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Tricham Housing Associates, L.P. v. Panitz

Supreme Court of New York, New York County

July 15, 2013

TRICHAM HOUSING ASSOCIATES, L.P.,
v.
Emanuel PANITZ, Allen Klein, Lobby Design Group, Inc., and Steeltech SA, LLC, Defendants. No. 106909/09.

Editorial Note:

This decision has been referenced in a table in the New York Supplement.

Ira M. Schulman, Esq., Pepper Hamilton, LLP, New York, NY, for Plaintiff.

Stuart Kagen, Esq., Kagen Law Firm, New York, NY, for Defendants.

Emanuel Panitz, West Palm Beach, FL, pro se.

DEBRA A. JAMES, J.

Defendants Allen Klein, Lobbye Design Group, Inc., and Steeltech SA, LLC, move to dismiss plaintiff's complaint and for sanctions against plaintiff and its attorneys pursuant to 22 NYCRR 130-1.1. Movants assert that plaintiff's attorneys have violated Disciplinary Rule [22 NYCRR 1200.0] 3.4(b) which states that a " lawyer shall not ... offer an inducement to a witness that is prohibited by law or pay, offer to pay or acquiesce in the payment of compensation to a witness contingent upon the content of the witness's testimony or the outcome of the matter."

In this action, plaintiff hired defendants to install door and telephone entry systems upon premises owned and managed by plaintiff and now alleges that defendants have breached their obligations by failing to perform the work as contracted. As is relevant here, by Order dated October 5, 2010, counsel for defendant Emanuel Panitz was relieved and that defendant continued in this action pro se.

The current motion concerns a December 2, 2011 " Memorandum of Understanding" (MOU) between the plaintiff and defendant Panitz which resolved the claims asserted in this action as between those parties. The MOU provided that

1. Panitz will execute an Assignment to Tricham of all rights, interest, judgments and claims of Panitz against Lobby Design Group Inc., Allen Klein and SteelTech SA LLC in connection with the above-entitled action and the work performed at the Tricham Houses Project.
2. In the event that Lobby Design Group, Inc. and/or Allen Klein and/or SteelTech SA LLC recover no sums or judgments on their counterclaims against Tricham, Tricham will reimburse Panitz for legal costs, fees and expenses incurred in connection with the above-referenced action, not to exceed $10,000.00. Panitz will furnish Tricham with copies of all bills for which reimbursement is sought.
3. Tricham will execute a stipulation discontinuing the causes of action set forth in the above-reference action against Panitz.
4. Panitz will execute a stipulation discontinuing [hi]s counterclaims asserted in the above-referenced action against Tricham.
5. Tricham and Panitz will execute and exchange mutual releases.
6. Tricham and Panitz will execute such other and further documents as may be necessary to the fulfillment of the parties' agreement as set forth ...

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