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Justice Wayne Saitta lectures Bay Ridge Lawyers Association at latest CLE

October 27, 2016 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Bay Ridge Lawyers Association hosted Justice Wayne Saitta for a Continuing Legal Education session on Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (RPAPL) section 881. Pictured from left: Dominic Famulari, Hon. Wayne P. Saitta and President Stephen A. Spinelli. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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The Bay Ridge Lawyers Association (BRLA) hosted a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) meeting with Justice Wayne P. Saitta as the guest speaker at the Pearl Room on Third Avenue on Wednesday.

Dominic Famulari, a co-chair of the program committee, introduced Saitta, noting that the judge attended Georgetown as an undergrad, got his law degree from NYU School of Law and master’s degrees at NYU and Columbia. Famulari also told a story to explain Saitta’s character.

“A couple of clients had come to me with a matter, and in reviewing their deed, I saw the judge’s name on the return,” Famulari said. “I asked them if their attorney was Mr. Saitta. They said yes, and said they had heard that he had become a judge. Then they got very emotional and said that they would have never have been able to buy their house had he not helped to represent them in a nice fashion.”

Saitta’s speech, titled “RPAPL 881 — Upon Such Terms as Justice Requires,” focused on Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (RPAPL) section 881, which allows developers to obtain a license to temporarily access an adjoining neighbor’s property to make improvements or repairs.

“One day, you’ll have a client walk into your office having been served with a petition forcing them to grant access to his property in order for their neighbor to do construction,” Saitta said. “Petition is brought pursuant to a very singular provision in the state law — RPAPL 881. We may not often see such a situation; it is important that you understand your client’s rights and what issues you should consider in order to protect them.”

The judge went through the situations in which RPAPL 881 authorizes a court to grant access, and explained how it is only applicable when improvements or repairs need to be made. Property access is only granted when those repairs cannot be made without entering the adjoining property and the property owner has refused permission. He added that the court will grant a license for access only “upon such terms as justice requires,” and that the developer is liable for any actual damages resulting from their entry.

Saitta discussed relevant cases and gave practical tips to help attorneys advise their clients in these situations.

“It’s important while you are negotiating a license that you insist on getting full copies of all the plans filed with the department of buildings, because you want to have a real understanding of what the work is that’s being done and how it’s going to affect your client,” Saitta warned.

The BRLA will host one more CLE meeting this year. Justice Jeffrey S. Sunshine will give a matrimonial law update on Nov. 30. The group’s holiday party will be held at Encore Restaurant in Bay Ridge on Dec. 15.

Plans are still being made for the BRLA’s winter seminar, which will take place at the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City on Jan. 19. Guests for that event will include Hon. Lawrence Knipel, Hon. John G. Ingram, Hon. Barbara I. Panepinto and Hon. Matthew Sciarrino.


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