Early Motion to Dismiss May Fail When Not Supported by Client Affidavit

Often the wrong corporate entities are sued in personal injury lawsuits.  Those parties often immediately move to dismiss the complaint.  However, when attempting an early exit, an affidavit explaining the relationship or lack thereof between the correct and incorrect entity is crucial to success.  In Heintz v. Irgang, the plaintiff slipped and fell in a puddle of water in an apartment located at “Roddy’s Place,” a conditional shelter operated pursuant to a contract with the City’s Department of Homeless services.  148 Realty owned the building and leased it to Bronx Addiction Services Integrated Concept Systems, Inc. a/k/a “Basics, Inc.”  BASICS Housing Inc. had a contract with the City Department of Homeless Services to operate a transitional residence program for homeless families.  BASICS Housing Inc. moved to dismiss arguing that it owed no duty to the plaintiff because it was not the owner of the premises, nor did it lease the premises from the owner (rather BASICS Inc. leased the premises).  In opposition, the plaintiff and co-defendants argued that BASICS Inc. and BASICS Housing had the same corporate address.  In addition, the plaintiff’s 14 Days Housing Contract with Roddy’s Place, listed both BASICS Inc. and BASIC Housing Inc. on top.  Accordingly, without an affidavit from the corporate officers, there were questions of fact as to the relationship between BASICS Inc., BASICS Housing Inc. and their varying roles at the premises.  The court denied BASICS Housing Inc.’s motion as premature.