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Landlords Suing NYS Eviction Pause Raise 1st Amendment Get 2 More Days To Brief

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 24 – After New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an Executive Order suspending some eviction cases, Westchester County based landlord Elmsforth Apartment Associates, LLC filed a Constitutional lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Some time later they sought a Temporary Restraining Order.  

 The case was assigned to SDNY Chief Judge Colleen McMahon who held a proceeding on June 5. Inner City Press covered it, see below.
  On June 24
Chief Judge McMahon held an oral argument, at which the First Amendment played an unexpectedly large role. Plaintiff's counsel Mark A. Guterman said he is more of a landlord - tenant lawyer. Judge McMahon replied that in the past she had been such a lawyer, albeit in the commercial context, and got to know the metropolis. She said, if you represent a landlord and he or she has a Constitutional claim, you pursue it.
  Judge McMahon peppered Guterman with questions, about being able to recoup past rent, about security deposits, about limiting his arguments to the Governor's executive order, not decisions of the NYS courts. Ultimately she asked both sides for letter briefs on the First Amendment issues. Inner City Press will continue to cover this case.

Back on June 5 Chief Judge McMahon started by saying she would  not be issuing a Temporary Restraining Order, asks why the landlords waited 4 weeks.  Judge McMahon suggested converting the motion for a TRO into a motion for summary judgment. 

 The landlords' lawyer Mark A. Guterman said fine. So did Governor Cuomo's lawyer Matthew Conrad. 

   Judge McMahon said, Good. I'll get to actually dispose of a case... Are you making any kind of commercial speech argument?    

Guterman answered, It's not contained in the papers, no.  

  Judge McMahon said, I understand some NYS court have been reopened this week. Any change to your case?  

  Guterman said, Not on its face. Inner City Press  

  Judge McMahon concluded, I was hoping we could do argument in the week of June 22. I'll be in the courthouse. Wednesday the 24th, 10 am. We should be in Phase 1 by then. Here's hoping.

The case is Elmsford Apartment Associates, LLC et al. v. Cuomo, 20-cv-4062 (McMahon).


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