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Jack Richard Lebowitz
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Jack Lebowitz’s Answers

1,763 total


  • What rights do I have with a dispute over a fence on a property line?

    I'm buying a house. According to the survey, the back neighbors fence is 3 feet on our property line. The neighbor is being very difficult about the situation. Do we have any legal recourse to force them to move the fence off our property? If ...

    Jack’s Answer

    Agree with Mr. Mevorach that you should bring this problem to the seller's attention to deal with before closing, and perhaps seek an adjustment in the purchase price if the neighbor's incursion affects the value or substantial size of the lot or access. You do need a staked survey (location of property boundaries by a licensed surveyor) to verify the fence is on your property. Judicial relief may be available to the seller or you under the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law, a state statute.

    However, one yellow flag is the potential for the neighbor to claim the defense of "adverse possession" or a "prescriptive easement" essentially owning the additional land where the fence is on "your" land and changing the rear lot line to where the fence is. This situation can happen if the fence was there for over 10 years and your sellers knew it was there, didn't complain or ask the fence to be moved, didn't give permission and the back neighbor believed that's where his lot line was (that is, he owned the strip of land now under dispute). This is, obviously,

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  • I wish to file a notice of claim against the Town of Islip, in Suffolk County New York.

    I believe that the Town of Islip Building Department is engaged in an ongoing course of conduct that subjects homeowners who attempt to comply with building codes and requirements to unnecessary expense and duress by intentionally, or by complete ...

    Jack’s Answer

    You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible after the Town Building Department does something which directly affects YOUR property. You may have to first file an Article 78 proceeding to contest the action against your property. For reasons of legal principles which would not be able to explain in a few words, you may not be able to contest this "ongoing course of conduct" involving other people and their property because of lack of "standing" to challenge those decisions in a judicial proceeding, and before you file a "Notice of Claim" (which generally involves a tort claim, such as a personal injury") you may have to show you undertook preliminary administrative review proceedings with respect to the decision that affected you to comply with another legal doctrine called "exhaustion of administrative remedies".

    Both the Article 78 and Notice of Claim proceedings have very short statutes of limitation from as little as 30 days for zoning related decisions to four months, 90 days in the case of Notices of Claim. Therefore, if there is some particular decision that directly affected YOU and YOUR property, you need to speak with a local attorney in Suffolk County familiar with administrative law and zoning/planning as soon as possible so that a possible claim does not lapse due to statutes of limitation.

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  • Checking up on an attorney.

    I have an attorney who practiced in one state for awhile now he works as an attorney for a different state only. I have a case involving an attorney in the state and town that he use to work in. Do the state bars keep tract of which firms an atto...

    Jack’s Answer

    Generally speaking (as far as New York and the other states I am familiar with), those states with a current registration requirement do not keep employment histories. Sometimes directories such as this site or Martindale-Hubbell (or firm websites) have biographies or profiles that list an attorney's previous employment.

    If you could have a problem with this attorney because he worked with some firm you had a bad experience with, or there are potential conflicts of interest, the best way to answer your question is simply to ask the attorney "...whether he was formerly associated with [or "partner", "member" or "of counsel to Dewey, Cheatem and Howe in Anywhere, USA?"

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  • I have sole custody of my child. in the event I pass away do my child goes with her father or can I appoint a legal guardian?

    My husband wants to adopt my daughter he's raised her and she wants to live with him in the event I pass away due to major surgery. Does he have the right to keep her since we're married and I have sole custody or does she automatically go w...

    Jack’s Answer

    Agree with Mr. Zaslavsky. If your husband wants to adopt your daughter, the biological father has to consent and his parental rights (and support obligations) would be terminated. You would do this through a Family Law adoption proceeding. It might be possible for you to agree on some visitation plan or schedule with the biological father in that event.

    You haven't said how involved or interested in visitation the biological father is, obviously if he is minimally involved, available or willing to parent, the arrangement you are seeking would be more feasible.

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  • My daughter has 2 kids & needs to move upstate with me . How far is she allowed to go away from the father. She is not married.

    I am getting divorced & my daughter & 2 grandchildren live here with me & my husband. I am looking to buy a house in Cornwall NY, we now live in Seaford Long Island . The father lives with his mother in Levittown NY. My daughter is not married, he...

    Jack’s Answer

    Assuming there is no custody order in place for the first child (and for the second, obviously), there is no set distance your daughter can relocate within the state. A previous order may have set a visitation/parenting schedule, in which case it would be somewhat "negotiable" in a Family Court case how visitation were to occur if the father wished it (in other words, someone having to drive several hours in your case to bring the children back and forth).

