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Gavel_And_LawWe write with regard to an article published in the New York Law Journal of Wednesday, February 7, 2018, titled “Putative Class Actions For Rent Overcharges,” written by Warren A. Estis and Michael E. Feinstein. The article described a recent decision by Justice Erika M. Edwards in Maddicks v. Big City Realty, dismissing the complaint, at the motion to dismiss stage for, inter alia, failure to establish the CPLR 901(a) prerequisites of commonality and superiority. This firm represents the plaintiffs in Maddicks.

Messrs. Estis’ and Feinstein’s article is misleading in several respects. Their firm, Rosenberg and Estis, represents landlords in multiple class action matters raising similar claims to Maddicks, many of which are currently sub judice. In those currently pending matters, they have put forth Justice Edward’s decision in Maddicks as supporting dismissal of class actions at the threshold stage. Far from being impartial writers, they have a vested interest in how the Maddicks decision is perceived by the members of the bench, many of whom are among your readers. They conveniently fail to disclose that interest.

Second, the article selectively quotes from Justice Edwards’ opinion in Maddicks, apparently in an attempt to bolster the decision’s implications for class-action practice in the landlord-tenant area. For instance, the article fails to note that Judge Edwards improvidently held that a class-action is not superior because the analysis of class claims “could be onerous”—a hypothetical determination that not only was premature at the pre-class certification, motion to dismiss stage, but which is unsupported in law, and is a standard that could be wrongfully used to dismiss any class action.

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