Background: Our co-op has been in "litigation" for 5 years with three delinquent shareholders. At one point, a deal was reportedly reached with at least one of the delinquents, but a new Board reportedly instructed our attorney not to pursue the case. A new attorney was hired, and no progress has been made for the past two years, as arrears reach a combined total of four years' worth. The Board insists that legal action is "in progress" but it's confidential.
Question: Do the rest of us shareholders have the right to know the exact current status of the lawsuits and to review the file on these issues, including whether or not the Board failed to pursue agreements with the delinquent shareholders? Is the information publicly available in a court record?Thank you.
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
Dear New York Cooperator:
Shareholders who do not pay maintenance jeopardize the financial health of the apartment corporation. The Board is required to disclose the status of ongoing litigation. Any filed lawsuit in New York is a public record. So it is relatively easy to verify the status of any current lawsuit.
The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.
Criminal Defense Attorney
A shareholder has the right to review the Board meeting minutes. The court file is public and can be reviewed in the courthouse.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
Real Estate Attorney
As a shareholder you are entitled to review the minutes of the board meetings. If there is an action pending it is public information and can easily be found at the clerk of the court where the action is pending and you can review the file.
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