I need an attorney willing to sue my landlord on grounds that they allow tenants to smoke in my apt. building. My landlord condones smoking tho it violates the lease. During the night of 3/13/19 more smoke seepage than usual entered my apt. On 3/14, I awoke in hypertensive crisis (a precursor of stroke) and was hospitalized immediately. My systolic BP was 190. I have had similar reactions in my apt. after high smoke seepage. I cannot find a local (Buffalo) attorney who will take my case. Please find me an attorney who will, maybe the attorneys in Merrill v. Bosser, No. 05-4239 COCE 53 (Broward County Ct., June 29, 2005); or ("Jury Finds Smoking Grounds for Eviction," Boston Globe, June 16, 2005, p. B1.
2 Answers from Attorneys
I have not found any relevant landlord tenant cases involving secondhand cigarette smoke related litigation brought in Buffalo.
However, there have been cases brought in New York City based on apartment tenants or residents bringing suing for damages arising out of secondhand smoke seeping into their apartments from neighboring smokers’ apartments.
Two of these cases involved the tenant’s suing for damages arising out the landlord’s breach of the implied warranty of habitability based on the landlord’s not taking any measures to protect the tenant from continuing exposure to the secondhand smoke from neighboring smokers’ apartments. These two cases are Poyck v. Bryant, 2006 N Y Slip Op 26343 (13 Misc. 3d 699) , 2006 and Reinhard v. Connaught Tower Corp., 2011 NY Slip Op 33101(J), November 30, 2011, Sup Ct. NY County.
In each of these cases, the court held that that a landlord, (In Poyck v. Bryant), or cooperative corporation, (in Reinhard v. Connaught Tower Corp., ), can be legally liable for breach of the implied warranty of habitability for not
In Reinhard v. Connaught Tower Corp , the plaintiff was a co-op apartment owner who sued for damages resulting from secondhand smoke seeping into her apartment from the apartments of neighboring smokers. Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engeron awarded the plaintiff co-op owner $120,000 in damages. Judge Engeron wrote in his decision that the court was merely “saying that if you want to avail yourself of the right to rent out residences, you assume the obligation” to ensure “that your tenants are not forced to smell and breathe carcinogenic toxins.”
The lawyer who won the $120,000 award for the plaintiff in Reinhard v. Connaught Tower Corp was Robert Braverman. There are at least two attorneys named Robert Braverman practicing in New York City. I think it is most likely that the Robert Braverman involved in the Reinhard v. Connaught case works for the Braverman Greenspun law firm since they practice extensively in condomninium and cooperatives fealted litigation.
In the Poyck v. Bryant case, the plaintiff was represented by : Meyers, Saxon & Cole, Brooklyn (Gerald Slotnick of counsel)
Note that neither the Reinhard v. Connaught Tower Corp case nor the Poyck v. Bryant case were New York state appellate court decisions award and therefore neither Poyck nor Reinhard are legally binding precedents to be cited in other New York state cases involving secondhand smoke from neighboring smokers’ apartments.
However the Poyck and Reinhard cases each demonstrate that New York state courts can be persuaded that secondhand cigarette smoke seeping into a tenant’s apartment from neighboring apartments can be a breach of the landlord’s implied warranty of habitability to the affected tenant.
There are at least two appellate court decisions also involving legal liability for infiltration of secondhand cigrarette smoke into a residential apartment from neighboring apartments buit both are very dissimilar to your case:
One of these two cases involved a wide range of complaints alleging the landlord’s different breaches of implied warranty of habitability to the plaintiff tenant and the tenant’s exposure to secondhand cigar smoke was only one among many issues of contention. Additionally, unlike other cases, the plaintiff complained of secondhand smoke exposure from the landlord’s cigars and not from the plaintiff tenant’s neighbors.
The other case involved a condominium to which a different set of laws apply than to landlord – tenant leases or to cooperative corporations. Additionally the court’s ruling in that case was partly based on laws specific to New York City and Buffalo’s applicable laws may be quite different.
Please note the following update to the answer which I posted last night:
In the Poyck v. Bryant case which I discussed in yesterday's answer to your question, the lawyer who represtned the tenants who complained that their landlord had breached implied warranty of habitability by allowing the tenants' continued exposure to secondhand smoke was Margaret Sandercock of Guralnick & Sandercock, LLP, a New York City law firm.
The Bryants were the tenants and Mr. Poyck was the landlord,
Meyers, Saxon & Cole, Brooklyn (Gerald Slotnick of counsel) were the LANDLORD's lawyer.