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News / 05.17.22 /

Jacob Amir obtained a favorable decision after trial for his clients, residential homeowners, defending against claims brought by a contractor for wrongful termination and breach of contract.

Following on a four day trial, the Court issued a decision that dismissed the complaint, determined that Jacob’s clients permissibly terminated the contractor, and awarded the clients counterclaim judgment for overpayments made and expenses incurred.

News / 01.14.22 /

Attorney Jacob Amir obtained summary judgment dismissal on behalf of his client, the remaining member of a limited liability company, who was accused of breaching a workout and settlement agreement

The other outgoing member alleged that Jacob’s client agreed to an itemization of income and expenses and make installment payments to the outgoing member in exchange for a transfer of interests. The company was formed as a joint venture to act as general contractor on certain large-scale projects. Jacob used the General Obligations Law to …

News / 12.06.21 /

Attorney Jacob Amir Obtained The Cancellation Of A Mechanics Lien Filed Against A Condominium Building And 48 Condominium Units.

Attorney Jacob Amir obtained the cancellation of a mechanics lien filed against a condominium building and 48 condominium units. The lienor, a general contractor, needed to pay substantial insurance premiums in order to qualify its bid for a project. When the project was delayed, the contractor filed for recovery of its premium costs. Our firm …

News / 10.22.21 /

Jacob Amir has been appointed Co-Chair of the Construction Law Committee of the Westchester Bar Association.

Jacob Amir has been appointed Co-Chair of the Construction Law Committee of the Westchester Bar Association. The Committee members are engaged in some of the largest and most advanced public and private development projects in the County and around New York State.

Blog / 02.22.21 /

You Say Delay, I Say Disruption: The Fine Line Separating Owners and Contractors That Should Be Defined in Construction Agreements

The standard AIA construction contract (and typically non-AIA contracts) will have a provision entitled “no damage for delay” that includes language setting forth that if an owner delays or disrupts a project, a contractor may not recover money damages. Rather, the contractor’s remedy is limited to seeking an extension of time for completion of the …

Blog / 11.10.20 /

Thinking about the “When” . . . when drafting a dispute resolution provision in construction agreements

The importance of the dispute resolution provision in a construction contract should not be overlooked. This means addressing not only how the parties will resolve disputes between them (e.g., mediation, arbitration or litigation) but also answering the “when?” of that process. New York State’s suspension of filing deadlines in civil cases is coming to an …

Blog / 10.28.20 /

Owner questions for a mechanic’s lien filed against their property

Watch Jacob Amir, Partner at Smith Buss & Jacobs, LLP talk about questions an owner might ask if a mechanic’s lien is filed against their property.

Blog / 09.28.20 /

Court resolves battle between New York City government bodies and a developer caught in the middle

Municipalities of all sizes have varying agencies whose determinations must be sought in the land use process. However, whether presenting before a planning board, seeking a variance from a zoning board, or satisfying the concerns of a community preservation board, a developer can get caught in the middle when municipal agencies challenge each other’s respective …

Blog / 08.26.20 /

Contractor’s delay in bringing legal action proves very costly

by Jacob E. Amir May owners and general contractors agree to shorten New York’s legal time period for bringing legal action to recover contract damages? Yes. And if that time period runs from the date of “construction completion” but a formal notice of completion is never issued, will a contractor be barred from suing under …

News / 06.30.20 /

Webinar: Addressing Lien Law 3A claims in and out of Bankruptcy Court

Overview Article 3A of the New York Lien Law sets up a system of trusts to make sure that construction moneys received by owners and contractors are applied to pay for the cost of the improvement. It also provides a mechanism for owners and subcontractors to claim diversion of funds against contractors who fail to …

Blog / 06.22.20 /

Remember Lien Law 3A Payment Obligations with the Shutdown Fading and Construction Projects Resuming

With the nearly three-month construction work stoppage now in the rear view mirror, owners and contractors need to refocus on funding and payment issues under suspended contracts. A recent article in Construction Dive, a trade publication, noted a 40% increase nationwide in the number of mechanic’s lien filings, suggesting that some parties are resorting to …

Blog / 05.26.20 /andKenneth R. Jacobs

COVID-19: Reopening Guidance for Property Owners on Construction Projects; New NYS Small Business Loan Assistance

