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Frank W. Streng, White Plains Estate Litigation Lawyer

Surrogate's Court Litigation - Charitable Gift Annuities - Defense Against an Executor's Claim to Decedent's Gift

Matter of Tedesco (Surr. Ct., Westchester 2016) (File No. 2012-7811D)

Our Surrogate's Court Litigation lawyers sometime represent beneficiaries seeking to carry out a decedent’s intention as to gifts made to the client during the decedent’s lifetime. Here, Frank W. Streng successfully represented a client who was a successor beneficiary of a charitable gift annuity established by the decedent with Fordham University, against a claim brought against her by the executor of the decedent's estate. The issue in the case was that the decedent, while fully competent at the time that he met with Fordham representatives and in the transfer of assets to fund the annuity, was hospitalized shortly thereafter and died in the hospital. The estate argued that the gift should be set aside because the decedent did not personally sign an annuity agreement sent to him by Fordham during his hospitalization. The Surrogate’s Court agreed with Frank and Fordham’s counsel, who sought and obtained summary judgment to dismiss the estate’s efforts to set aside the charitable gift. They argued, and the Court agreed, that the agreement to establish the gift annuity was fully enforceable well before the decedent was presented with the formal written agreement.

Stephen Davis, White Plains & NY Tax Certiorari & Condemnation Lawyer

Tax Certiorari & Condemnation - Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR) – Reduced Assessment on Highly-Valued Property


Berkson & Walisever v. Assessor of Town of Scarsdale, Westchester (SCAR Index# 3385/14)

Our Tax Certiorari & Condemnation lawyers understand that, in Westchester, highly-valued properties sometimes brings on excessive tax assessment. Here, Stephen Davis, on behalf of the owners of one of the highest valued one-family residences in Scarsdale, tried the Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR) proceeding contesting the Assessor’s assertion of a $9,679,700 value. SCAR limits assessment reduction to 25% of the contested assessed value. Steve achieved the maximum permitted reduction, obtaining after trial a revised assessment of $7,259,775. The Court Hearing Officer rejecting the Town’s assertion of greatly added value attributed to the basketball half-court located in the basement. He did so, perhaps on the basis of Steve’s observation at trial of the court’s suitability for no more than free-throws and lay-ups.

Dolores Gebhardt, White Plains Divorce Lawyer

Matrimonial & Family LawChild Custody – Release to Counsel of Forensic Evaluator’s Notes & Raw Data

KC v. JC, 50 Misc. 3d 892, 25 N.Y.S.3d 798 (Sup. Ct., Westchester 2015)

Our Matrimonial & Family Law lawyers represent clients in contested child custody cases. In those cases, the parents’ mental health is relevant, and the court often appoints a mental health professional to perform a forensic evaluation of the parties and the children to assist the court in determining custody. The neutral forensic evaluator’s report is usually released to counsel, but, for years, courts refused to release the forensic evaluator’s underlying notes, test results and raw data unless the requesting party could show “special circumstances,” such as bias on the part of the forensic evaluator. On behalf of the plaintiff wife, Dolores Gebhardt successfully moved for the release of a forensic evaluator’s entire file without proof of “special circumstances,” arguing that the “special circumstances” test should be abandoned because it prevents the court and counsel from obtaining unquestionably relevant and material information. Dolores persuaded the court to adopt a rebuttable presumption standard in favor of disclosure of a neutral forensic evaluator’s entire file in every case. This groundbreaking decision is the first Westchester County case, and the second in New York State, to so hold.

Phillip C. Landrigan, White Plains Litigation Lawyer

Business Litigation - Intellectual Property - Patent Infringement

Yellow Cab, etc. v. Schwartz, et al, United States District Court, Southern District of New York, 1:13-cv-07575 (JSR/GWG).

in addition to a monetary settlement payable to our clients, after intense litigation and expedited discovery before Judge Jed S. Rakoff, Phil Landrigan and Peter Aufrichtig were able to obtain permanent injunctions against defendants’ infringement of the clients’ patent. The patent, previously prosecuted to issuance in the PTO by Peter, was for an in-vehicle vending machine. One party that was  introduced to the product by the client was also permanently enjoined from any activities related to in vehicle vending machines.

Dina M. Aversano, White Plains Litigation Lawyer

Surrogate’s Court Litigation – Property Turnover Proceeding - Actions for Recovery Against an Estate Fiduciary

Reverse Turnover Proceeding Against Estate Fiduciary in Wrongful Possession of a Beneficiary’s Assets

Our Surrogate’s Court Litigation lawyers sometimes represent clients who seek to recover property from an estate fiduciary property that has been wrongfully withheld from the client by such fiduciary. In one such case, Dina M. Aversano represented a client, who was the surviving joint tenant on a bank account and the sole residuary beneficiary of the estate, petitioning the Surrogate’s Court under Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act § 2105 for relief against the estate fiduciary, in what has been considered a “reverse” Property Turnover Proceeding. Dina later on favorably settled the proceeding in the best interests of the client, thereby avoiding protracted litigation.