Second hand smoke lawsuit: uh-oh

Such a big problem in New York apartment buildings. I myself have been the victim of (European) people smoking in the apartment beneath mine. Very very unpleasant and unhealthy and even after I suggested remedies, they did nothing about it.

At one point I talked to a lawyer about what could be done. At that time, in the 1990s, the answer was: nothing much.

But nowadays if you can prove that the habitability of your apartment has been messed around with, you can sue perhaps more effectively than did this plaintiff, who lost the case. Or maybe the case was dismissed, which is in its own way a loss.

Today some buildings have no smoking rules for new tenants or shareholders (the old ones are grandfathered in, although given the deadly effects of smoking, one would think these grandfathers are not going to be living to a ripe old age, and will be wheeled around the building attached to oxygen tanks).

My guess is, you’d have to get involved with a specialty expert who can set up some sort of device that could measure the amount of smoke and establish whether this amount made your habitat dangerous.

Black’s Law Dictionary definition of warrant of habitability (that is SO hard to type)…well, lookee here! There isn’t one. Pages of warrant definitions but not one for habitability (and now I had to type that again).

So here’s what Black says about habitability (geez):

The condition of a building in which inhabitants can live free of serious defects that might harm health and safety.

Hm. To me a “serious defect[]” would include somebody else’s smoke. So maybe the case below indicates that the plaintiff didn’t do enough to prove there was smoke.

I’ll stop rambling now. Promise.

555-565 Assoc., LLC v. Kearsley, L & T 88254/2014

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