Author: Kevin Penton April 16, 2021
A former New York judge claimed in a $5 million putative class action that a network of movers unlawfully sought a “ransom” for his family’s belongings before destroying some of the goods and leaving the items inside a “dirty trailer” in Bayonne, New Jersey.
Jeffrey Spinner and two others who contracted with entities purportedly associated with New Era Relocation LLC alleged in an amended complaint filed Tuesday in the Eastern District of New York that the movers either damaged their goods or sought more money than agreed upon to release their belongings.
Spinner, who previously served as a justice on Suffolk County Supreme Court, claims the movers took possession of the belongings in North Carolina in August. When he sought in December to pay the $9,300 he owed and arrange for the belongings to be delivered to a home in New York, the movers instead sought $15,582, threatening to otherwise put the belongings up for auction, according to the amended complaint.
Spinner in December and January secured court orders that allowed him to access the belongings, but he wasn’t happy with what he found.
“[Spinner] found his goods moldy, damaged and destroyed in a dirty trailer on the side of the road at Route 440 South [in] Bayonne, New Jersey,” the amended complaint said.
Moving Solutions LLC, one of the defendants in the case, told the court in a letter in December that it is not New Era’s subsidiary nor does it control that company, which Moving Solutions asserts “acted independently in its capacity as a motor carrier” to transport the goods. Nevertheless, Moving Solutions contacted New Era at the time and figured out where the goods were being kept, according to the letter.
Moving Solutions — which does business as Gold Standard — told the court in its January answer to the original complaint in the case that because it did not transport nor control the move, it is not liable for any alleged damages.
“Defendant acted as a licensed interstate broker of property that was transported by co-defendant New Era Relocation LLC and, as such, Gold Standard has no liability or duty to plaintiff,” the company said in its answer.
Bill Pompliano and Samantha Schwartz, the other two named plaintiffs in the case, also contend that the movers damaged their goods. Like Spinner, Pompliano also alleges that the movers sought more money than he owed in exchange for releasing his belongings.
The three named plaintiffs seek to represent a putative class of individuals who between December 2017 and December 2020 entered into contracts with Gold Standard while believing that it was the moving company, and who were later told by the company that it would not be liable for property damage because it was only a broker, according to Tuesday’s filing.
“This class action will enforce federal laws existing to protect consumers from movers that take them for a ride, holding their treasured goods hostage for cash ransoms,” Susan Chana Lask, an attorney representing the putative class, said in a statement Thursday.
Representatives for the other parties could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The putative class is represented by Susan Chana Lask.
New Era Relocation LLC and Mede Karimov are represented by James P. Krauzlis of Casey & Barnett LLC.
Moving Solutions LLC is represented by Barry N. Gutterman.
Counsel information for the other parties was not immediately available Thursday.
The case is Spinner et al. v. New Era Relocation LLC et al., case number 2:20-cv-06288, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Editing by Alyssa Miller. April 16, 2021