Two important New York City laws for small businesses struggling to survive the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic were recently upheld as constitutional by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. In November, the Honorable Ronnie Abrams dismissed the lawsuit challenging these laws, which provide New York City small business owners with certain protections against commercial tenant harassment and the enforcement of personal guaranties for defaults on the payment of rent occurring during the pandemic. In December 2020, the Southern District of New York’s judgment of dismissal was appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On March 25, 2021 Volunteers of Legal Service (“VOLS”), represented by Haug Partners attorney Jonathan Herstoff, as well as the VOLS Microenterprise Project’s Director Arthur Kats, filed an amicus brief urging the appellate court to affirm Judge Abrams’s dismissal. VOLS, a pro bono legal services provider delivering critical legal aid to New York City small businesses, emphasized the importance of both of these laws and the critical relief that they provide small businesses at a time of unprecedented need.
More information on VOLS, its amicus brief, and the laws challenged in this case is available here.
The full amicus brief is available here.