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Federal Judge Blocks Building Owner From Shutting Off Elevator at 173 Henry St.

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Council member Margaret Chin attended yesterday's rally. Photo via Manhattan Legal Services.
Council member Margaret Chin attended yesterday’s rally. Photo via Manhattan Legal Services.

A federal judge yesterday handed a victory to a terminally ill tenant battling his Lower East Side landlord. City Council member Margaret Chin, Asian Americans for Equality, Manhattan Legal Services and other community activists gathered for a rally across from the courthouse in Lower Manhattan before the hearing began.

The lawsuit was filed last month on behalf of 64-year-old Chee Sum Ng, a rent stabilized tenant living on the 7th floor of 173 Henry St. His landlord, King Henry Realty, has been threatening to shut down elevator service for renovations. Ng is terminally ill and needs to leave his apartment for dialysis treatments several days each week.

In U.S. District Court, Judge Paul Engelmeyer ordered a preliminary injunction, preventing the building owner from disabling the elevator until accommodations are made for Mr. Ng. In his order, the judge said the plaintiff had proven “irreparable harm.” The judge wrote that Mr. Eng would be at “grave risk of serious injury or death” if the elevator is taken out of commission. He ordered both parties back in court April 18 for settlement discussions.

Community activists are demanding several additional steps from the property owner. They want gas and water service restored, efforts to eliminate a rodent infestation, the elimination of after hours work and accommodations for other elderly/disabled residents.

Stand for Tenant Safety, a coalition of community groups, participated in yesterday’s rally. We have contacted the building owner and will let you know if he responds.

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