    A lot depends on what the father wants to do as far as visitation and consent to a move is concerned, but presuming the parties are willing to accommodate visitation if the father wants it, a short intra-state move like you're proposing could be deemed to be in the "best interests of the children" and thus doable. If there is a custody order, your daughter will have to justify "changed circumstances" to amend the order.

    Lastly, it is likely a support and proceeding including establishing the parents of the younger child will be brought by Social Services, even if your daughter doesn't request it or is indifferent to getting a support order.

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  • I am in divorce case. I found out few months ago that my husband concealed documents that existed for many years

    and his attorney knew about this while attorney consistently responded to discoveries that such documents dont exist. We sent a subpoena to my husband forensic accountant and we found an email from his attoreny to his forensic stating that my ...

    Jack’s Answer

    I'd agree with all the points Mr. Wolf made. Your remedy is basically to reopen your divorce proceeding and get the enhanced relief you would have been entitled to had your (former) husband's financial information been disclosed. There might also be ancillary remedies against the attorney for contempt or disciplinary actions, but these would be in the nature of fines or sanctions against him rather than damages or compensation paid to you. Again, NY law, but probably similar in California.

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  • Just tonight walmart refused to sell me beer because my 17 year old was with me.

    They told me that was their policy. There are no signs stating those rules. I called Hidalgo, Tx police department to make the report. While the police present other customers were buying beer with their kids present. I even took video of the o...

    Jack’s Answer

    Store clerks who sell alcohol have a lot of discretion and responsibility when alcohol sales are involved. The clerk might have thought you were improperly buying for the minor child who was with you and might have not realized you were father and son. Many attempted alcohol purchases in this situation are police stings where the clerk may be arrested, fined and fired and have their name splashed in the local paper, making it difficult yo find another job. They probably figure "better safe than sorry".

    I agree with the other responding attorney that not all store policies need be posted on signs and "feeling discriminated" is not discrimination which legally involves race, ethnicity, sex, religion, disabilities or similar "protected" classes of people.

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  • If my wife is incarcerated with temporary custody of our son will I be granted custody?

    My wife is about to be investigated with impersonation in the second degree under penile code 190.25 New York State law and has temporary emergency custody of our son. I am in the military in another state but if she is arrested while I am back in...

    Jack’s Answer

    As Ms. Brown said, adding that it probably has something to do with the reasons why the mother has "temporary emergency custody". Also, someone can be arrested and charged with a crime and be released on bail and later be convicted and still not go to jail or prison, in which case she may retain custody. It also has to do with with whether you are able to be the custodial parent or a grandparent.

    As you know, all of these factors are taken into account to determine what is "in the best interests of the child", and the Attorney for the Child and of course the Judge has a lot of input into this decision as well. Simply being charged with a crime or investigated for a crime is not an automatic "gotcha", especially if the crime does not involve child abuse, neglect or violence and doesn't really bear significantly on moral character involving parenting.

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  • Release of mechanic's lien

    I'm actually a buyer of a property that has a mechanic's lien on the title (seller won't do anything about it and claims as-is condition includes me paying to remove her liens) What's the average fee charged by a lien company to file the ...

    Jack’s Answer

    Your title insurance company will "clear" all the judgments and liens at the closing, including tax and mortgage liens, and the money to do will come right out of the checks to be cut to the seller for the purchase price. The seller may have to pay some small additional fees to have the title company handle getting and recording these "satisfactions". Your seller, in the purchase and sale agreement (which must be written to be enforceable in New York State), has promised to convey good and "marketable" title, which means title free of liens.

    If he cannot or will not do that in the usual manner I am suggesting here, then you can walk from the contract and incidentally sue the seller for breach of contract and damages or specific performance (a court order requiring the closing and conveyance, including paying off the liens.

    If this is some kind of "FSBO" deal, the seller can dispense with a real estate agent, but apparently not with an attorney,.

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  • Close business or change business name before lawsuit to prevent potential claims

    I heard some architects or contractors close their LLC every 2 years then operate business under a new LLC name. They said this can prevent them getting lawsuits from their previous jobs. Because people normally are not interested in suing entity ...

    Jack’s Answer

    Agree with the advice given you by attorneys Kassell and Weltman. Additionally, in most of these instances with which I am familiar, the plaintiff would sue the architect individually as a state licensed professional and probably the contractor and both the old and new LLCs as well. Licensed professionals cannot avoid personal liability by operating in the corporate form. As the other attorneys have mentioned, even if the plaintiff were to sue the "old" LLC solely in error because its name was on the contract, it is likely that if the Court found the owners of the assets substantially the same and the assets transferred to avoid liability, that could give rise to an additional claim for a fraudulent conveyance.

    In short, I think what you have heard, if it indeed does exist in the real world, is not a very typical business structure or plan and would likely not be too terribly effective in accomplishing its apparent goal of avoiding liability.

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