REOPENING GUIDANCE FOR PROPERTY OWNERS RESTARTING CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS NEW NYS SMALL BUSINESS LOAN ASSISTANCE MID-HUDSON REGION REOPENS MAY 26, 2020; LONG ISLAND TO FOLLOW MAY 27, 2020. The Mid-Hudson Region reopens for Phase One today, and Long Island reopens with Phase 1 tomorrow. Phase 1 means that contractors in these Regions can resume non-essential construction …

Blog / 05.19.20 /

COVID-19: Contractors . . . Get Ready to Get Back to Work

Construction is at the top of the list of the group of industries scheduled to reopen first under Governor Cuomo’s four-phase plan. That is good news for contractors, developers and owners. To enable a smooth transition back to work, interested parties should consider how an ongoing project may have been affected by the shutdown, and …

Blog / 05.18.20 /

COVID-19: State Authorizes Phased-in Reopening of Businesses. When Will New York City, LI and Westchester Qualify? Some Reopening Considerations.

New York State has implemented a four-phase plan to reopen businesses across the state based on seven benchmarks. The state is divided into ten regions: New York City and Long Island are each separate regions, and Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Dutchess and Putnam counties are part of the “Mid-Hudson Region.” As of now, none of these …

Blog / 04.13.20 /andKenneth R. Jacobs


Although not given as much attention as the Payroll Protection Program, the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act also provides new tax credit, deferral and net operating loss deductions which may be beneficial for your business. Section 2301 Employee Retention Credit Section 2301 gives eligible employers a tax credit against the 6.2% …

News / 03.23.20 /


Empire State Development Corporation Issues Guidance On What Businesses Provide an “Essential Function” Under Executive Order 202.6, as Revised Executive Order No. 202.6 directed that all businesses and non-profit entities are required to reduce their in-person workforce by 75%, and Governor Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” Executive Order (the “PAUSE Order” will increase that …

Blog / 03.19.20 /

Governor Cuomo Issues Executive Order Amending the Corporation Law to Permit Board Member Votes by E-mail

Business Corporation Law 708(b) permits corporate boards to take action upon written approval of its members without conducting a meeting, unless such action is prohibited by the entity’s articles of organization or by-laws. NYS Executive Order 202.5 issued on March 18, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, amends BCL 708(b): “To the extent necessary …

News / 03.02.20 /andNancy Durand

WVOX Interview with Jacob Amir & Nancy Durand

Jacob Amir and Nancy Durand discuss the firm and their work in Westchester County with the Business Council of Westchester.

Blog / 02.25.20 /

Buyer deemed not “able” to purchase where seller fails to obtain short sale approval from seller’s bank

Buyers seeking to enforce their contractual rights by an action for “specific performance” to compel the sale of real property have to demonstrate that they are “ready, willing and able” to acquire the property. Apparently, the determination whether a buyer is “able” to complete the purchase does not refer simply to the buyer’s capabilities, but …

Blog / 02.25.20 /

Tort and contract claims against Coop Board Member survive pre-answer dismissal motion

Members of a cooperative’s board of directors enjoy the protections of both the corporate shield and the business judgment rule, such that they may not be held personally liable for property damage or personal injury when a claim is made in connection with actions taken by directors in their official capacity as board members. But …

Blog / 01.21.20 /

In Leasing or Purchasing Real Estate from a Not-for-Profit, the Purchase Money Mortgage is Probably Not an Option

As a New York Times article from last October[1] described, religious institutions strapped for operating funds or wishing to utilize their real property as investment vehicles can enter into sales or long-term lease agreements with developers. However, New York State Religious Corporation Law requires religious institutions to obtain judicial and/or New York State Attorney General …

News / 01.14.20 /

Firm News

Jacob Amir won a decision after trial declaring his clients’ shareholder interests in a private corporation, voiding a 2015 deed determined to be fraudulent, and restoring ownership of a nearly eight acre residential property to the corporation. The trial in Westchester involved over 100 exhibits, recreating over 30 years of factual history and followed extensive …

Blog / 11.15.19 /

Criminality for Corporate Lien Law Diversion

Lien Law Section 79 criminalizes the diversion of trust funds from the purpose created by the trust. In layman’s terms, that basically means that a contractor who receives payments from a property owner for a project must use the payments for the purposes intended under the project (e.g., labor, subcontractors, vendors, etc.). Diverting those funds …

Blog / 10.17.19 /

Contractors may have at least one way to sue members of limited liability companies personally for renovation work provided to the LLC

Members of New York State limited liability companies often form their entities with two thoughts in mind: an LLC provides favorable tax structuring and protection from personal liability. To the joy of contractors and chagrin of LLC members, that protection may not shield LLC members from claims of unjust enrichment, as a recent case in …

News / 10.06.19 /

Firm News

Jacob Amir, a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Youth, Law and Citizenship, participated in the committee’s conference on October 3 and 4, 2019 on how school districts can better address student and faculty mental health and substance abuse issues.

