Rudolph Friedmann Wins Boston Zoning Board of Appeals Case for Developer

Rudolph Friedmann attorneys Jonathon Friedmann and Eric Walz recently concluded a five-day jury waived trial in Suffolk Superior Court. The Judge issued a 27-page decision in our client’s favor.

The plaintiffs sued our client claiming that the six-unit, four-story building it built pursuant to a building permit that had issued as a matter of right was issued improperly due to complicity of city officials, and the firm’s client should be required to tear the building down. The plaintiffs claimed that the building’s height should be measured pursuant to Article 58 section 29 rather than Article 2A, thereby generating a height violation. They also claimed, among other claims, that the building: obstructed their air and sunlight; obstructed their views of the harbor; violated the GPOD regulations; violated the IPOD regulations; caused physical damage to their neighboring properties; was improperly oriented to the street and failed to have sufficient parking.

After listening to five days of trial and hearing from the plaintiffs’ architect and appraiser as well as our architect and engineer, the Judge ruled in favor of our client, completely vindicating our client. In fact, the judge determined that, notwithstanding that the plaintiffs were the abutting neighbors and enjoyed a presumption of standing to bring the lawsuit, we rebutted the presumption and the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the lawsuit.

In the U.S. court system, each side is normally required to pay their own legal fees; this is referred to as the “American Rule.” There are limited exceptions to the American Rule, however, and Jon and Eric are now in the process of bringing a claim on behalf of our client, which would be a case of first impression, to determine if an exception to the American Rule can be made so our client can get reimbursed for its costs, legal fees and damages. This would include the developer’s damages that were incurred as a result of the delay caused by the litigation, including any negative impact to selling and marketing the six condominium units it built, but could not sell for a number of years due to the litigation. We will keep you updated.


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