Willkie and Legal Aid File Appeal Against NYCHA Over Rent Rebates for Residents Who Suffered Winter Heat and Hot Water Outages

September 11, 2019

The appeal argues that the trial court erred in concluding that the tenants lack the ability to sue for breaches of the warranty of habitability and that the case is not suitable for class treatment.

Willkie and The Legal Aid Society filed an appeal in Diamond v. New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), a class action brought in April 2018 demanding that the agency issue rent abatements to residents who went without heat and hot water during the 2017 to 2018 “heat season” and, in particular, during the winter cold spell that lasted from December 27, 2017 – January 16, 2018.

The appeal specifically argues that the trial court erred in concluding that plaintiffs’ state law claims are preempted by federal law, that tenants lack the ability to sue for breaches of the warranty of habitability and that the case is not suitable for class treatment.

In particular, the appeal argues that the court’s suggestion that plaintiffs and the other thousands of NYCHA tenants harmed by NYCHA’s flouting of its legal obligations file individual cases in civil court would severely strain the resources of both the judiciary and NYCHA residents themselves, creating the very inefficiencies the class action device is meant to alleviate.

The Willkie team handling the matter includes partners Mary Eaton, Wesley Powell and Shaimaa Hussein, and associate Samuel Kalar.

See Willkie’s April 25, 2018 announcement