New York Appeals Court Affirms Stuy Town Case Decision

A New York state appeals court affirmed a lower court’s decision to deny a motion by MetLife Inc. (MET) to dismiss a class-action lawsuit brought by tenants of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

Today's decision, by the state’s Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed an Aug. 5, 2010, ruling by New York State Supreme Court Justice Richard Lowe III to deny a motion to dismiss the case against MetLife, the complex’s former owner.

The 80-acre Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village development is Manhattan’s largest apartment complex with more than 11,000 units. MetLife sold the complex in 2006 to Tishman Speyer Properties LP and partner BlackRock Realty LP for $5.4 billion.

Tenants sued MetLife and Tishman in 2007, claiming the companies improperly forced at least a quarter of the apartments to pay market rates while receiving more than $25 million in tax breaks.

Lowe dismissed the tenants’ original lawsuit in 2007, and the appeals court later reinstated the suit and ruled on the tenants’ behalf. The tenants are seeking more than $215 million in damages.

Tishman Speyer and BlackRock missed a $16.1 million debt payment due in January 2010 and said they would cede control of the complex to lenders after the value fell and they were prevented from raising rents.

The appeal is Roberts et al. vs. Tishman Speyer Properties LP et al., New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division (Manhattan). The lower-court case is Amy L. Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Properties, 100956/2007, New York state Supreme Court (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Dolmetsch in New York at cdolmetsch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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