As many property owners may know, zoning restrictions can have a significant impact on how a property can be used and improved. A zoning board of appeals (“ZBA”) is an independent board whose decisions impact a landowner’s property rights and can frequently affect the value of the property. Municipalities have authority to charge fees for the ZBA’s functions. However, there are limits on such fees of which landowners should be aware.
When your employees’ statements can be held against you in court
Business owners may not realize that statements by their employees could be used as evidence against the business in litigation. An adversary seeking to introduce evidence of an employees’ statements does not even have to subpoena the employee to testify in court. Instead, the employees’ statements may be admissible hearsay under the rules of evidence. Although this is currently only allowed in limited circumstances, New York State is considering making the rule broader, which could have a significant impact on businesses.
Suing the Government Just Got a Little Bit Easier
In New York, before you can begin suing the government for personal injury or property damage, you must file a Notice of Claim within 90 days after the claim arises. Miss the deadline and your claim is usually barred. However, courts do have limited discretion to allow service of a late notice in certain circumstances. Now thanks to a recent court case, it’s a little easier for plaintiffs to bring a lawsuit even if they missed the deadline.
Beware of Zoning Changes: Protecting Your Non-conforming Use
Local zoning codes established by a town, village, or city control and establish what you can do with your property, as well as the size and boundaries of structures. Those codes can change over time, resulting in potential problems for property owners. This is increasingly an issue for many owners as localities look to prohibit certain uses of property because of growing concerns of conservation, exposure risks, etc. However, owners are often protected from a change that makes a pre-existing use illegal because they are considered to have a “prior non-conforming use.”
Filling in the Gaps in an Adversary’s Email Production
It is not exactly news that the majority of business communications today are handled electronically by email. However, in the context of litigation, this can add new complications and twists to an age-old problem: How to obtain evidence from an opposing party who is motivated to avoid producing communications and willing to disregard their obligations under the relevant rules.