On October 26, 2022, the Appellate Division, Second Department issued a decision in Jaffe v. French-American School of New York, Inc. (Index No. 51577/2018), affirming Zarin & Steinmetz’s argument on behalf of the French-American School of New York (“FASNY”) that a nearly one-hundred year old restrictive covenant purporting to prohibit “institutions” did not prohibit the operation of a school on the property.
The Appellate Division agreed with the Z&S, and held that New York law “favors the free and unobstructed use of real property,” such that “where the language used in a restrictive covenant is equally capable of two interpretations, the interpretation which limits the restriction must be adopted.” The Court further recognized that the purportedly restrictive language was equally capable of an interpretation that allows school uses, such that it affirmed the Supreme Court’s interpretation that limited the restriction.
Michael Zarin, Daniel Richmond, and Kate Feinman drafted the appellate briefs that were instrumental in obtaining this result for FASNY.
A copy of the decision can be downloaded here.