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Mautner Glick Corp. v. Acosta - 2018 NYLJ LEXIS 365

Rule:

Generally, courts should relieve a party from the terms of a stipulation if it appears that the stipulation was entered into ill-advisedly or that it would be inequitable to hold the parties to it.

Facts:

Landlord served tenant Acosta with a three-day notice seeking to possession of the premises in a summary nonpayment proceeding alleging he owed over $3,500 in rent through January 2017. Acosta failed to pay arrears or vacate and the landlord sued. The suit was settled by stipulation with Acosta consenting to a judgment of possession with the eviction warrant stayed through January 2018. The landlord waived over $10,000 in arrears and Acosta was not required to pay use and occupancy through January 2018. Two days later, Acosta sought to vacate the stipulation and restore the matter with Acosta's counsel arguing that Acosta was a rent-stabilized tenant for 40 years, a disabled senior citizen that landlord litigated and retaliated against for over 20 years to recover the premises and for breach of warranty of habitability complaints. 

Issue:

Should the court vacate the parties stipulation?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court granted that the stipulation be vacated finding Acosta, eligible for Adult Protective Services (APS) and legal representation, was unaware of his defenses, and enforcement would lead to an unduly harsh and unjust result, declining to require posting an undertaking given landlord's retaliatory eviction. Based on the respondents age, disabilities, need for APS, eligibility for legal representation, monthly rent at the premises and 40-year tenancy, it was clear to the court that it should avoid an unjust result. Under these circumstances, enforcement of the stipulation would lead to an unduly harsh and unjust result. 

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