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Precedent-Setting Victory in Second Avenue Subway Litigation

Metropolitan Transportation Authority

HNRK successfully represented the MTA against an owner of commercial property along the route of construction for the Second Avenue Subway.  State Supreme Justice Martin Shulman dismissed the complaint, which had sought to recover from the MTA $20 million, mostly for lost rent. The court rejected plaintiffs’ claim that the work, including the construction of a temporary facility for the removal of excavation material along a portion of the sidewalk and avenue in front of the plaintiff’s property, did not constitute a trespass, nuisance, violation of its easement rights, or a taking of its property. Thus, the court held that the owner cannot sue the MTA or its contractors for the economic loss allegedly sustained as a consequence of the construction of this multi-year project, the first phase of which opened on the Upper East Side in January 2017. In September 2018, the Appellate Division, First Department, unanimously affirmed the judgment.  The MTA plans to continue the project, north to 125th Street, and all the way down the East Side to Hanover Square.

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