Michael E. Fleiss
Real Estate, Litigation
B.A. | Columbia College (1987)
J.D. | Columbia Law School (1988)
Michael E. Fleiss, a partner of the firm, is an experienced litigator whose practice focuses principally on real estate-related cases, with a concentration on condominium and cooperative matters.
He has handled a large number and wide variety of construction defect cases involving virtually every aspect of building construction and design and virtually every building system. He also provides general legal counsel to the boards and managing agents of the firm’s condominium and cooperative clients.
Mr. Fleiss has also represented cooperative and condominium boards, shareholders, and unit owners in disputes with sponsors, banks, architects and engineers, contractors, other cooperative and condominium boards and shareholders and unit owners, and adjacent landowners. He has handled litigation matters involving, among other things, lien and mortgage foreclosures, ownership disputes, breach of contract, fraud, trespass, nuisance, breach of a sponsor’s implied obligation to sell its unsold apartments, ground and apartment leases, commercial leases code and regulatory compliance, cooperative and condominium conversions, fraudulent conveyances, and building management.
Mr. Fleiss represented the class of tenants of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in commencing litigation to challenge their landlord’s right to deregulate rent stabilized apartments while receiving New York City J-51 tax abatements in Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Properties, LP.,in which New York’s highest court ultimately issued a landmark decision holding such apartment deregulation to be illegal. Mr. Fleiss also represented the rental tenants of Ruppert and Yorkville Towers in opposing the efforts of the developer of that complex to withdraw from New York’s Mitchell-Lama low-and moderate-income housing program, and successfully negotiated a landmark settlement that allowed tenants to purchase their apartments at substantial discounts or alternatively to remain as renters with varying levels of limitations on rent increases and rent subsidies from New York City and the landlord, depending on each tenant’s income.
Mr. Fleiss’ practice also includes commercial litigation.
His reported cases include Board of Managers of Barrow Street Condominium v. Royal Blue Realty, 264A.D.2d 636, 695 N.Y.S.2d 347 (1st Dep’t 1999), involving a condominium’s effort to prevent a commercial unit owner from subdividing the commercial unit into residential units; Levin v. 40 Fifth Avenue Corp., 24 A.D.3d 244, 806 N.Y.S.2d 491 (1st Dep’t 2005), affirming a judgement after trial in favor of a cooperative corporation requiring a shareholder to remove unauthorized alteration work in his apartment; William Stevens, Inc. v. Kings Village Corp., 234 A.D.2d 287, 650 N.Y.S.2d 307 (2d Dep’t 1996), granting summary judgement to a cooperative corporation dismissing its managing agent’s claim for wrongful termination, where the agent had acted contrary to the directions of the cooperative board; SRN Corp. v. Glass, 244 A.D.2d 545, 664 N.Y.S.2d 357 (2d Dep’t 1997), reversing the lower court’s dismissal of a complaint alleging breach of contract for failure to certify eligibility under the New York State Medical Assistance (Medicaid) program; Kaplan v. Levin, A.D.2d 528, 714 N.Y.S.2d 694 (2d Dep’t 2000), affirming summary judgement dismissal of claims for alleged inter vivos gifts; B&L Auto Group, Inc. v. Zelig, 188 Misc.2d 851, 730 N.Y.S.2d 400 (Civ. Ct. N.Y. Co. 2001), dismissing an automobile dealer’s claim to recover a down payment from a purchaser and voiding the sales contract, where the dealership’s license had lapsed prior to the sale; and Eastern Systems, Inc. v. West 45th Street Industrial Condominiums, Inc., 1991 WL 90733 (S.D.N.Y.), an effort by a bankrupt tenant to exercise purchase options it held on certain industrial space.
Mr. Fleiss graduated from Columbia College, summa cum laude, in 1987, and from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, in 1988. He is admitted to practice law in New York and before the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Mr. Fleiss is a member of the New York City Bar Association and the American Bar Association.