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Margaret Earls and Cheryl Cochrane As Successor Trustee of the Bolanile Akinwole Trust, Respondents v. Michael Todd James

New York Supreme and/or Appellate Courts SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE TERM, SECOND DEPARTMENT, 2d, 11th and 13th JUDICIAL DISTRICTS


March 15, 2013

MARGARET EARLS AND CHERYL COCHRANE AS SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE OF THE BOLANILE AKINWOLE TRUST, RESPONDENTS, --
v.
MICHAEL TODD JAMES, APPELLANT, -AND- TERESA RICHARDSON, "JOHN DOE" AND/OR "JANE DOE," OCCUPANTS.

Appeal from an order of the Civil Court of the City of New York, Queens County (Michael J. Pinckney, J.), entered January 6, 2012.

Earls v James

Decided on March 15, 2013

Appellate Term, Second Department

Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.

This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.

PRESENT: RIOS, J.P., PESCE and ALIOTTA, JJ

The order denied occupant Michael Todd James's motion to vacate a final judgment entered against him pursuant to a stipulation of settlement and to dismiss the petition as against him.

ORDERED that the order is affirmed, without costs.

Michael Todd James (occupant) appeals from an order which denied his motion to vacate a final judgment of possession that had been entered against him pursuant to a so-ordered stipulation and to dismiss the petition as against him.

Settlement stipulations are favored and will not be undone absent proof that the settlement was obtained by fraud, collusion, mistake, accident or other ground sufficient to invalidate a contract (see e.g. Hallock v State of New York, 64 NY2d 224 [1984]; Matter of Frutiger, 29 NY2d 143 [1971]; UHAB-320 Sterling St., HDFC v Dupree, 24 Misc 3d 138[A], 2009 NY Slip Op 51589[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2009]). Here, the only purported fraud or mistake alleged by occupant is that, essentially, he had been tricked into believing that the Civil Court has jurisdiction over the proceeding. He argues that the court lacks jurisdiction because there is no landlord-tenant relationship between petitioners and him. Contrary to occupant's argument, the New York City Civil Court has jurisdiction over a summary proceeding where, as here, a property owner seeks to recover possession of real property from a tenant at will, or licensee whose license has been revoked (see RPAPL 701 [1]; 711 [2]; 713 [7]), and we note that the Civil Court properly held that service of the 30-day notice afforded occupant the requisite notice to which he was entitled (see 48 E. 68th Assoc. v DeMalleray, NYLJ, Nov. 12, 1985 [App Term, 1st Dept]). Furthermore, occupant's conclusory allegation that he entered into the stipulation under duress is unsupported by the record, particularly in light of petitioners' attorney's firsthand account of the care taken by the Civil Court in making sure that occupant understood the stipulation before he signed it.

Accordingly, the order is affirmed.

Rios, J.P., Pesce and Aliotta, JJ., concur.

Decision Date: March 15, 2013

20130315

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