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Jack Richard Lebowitz
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Jack Lebowitz’s Answers

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  • How do you bring a zoning official to justice when he lied in a cease and desist order causing multiple unneeded inspections?

    Can this zoning official plus the town be sued for monetary damages for significant stress, money spent, and missing opportunity to see a terminally ill family member with Alzheimers before they lost ability to recognize family members

    Jack’s Answer

    Short answer, probably not. You can usually seek to have s municipal decision reviewed by a court and possibly overturned, but not any collateral consequences such as mental anguish, stress and so forth which you cite. So long as the official was acting within the scope of his duties, was not acting in bad faith or maliciously or violating civil rights (e.g. racial discrimination) a municipality comes within the doctrine of "sovereign immunity". This is another way of saying "the King can fi no wrong", in other words you can't sue "the state".

    And "maliciously" in the above sentence doesn't just mean the official didn't seem to like you, or you think he "lied" (perjury). You must prove something like a criminal conspiracy to steal your property for his own benefit. No matter what the official did, do long as it seemed to be in his job description, it's going to be almost impossible to recovery of money damages from the municipality for however you think you were wronged by this official's actions

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  • I need help with fighting my insurance on a case, where they declined a claim on a house damages and lost property items.

    Last august, we had a heavy rain in our area, and that caused the water to form a river like flow, which was passing around my house. It washed out some of the ground at the foundation, and due to bad foundation that was not built properly, founda...

    Jack’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    As Mr. Wolf says, the insurance agreement and it's inclusions and exclusions control coverage. You should speak with your insurance broker (who sold you the policy) and perhaps an attorney and carefully review the policy terms.

    That being said, the typical "all perils" homeowner's insurance policy USUALLY covers only "listed" perils, which are very specific, such as fire, wind, hailstorms etc. It USUALLY excludes flooding. Where there is a storm which causes damage, for instance, if a tree blows over, it's not going to cover replacing landscaping, but may cover the house damage if the tree hits it. From what you've said, however, usually any kind of basement flooding whether from a storm or a sewer backup or groundwater incursion, is not covered. Usually, for any kind of flooding, federal flood insurance is required because drainage problems occur primarily in low lying areas which can be mapped and determined as special flood hazard zones.

    However, you need to review the policy terms which is the legal contract of coverage to determine the answer to your question.

    Question topic changed from "Real Estate" to "Insurance" to possibly get a better answer from attorneys who subscribe to questions on this topic.

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  • Confidential informant rules???

    aren't there rules that a confidential informant has to follow? for example, aren't they supposed to not have contact with anyone they turn in? Is it possible they might be trying to get that person again (out on bail) within the same month? I tho...

    Jack’s Answer

    Based on my experience, the answers to all of your questions are "no". Like the police they serve, CIs are allowed to behave "normally" around their quarry, so as to not set off any suspicions, before or after an arrest. Like police, they can use drugs or lie to the suspects to gain or keep their trust.

    Cops generally have some (but not necessarily a lot) of interest in keeping their CIs cover and protecting them from retribution, if only to make it possible to continue to press others arrested for drugs to "help out" by fingering others. Attorneys for defendants can't find out who the CI was and cross examine them unless the plea bargain is rejected and the matter goes to trial, which is why most CIs don't have to worry about their cover, since losing a trial with any substantial weights of drugs draws a "20 years to life" type sentence if convicted.

    Chanel topic from ethics which deals with attorney disciplinary rules (not "ethics" generally as the term is typically used) to criminal defense.

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  • Does a non tenant on a lease have to pay utilities

    three girls on a lease. only 1 is actually living there. Do the other 2 have to pay the utilities?

    Jack’s Answer

    i'd imagine that's between the three girls who have either an oral or written agreement or no agreement. An equitable agreement is that the one who's living there should pay all the utilities, since she's the only one really benefitting, but you haven't explained the basic understanding or situation these girls have, What kind of an understanding did the two girls not living on the lease have with the one who was living there about ongoing responsibility for rent and utilities? Is this a temporary thing (two girls away for the summer, returning in the fall, or did the two girls on the lease just flake out, move out and leave the third on the hook for the entire rent or finding new roommates?

    As far as the utility companies go, they don't care, they will just pursue the one person who's name is on the bill, and if the bills aren't paid, the service will be terminated. They aren't going to care the bill should be shared and go after three people. If the service is terminated, the person who's unlucky enough to be on the bill will find it difficult to get service elsewhere without a hefty up front deposit, if at all, and may have to commit to paying off the old bill in installments.

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  • Am I required to file a Change of Attorney form?

    I have an attorney on a fixed price, not per diem, now he wants more money and is not being responsive. He wants me to drop him, but I won't. I now need to file an OTSC motion regarding a settlement in 1 weeks time. Can I file it still hav...

