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A Fool For A Client

The Respondent, Vargas Leon Corporation, failed to appear at the housing court hearing on the scheduled date.  As a result, a default judgment was entered against it that allowed the Landlord-Petitioner to terminate its license and oust it from the building.  The Respondent moved the Court to be restored, arguing that it was not properly served with the pleadings and other required notices.

Unlike their human counterparts, corporations are “legal fictions.”  One difference in New York is that in most cases, a cooperation cannot appear in a court proceeding without a lawyer.  We therefore argued on behalf of the Landlord that because the corporate president filed the motion rather than an attorney, the Court should deny the application as procedurally defective.  The Court agreed with us.  The trial judge added that the corporation did not cure this defect by having subsequently retained a lawyer.

The trial Judge also agreed with our analysis that the motion should be denied on substantive grounds.  Her Honor held that the Respondent’s moving papers failed to address the inconvenient fact that the court had already determined that the Respondent was not a tenant but a licensee.  “As such, petitioner possessed a common law right to oust them without legal process.”

It is an age-old truism that “he who defends himself has a fool for a client.”  This is even more true when the client is not a living, breathing, flesh and blood human being but only a legal fiction.

To read the decision, CLICK HERE.

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