’s attorneys’ fees.
- WCA 495 Broadway LLC v NFP Bakery Manufacturing Corp and Philip Kirsh, Supreme Court New York County, (October 25, 2013). Plaintiff, the net lessee of a building, obtained summary judgment against the tenant and guarantor for unpaid rent and liquidated damages arising from tenant’s breach of a surrender agreement. The surrender agreement did not affect the tenant’s obligation to pay liquidated damages because it did not terminate the lease. Summary judgment was also appropriate, notwithstanding that the net lessee was not a party to the surrender agreement, because the owner designated the net lessee as its agent vis-à-vis the tenant, and because the owner had assigned the tenant’s lease to the net lessee. The tenant’s lack of knowledge of the assignment was irrelevant.
- Mattone Group Raceway LLC, et al v. LLC v. Scotto’s Westbury, NY LLC, Supreme Court, Nassau County (October 18, 2013). Plaintiffs-landlords obtained summary judgment against the tenant and guarantor for unpaid rent and liquidated damages totaling $684,595.18 after tenant vacated the premises during the term of the lease. Plaintiffs did not agree to accept surrender or otherwise modify the lease in writing and alleged conversations were inadmissible parol evidence. No surrender by operation of law was inferred from plaintiffs’ entry into the premises after recovering possession as permitted by the lease. Guarantor is liable because tenant did not vacate in compliance with the lease and tenant’s security deposit is not available to guarantor as a set off.
- 1894 Eastchester Road Corp. v. 1894 East, LLC et al ., Supreme Court, Bronx County (June 26, 2012). In a mortgagee’s commercial foreclosure action, the commercial tenant counterclaimed that the mortgagee’s failure to include it as a party in the action precluded it from knowing that the building was subject to a foreclosure sale. The tenant alleged it would not have renovated its premises knowing that the building might be sold, and therefore, the mortgagee should be liable for the cost of the renovations.The counterclaim was dismissed because the mortgage was previously satisfied, meaning the tenant could suffer no loss since no foreclosure sale could occur. The Court also noted that as a non-party, the tenant’s leasehold would not have been affected in the event of a foreclosure sale. Even assuming a loss, the counterclaim would be dismissed in the absence of a duty or privity of contract between the mortgagee and the tenant.
- 80-02 Leasehold, LLC v. CM Realty Holdings Corp., et al. , Supreme Court, Nassau County, (June 26, 2012). Plaintiff-landlord obtained summary judgment for post-eviction rent against its former corporate tenant and tenant’s principal. The principal was liable because the corporate tenant was dissolved prior to signing the lease, the corporation was never reinstated and the principal knew of the dissolution. Tenant’s eviction did not terminate the ongoing liability to pay the rent through the end of the lease term because an eviction terminates the landlord-tenant relationship, but not the lease.
- Benjamin Gattegno v. The Trustees of Columbia University in New York, Supreme Court, New York County, (January 9, 2012). Plaintiff was evicted from Columbia University housing after a protracted holdover proceeding for failure to remediate a dangerous hoarding condition. Plaintiff’s personalty, placed into storage by the marshal, was ultimately auctioned for nonpayment of fees. Plaintiff’s Supreme Court action alleging tortious loss of home and personalty was dismissed in its entirety. Plaintiff stated no loss of home claim because the Housing Court previously ruled in Columbia’s favor after a full and fair opportunity to cure his default and a hearing on the merits. The loss of personalty claim was dismissed because Columbia paid the requisite fees to the storage company and plaintiff failed to pay thereafter. Moreover, any wrongful act by the storage company, as an independent contractor, could not be imputed to Columbia.
- “Friends Are Chosen, But Neighbors Come With The House”, Dec 2016, New York Apartment Law Insider
- “First Department Expands The Right To License Fees”, March 2015, New York Law Journal
- “Can Condo Boards Enforce the NYC Pet Law?”, March 2015, New York Apartment Law Insider
- “Underpinning Under the New NYC Building Code”, Sep 2010, New York Real Estate Journal
- July 19, 2016 – Mr. Notte presented on legal developments regarding short-term rentals in New York at a New York Apartment Law Insider seminar program. See highlights: Short-Term Rental Laws in NYC: In Brief
- October 20, 2015 – Partners Craig M. Notte and Todd I. Nahins presented on legal developments regarding AirBnB and short term rentals at an event sponsored by Berdon LLP, ClickPay, and Signature Bank.
- Supreme Court Litigation
- Commercial Holdover & Non-Payment Proceedings
- Collections/Judgment Enforcement
- Brooklyn Law School, J.D. – 1997
- University of Rochester, B.A. (cum laude with honors from the English Department) – 1990
- New York – 1997
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District – 1997
- U.S. District Court, Southern District – 1997