    Jack’s Answer

    Well, I'm not sure what "off the hook" means, because you can still file a complaint with the Appellate Division committee that disciplines attorneys if the attorney failed in his obligations of diligence and communications (and fee reasonability, depending on the size of the fixed fee and work effort which was expended), but if you want to fire the attorney and take on your own representation, you do have to prepare, serve and file a "Consent to Change of Attorneys" which old attorney will sign,so the court and other side know you are representing pro se and the attorney is "off the hook" at least in terms of the upcoming response.

    In any event, it could be confusing and embarrassing if you didn't do this and the attorney, thinking hr had to file some papers (or ask for an extension) or face discipline/malpractice claims, filed papers as well as you did and they took different positions, or his position undercut yours, etc.

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  • My son will be 12 in one week. At what age does a child have the choice of which parent he would like to live with?

    I have my own two bedroom apartment and my sons mother lives with her in-laws. He wants to live with me but his mother refuses to let him. I get visitation with my son every weekend. Friday night till Sunday night.

    Jack’s Answer

    No hard and fast age, but the child's wishes count for a lot more when they are well into their teens. A lot of Family Court judges take the position that they aren't going to let pre-teens make that decision. They will also look at the reasons carefully (is the child trying to escape proper parental discipline for non-custodial parent who "bribes" the child with swag or too loose "hands off" discipline bordering on neglect.

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  • I'm being threatened by a REAL ESTATE SCAMMER. Please help. I was selling my house FSBO. I received a phone call from a "buyer"

    out of state saying that they wanted to pay cash and purchase site unseen. My closing attorney and I were skeptical, but they convinced the both of us that they were a legitimate buyer. After wasting two weeks, and tons of time and energy, I have ...

    Jack’s Answer

    Did this buyer sign a contract? You need a written contract, usually on the standard MLS form, to enforce a contact to purchase and sell property in the State of New York. If you have a contract, then you can enforce it, by keeping the contract deposit and pursuing the buyer for damages.

    The rest of the stuff you are saying about fraud and the FBI is poppycock and you are just spinning your wheels. Fraud would be something like you closed and conveyed a deed which was recorded and then discovered the official looking bank checks were forgeries and worthless.

    If you are going to do a FSBO deal and "save" yourself the realtor's commission, it be behooves you to know what agents have to learn to pass the state exam and get their license. Otherwise you are being penny wise and pound foolish. There are self help books on "how to be a FSBO" at your local library, on Amazon.com or Google.

    As an aside, if you are a FSBO and you hire an attorney to close the deal, almost a necessity unless you know how to do this, which you probably don't, do not expect the attorney to do all the standard things an agent does before a closing to keep the deal on track so he gets a commission.

    Lawyers do residential closings for a competitive price, like $500-800 and don't want to spend time doing the non-legal scut work the agent usually does like managing the home inspections, hawking over the buyer to see his mortgage is coming along, and do forth. Your calls or emails to the lawyer on those sorts of issues will not be returned for the flat fee closing rate.

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  • What does "Foreclosure Redeemed" mean?

    We actually did a Deed in Lieu versus Foreclosure. Our Deed in Lieu was accepted by our mortgage holder through a proven hardship. The VA paid off the loan to our mortgage holder. Afterwards, we checked our credit and it stated "Foreclosure Redeem...

    Jack’s Answer

    It probably means about the same thing on a credit report, the mortgage loan was foreclosed on and the lender got the property back and the insured loan paid off.

    In any event, from a credit report perspective, the fact that you couldn't pay the mortgage loan and the creditor foreclosed is going to be a blemish on your creditworthiness, no matter the exact method by which all the dust settled after the loan. If there was a short sale instead of a deed in lieu of foreclosure it probably wouldn't affect your creditworthiness significantly.

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  • Can your neighbors use the right of way in front of your home for a parking lot for their own vehicles?

    The county put a road in the wrong place. 50 feet was designated for a road and they put the road more to one side of that 50 feet leaving a rite of way on one side only. my neighbor across the street says he has a right to park on my right of...

    Jack’s Answer

    Wasn't this answered (at least) once in a similar question? Who says "rights of way cannot be used"? Do you have some legal authority (statute, code, case law, etc.) for this proposition, or are you just assuming that's what right of way means?

    Your problem seems to be that the municipality owns the ROW but it wasn't used for the road, it's a shoulder of the road or something like that.

    What the police are apparently trying to tell you is there doesn't seem to be a regulation that prohibits anyone, including your neighbor, from parking on public property (this might be different if it were a private easement not benefitting a specific property or your neighbor's property).

    If this is essentially a road or road shoulder and the public can park there, it might be rude or inconsiderate for your neighbor to park there when he has space in front of his own house, but it isn't illegal.

    You might want to speak to your local legislator, town or highway department and see whether you can get this area signed "No Parking" or "No parking on shoulder", etc.

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