The State moves for an order pursuant to EDPL § 505 (B) directing the
interpleader of Matthew Sasso, Peter Maroccia, Ronald Tschaar and T.S.M.
Associates in this appropriation matter. By map filed in the Rockland County
Clerk's Office on August 29, 1996 the State acquired Tax Map Parcel 163-D-2.01.
According to the affirmation of Gary von Bieberstein, a Principal Attorney in
the Real Property Bureau of the Attorney General's Office, attached to the
State's motion the record owner of Tax Parcel 163-D-2.01 according to assessment
information is Charles Littwin (Affirmation Paragraph 2). Mr. von Bieberstein
"My further review of the title to Tax Parcel 163-D-2.01 revealed that a RPAPL
Article 15 action affecting the subject property had been filed. On May 27,
1993, Matthew Sasso, Peter Maroccia and Ronald Tschaar commenced an action to
determine a claim to real property against Charles Littwin by filing a summons
and complaint in the Rockland County Supreme Court, Index No. 92-3208. The
complaint states that the plaintiffs were lessees, and later owners, of the
adjacent parcel, Tax Parcel 163-D-2 and that they had been in possession of Tax
Parcel 163-D-2.01 since September 1976. The complaint alleges various acts of
ownership and possession and that during this period of possession neither
Littwin nor his predecessors possessed the premises under any claim of title. A
copy of the complaint is attached hereto as Exhibit D. A review of the relevant
court records completed in July 2001 be the law department's title searchers
indicated that the Article 15 action has not been discontinued or
My examination of title for Tax Parcel 163-D-2.01 also disclosed that Matthew
Sasso, Pater Maroccia and Ronald Tschaar conveyed their interest in the adjacent
premises, "together with the appurtenances and all the estate and rights of the
party of the first part in and to said premises:" to T.S.M. Associates by deed
dated November 17, 1994 and recorded on December 16, 1994 in Liber 729 Land
Records page 3618, raising the possibility that an interest in Tax Parcel
163-D-2.01, as asserted in the above referenced action, was created in T.S.M.
Associates. A copy of said deed is attached hereto as Exhibit E." (Affirmation
Paragraphs 3 and 4)
Due to the fact that Sasso, Maroccia and Tschaar have asserted an ownership
interest in the subject parcel and by reason of the possible conveyance of that
interest to T.S.M. Associates, Mr. von Bieberstein requested that claimant
obtain releases from Sasso, Maroccia, Tschaar and T.S.M. Associates of any
interest they may have in the property and claimant has not been able to obtain
such releases (von Bieberstein Affirmation Paragraph 5).
The State asserts that because of the competing claim of ownership it has been
unable to authorize payment for the appropriation even though a tentative
settlement with claimant exists. The State requests interpleader of Sasso,
Maroccia, Tschaar and T.S.M. Associates so that the Court can determine the
rightful owner of the subject parcel.
The State served the motion papers upon claimant and claimant has not submitted
any opposition papers.
Both the Court of Claims Act and the EDPL provide that if there are any
apparent liens or encumbrances on the appropriated property or there is
uncertainty as to how the appropriation award shall be apportioned, the Court,
upon motion, shall interplead anyone claiming or imputed to have such a claim or
interest (see EDPL § 505 (b); Court of Claims Act § 22 (1); Owasco
River Railway, Inc. v State of New York, 181 AD2d 665).
We conclude that the State has established that there is uncertainty as to
ownership of the subject parcel requiring interpleader of Sasso, Maroccia,
Tschaar and T.S.M. Associates. The State's motion is, therefore, granted. The
State is directed to serve this order of interpleader upon Sasso, Maroccia,
Tschaar and T.S.M. Associates by certified mail, return receipt requested and
regular mail (see EDPL § 505 [B]). Pursuant to EDPL § 505 (B), the
above-named parties shall, within 120 days from the date of service, file a
claim independently of this claim. If the interpleaded parties fail to file
such independent claim, they may not thereafter file such independent claim
(EDPL § 505 [B]).
The following papers were read on defendant's motion for interpleader pursuant
to EDPL § 505 (B):
Notice of Motion, Affirmation of
Donald E. Shehigian, Affirmation of