Legal Aid's Brooklyn Neighborhood Office Saves Client's Home And Wins Great Victory In Remaining Family Member Succession Case
MONDAY, MARCH 03, 2014

In Jones v. Rhea, Emily DiBiase, a Staff Attorney in The Legal Aid Society's Civil Practice Brooklyn Neighborhood Office, successfully represented her client in an Article 78 proceeding in which the Court vacated a default in a termination proceeding and remanded the case to the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to process a remaining family member grievance. The client, Tiffany Jones, was denied succession to her mother's apartment by NYCHA. She had been an authorized member of the household, occupying the apartment with NYCHA's knowledge and consent since the beginning of the tenancy in 2003 when she was 18 years old.

Justice Alice Schlesinger of the New York County Supreme Court held that Ms. Jones could assert her remaining family member rights despite her mother's default at a termination proceeding. "This case is another unfortunate example of how the hypertechnical application of rules by a housing agency can lead to a result that is contrary to the spirit of the law, illogical, and unjust," Justice Schlesinger wrote in the decision. "Ms. Jones made repeated efforts to assert her rights, but rather than assist her by explaining in a timely fashion the steps needed for technical compliance with the rules during the alleged narrow window of opportunity, NYCHA kept the family going in circles in various administrative and judicial proceedings relating to rent while declining to discuss the real issues relating to succession."