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April 15, 2021 /by /News

NEW YORK, NY, April 15, 2021

Lachtman Cohen P.C. secured a significant trial victory on behalf of its clients, a group of unit owners in the Empire Condominium (“Empire”) located at 259 Elizabeth Street in the Nolita/Soho neighborhood of New York City. The three-day bench trial, conducted before the Honorable Joel M. Cohen, was one of the first virtual trials in the Commercial Division.

The case is a derivative action brought on behalf of Empire unit owners against Empire’s original Sponsor, the Sponsor’s husband, his wholly-owned management company, and the Sponsor’s daughter, all of whom served on the Board of Managers and approved Empire’s contract with the husband’s management company. The plaintiffs alleged that the Sponsor and her immediate family continued to improperly dominate the Board and control its decision-making decades after the Offering Plan became effective and engaged in improper self-dealing. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants’ actions breached the Offering Plan, the By-Laws, and the defendants’ fiduciary duties to Empire’s unit owners.

After the trial, which was led by the firm’s team of Brian S. Cohen and Gregory A. Blue, the Court:

  • ordered a dissolution of Empire’s Board of Managers with a full “reset” election of managers, as well as restrictions on the defendants’ ability to vote in subsequent elections and hold seats on the Board; 
  • abrogated the management contract;
  • ordered that the new Board hire independent certified public accountants to produce annual verified financial statements; and, 
  • awarded the plaintiffs their attorney’s fees for the trial.

Firm partner Brian Cohen commented: “We’re honored to have represented our clients in this hard fought litigation and thrilled to have achieved such an important and well-deserved result on their behalf. I’m very proud of the critical role that each member of our firm’s talented team, including my trial partner Greg Blue, played in the ultimate success of the case.” Cohen added: “To not only obtain a victory in this complex case that has significant implications concerning the management of New York condominiums and cooperatives, but do it through a virtual trial during a pandemic, is remarkable.”

This concludes eight years of litigation, which included several dispositive motions, an appeal, document discovery, depositions, and mediation, all prior to trial.

The case, Tsui v. Chou, et al., was filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County, Commercial Division, Index No. 652840/2013.

Read the Decision After Non-Jury Trial

About Lachtman Cohen P.C.

Lachtman Cohen P.C., with offices in New York City, the Hudson Valley, and Greenwich, Connecticut, is a sophisticated, full-service law firm that represents a diverse clientele of corporations, entrepreneurs, and individuals in business and real estate transactions and complex litigation. 


Brian S. Cohen
Tel: (646) 838-0275