This matter centers on Plaintiff’s claim to a rent controlled/stabilized apartment at 2037 Webster Avenue, Bronx County, wherein his mother previously resided. Plaintiff filed a 62-page complaint seeking a declaration of his rights, together with judgment of $75,000 for emotional distress and injury arising from an “eviction,” damages in liquidation of $100 daily beginning September 22, 2008, and other sanctions.
Plaintiff demands possession of the four bedroom apartment his mother occupied before the building was renovated. Mrs. Williams lived there beginning in 1983 before she recently relocated to another Bronx location. Plaintiff’s claims to the apartment were judicially denied by the New York City Civil Court (hereinafter “Housing Court”). Plaintiff filed another case with the Office of Rent Administration, but it held that it is bound by the decision of the Housing Court.
Currently pending is Defendant Webster Park Avenue Housing Development Fund Corporation’s motion to dismiss this action, and to impose resulting costs and reasonable counsel fees. Plaintiff Williams-Bey, claiming special status as a “Moorish American,” cross moves for an order directing Defendant to provide certain corporate resolutions and documents identifying its attorney in this litigation and whether other persons were authorized to act on Defendant’s behalf pursuant to Not-for-Profit Corporation Law. Plaintiff also seeks sanctions against Defendant.
Primarily, Defendant argues that res judicata requires that the instant action be dismissed. The underlining issue, that is, the right to possession of the apartment, was already litigated in Housing Court adversely to Plaintiff, and found Plaintiff had no rights to the premises. Further, no other party is entitled to possession under any legal theory.
A Lawyer said that, according to Defendant, Plaintiff lost possession rights after Mrs. Williams signed a permanent relocation agreement with Defendant. The Housing Court specifically found Plaintiff had no rights in the housing development she left behind. Further, according to the landlord, Williams-Bey is estopped because he broke into a locked apartment; took residence without a lease; amassed a cable bill in excess of $2,800; and rented rooms to the four named individual plaintiffs without Defendant’s consent. Plaintiff was never listed as a tenant of record and he was properly removed as a squatter. In addition, the Housing Court determined that the Police (not Defendant) evicted Plaintiff thereby negating the intentional infliction of mental distress cause of action.
On the other hand, a Lawyer said that, plaintiff argues that the Court lacks statutory jurisdiction to dismiss the complaint because a substantial right of Plaintiff is involved and Defendant’s motion is otherwise untimely. Concerning the landlord’s demand for costs and sanctions, Plaintiff says such a motion is premature because no written decision was issued concerning the underlying sanctionable conduct. Further, Plaintiff says the regulations that Defendant relies upon to support sanctions do not apply to costs or counsel fees. Addressing his cross motion, Plaintiff insists no one who submitted an affidavit in opposition is “authorized,” and dismissal is required because no corporate resolution authorizing retention of the landlord’s counsel was produced. In short, plaintiff claims that defendant is not represented by an authorized attorney.
The issues in this case are whether plaintiff is entitled for special status as “Moorish-American” and has suffered infliction of emotional distress and injury due to defendant’s action; and whether plaintiff acquired vested rights through succession over the subject apartment.
In analyzing Defendant’s motion, the Court will first look at Plaintiff’s claim for special status as a “Moorish-American,” and will then turn to the causes of action regarding intentional infliction of emotional distress and Plaintiff’s claim of succession to his mother’s former apartment.
Plaintiff in artfully asserts special status for himself in the caption as a “Moorish American,” but refers only briefly to “aboriginal” and “divine” rights in his complaint while rejecting “Anglo” law. Plaintiff says he is a “Moorish-American National” based upon §1101(a)(22)(B) of Title 8, United States Code, and claiming citizenship under §1401(b) of Title 8, United States Code. The Court interprets Plaintiff’s assertions questioning the Court’s jurisdiction over him as founded in part upon Plaintiff being a member of the “Moorish American Nation”. Consistent with this position, Plaintiff purports to limit his involvement here to a limited appearance, special appearance, or restricted appearance.
The challenge to jurisdiction of American courts over members of the “Moorish American Nation” has been tried in both federal and state courts, always to no avail. While the Court cannot say there are no circumstances under which “Moorish-American” status could not find recognition, Plaintiff fails to make a sufficient showing to categorize himself as cognizable here; even were the Court to treat Plaintiff as a member of such a cognizable group, that status would confer no special benefits to Plaintiff under these facts. Nor does Plaintiff advance, let alone establish, a theory of discrimination that might otherwise lend itself in furtherance of his prayer. In light of the above, the Court converts Plaintiff’s purported limited appearance into a general one for purposes of the within decision.
As regards plaintiff’s claim for emotional distress, the Court said, the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress has four elements: 1) extreme and outrageous conduct; (2) an intent to cause, or a disregard of a substantial probability of causing, severe emotional distress; (3) a causal connection between the conduct and injury; and (4) severe emotional distress. Plaintiff fails to meet the required elements because the complaint alleges no “extreme or outrageous conduct”, causing injury on Defendant’s part. Plaintiff’s only allegation concerning “extreme, outrageous and dangerous” conduct is Defendant’s “911” call to police when Plaintiff was discovered in the apartment. The pleadings say the resulting police presence kept Plaintiff from making a “citizen’s arrest” of Defendant’s employee. Had plaintiff elected to exercise the prerogative of a reasonably prudent man to use physical force, violence and harm would have been inevitable, albeit justifiable. Based upon the foregoing, the Court concludes Plaintiff’s allegations neither reach the Howell requirement of “extreme or outrageous conduct” nor detail any conduct that could possibly be “so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community”. Thus, the Court held that plaintiff alleges nothing that justified a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress and injury.
With regard to the issue on succession right, the Court agrees with Defendant that Plaintiff’s claim for succession rights must be dismissed under the doctrine of “res judicata”. Under the doctrine, a final judgment on the merits rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction bars a subsequent suit between the same parties involving the same cause of action. Since plaintiff brought this cause of action at least twice before once judicially and once administratively, Plaintiff’s instant complaint must be dismissed. Housing Court disposed of all plaintiff’s claims under the rent control/stabilization laws.
Housing Court determined, among other things, that Plaintiff was not entitled to the subject apartment. Whatever succession rights Plaintiff may have possessed were surrendered by his mother who never listed Plaintiff as a family member on the family composition list. The Housing Court’s decision was issued after the parties were afforded a full and fair opportunity to litigate the matter. Likewise, the Office of Rent Administration found that it was administratively bound by the Housing Court’s decision. There is no evidence Plaintiff filed an appeal of said decision. Likewise, Plaintiff alleges nothing supporting any succession benefits for the Mohammed Shabazz Charitable Trust and the Court denies any benefits to this plaintiff regardless of Plaintiff’s standing to bring litigation on its behalf.
In view of the foregoing, the Court denied plaintiff’s demand for special status as a Moorish American, and granted defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground of failure to state a cause of action. Further, the Court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss on the ground that the cause of action may not be maintained because of res judicata.
A judgment on the merits of a Court of competent jurisdiction involving the same parties and the same cause of action is barred by res judicata. There is a need for a Kings Injury Lawyer to understand the rule, in order to avoid distress and injury from an unwarranted case. Stephen Bilkis and Associates will help you. Our Kings Personal Injury Attorney can represent you and give you legal advice.