Co-op Board Members Not Held Liable When Approving Renovation Plans

Individual cooperative board members scored a major victory recently in the case of Weinreb v. 37 Apartments Corp., et al, an appellate court decision that relieved them of certain responsibilities when it comes to shareholders' proposed alterations.

A Little Background

The case of Weinreb vs. 37 Apartments Corp. commenced when a shareholder sued not just the apartment corporation for breach of the proprietary lease, but the members of the cooperative’s board individually for breach of fiduciary duty.

In brief, the events leading up to the court's decision were put in motion in September of 2005 when Robert and Champa Weinreb purchased the penthouse apartment in the residential cooperative at 37 Riverside Drive in Manhattan. The Weinrebs claimed that although the co-op board was aware that the unit required major renovations to make it habitable—and had assured them that their renovation plans would be given prompt consideration—the board unreasonably delayed approval of the plans multiple times.

The plaintiffs subsequently hired an architect, structural engineer and a mechanical engineer, received Landmarks Preservation Commission approval and the okay from Community Board 7.


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