Blog / 08.22.19 /

Subcontractors, Prevailing Wages and the Construction Fair Play Act

Jacob Amir contributed an article in Cornerstone, the semi-annual publication of the Associated General Contractors, New York State, a leading trade association representing contractors and related companies in the building and highway construction industry.

News / 06.13.19 /Thomas W. Smithand

Firm News

Tom Smith and Jacob Amir won summary judgment on behalf of a large marina owner in Westchester, obtaining dismissal of claims brought by a commercial tenant seeking money damages and the enforceability of a 99-year ground lease. After extensive discovery, our firm moved to dismiss the complaint because the commercial tenant’s claims, if accepted, would …

News / 06.01.19 /

Speaking Engagement

In the Spring 2019, Jacob Amir was invited to once again teach a seminar course in the Paralegal Studies program, hosted by Pace Law School, on civil procedure in the New York courts. Jacob has taught this course for the last several years, and has also lectured on corporations and essential legal skills in the program.

Blog / 11.28.18 /

Don’t rely strictly on a title report for disclosure of recorded zoning declarations affecting real property

A recent decision from the Suffolk County Supreme Court reiterated that zoning ordinances are not “defects” in title covered under policies of title insurance. Purchasers and developers are reminded to do their own due diligence, and go beyond the title report, to understand what existing and recorded zoning limitations might affect their prospective property interest.

Blog / 08.06.18 /

Defining “Substantial Completion” for Lien Law and Contract Purposes

Jacob Amir contributed an article in Cornerstone, the semi-annual publication of the Associated General Contractors, New York State, a leading trade association representing contractors and related companies in the building and highway construction industry. Jacob’s article addresses the importance of defining “substantial completion” for purposes of Lien Law and general contract claims brought on behalf of contractors.

Blog / 07.18.18 /

Expiration of tenant’s license issued under the New York Conservation Law permits owner to remove tenant for engaging in “illegal activity” under the Real Property Law

Lease agreements typically contain a provision whereby the agreement is deemed breached and the tenant may be evicted for engaging in “illegal activities.” Eviction based upon an illegal activity is also codified in New York Real Property Law § 231(1), which sets forth that a lease agreement becomes void where an occupant or lessee uses a premises for any “illegal trade, manufacture or other business”, thereupon permitting the owner to seek an eviction.

Blog / 05.16.18 /

Tenant deemed successful party in landlord’s “action to recover possession” seeking to reform lease to exclude tenant’s use of backyard of demised premises

Standard lease agreements include a provision that the successful party is entitled to recover attorneys’ fees and costs incurred on any action or proceeding brought for non-payment of rent or recovery of possession of the subject premises. Where the contract limits the attorneys’ fees provision for the benefit of the landlord (e.g., that landlord is entitled to recover), the law gives the tenant a reciprocal right to recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs if the tenant is successful in the action.

Blog / 04.19.18 /

Court Rules that Non-Participating Brokers Do Not Owe a Fiduciary Duty to a Brokerage Firm’s Client

It is well-established that real estate brokers owe a fiduciary duty of loyalty and to act in the best interest of their clients. Where the brokerage firm is comprised of several brokers, the client may naturally assume that both the listing broker, and the firm at large, will work in the best interest of the client’s needs and desires. A recent decision from the Westchester County Supreme Court warns clients against making this assumption.

Blog / 02.16.18 /

Attorney’s fees, an offer for liquidated damages and the “prevailing party” under a commercial lease dispute

Lease agreements may contain an attorneys’ fee provision whereby the “prevailing party” is entitled to recover attorney’s fees. When owner and tenant settle their disputes before trial, that provision is waived or factored into the terms of settlement. Additionally, the civil rules allow a defendant to offer a liquidated amount as damages in the event plaintiff prevails on liability (i.e., all plaintiff has to do is prove liability). If plaintiff rejects the offer and recovers an amount less than what defendant offered, the defendant is entitled to recover attorney’s fees for the damages portion of trial.