NYC Human Rights Law Housing Discrimination Claim Survives Dismissal

In Royston Jeffrey, et al. v. Stephanie Collins, No. 2021-01158, 2021-03170, 527241/19, 2023 WL 4340250 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept., July 05, 2023), the court reversed the lower court’s order granting defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s claim of unlawful discrimination in housing accommodations.

The following are the facts, as summarized by the court:

In December 2019, the plaintiffs offered to purchase certain residential real property from the defendant for the sum $925,000, with a 10% down payment and no mortgage contingency. A proposed contract of sale was drafted by the defendant’s attorney and forwarded to the plaintiffs’ attorney on December 2, 2019. With certain modifications to the contract made by their attorney, the plaintiffs signed it and returned it to the defendant’s attorney on December 3, 2019, along with a check for the down payment. By letter dated December 10, 2019, the defendant’s attorney returned the down payment check to the plaintiffs’ attorney. The defendant’s attorney stated in the letter that “[u]nfortunately, my client is not interested in selling to your client,” with no further explanation.

The court held that dismissal under CPLR 3211(a)(1) was not warranted, since “neither the affidavits submitted in support of the defendant’s motion nor the purported contract between the defendant and another purchaser constituted documentary evidence” and defendant’s “evidentiary submissions were insufficient to utterly refute the plaintiff’s factual allegations.”

It also held that “accepting the facts as alleged in the complaint as true, and according the plaintiffs the benefit of every possible favorable inference, the complaint sufficiently stated a cause of action alleging unlawful discrimination pursuant to Administrative Code § 8–107(5).”

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