Class Calls LexisNexis Publication Totally Useless

MANHATTAN (CN) – Hitting a LexisNexis subsidiary with a class action, a law firm says Matthew Bender & Co.’s self-proclaimed authority on landlord-tenant law in New York is anything but.

More commonly known as the Tanbook, the New York Landlord-Tenant Law is one of several legal publications that make up Matthew Bender & Co.’s annual “Color Books” series.

Hoping to represent a class, the law firm Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben, Donoghue & Joseph brought a Feb. 23 complaint against the publisher in Manhattan Supreme Court.

“Rather than an authoritative source of state statutes, laws and regulations, the Tanbook, which is represented by the defendant as complete and unedited, is instead, at least as pertains to those involving rent regulated housing in New York rife with omissions and inaccuracies, rendering it of no value to the attorneys, lay people, or judges who use it,” the 25-page complaint states.

Himmelstein McConnell says it has bought multiple copies of the Tanbook every year since at least 2010 to keep its attorneys up to speed on real estate law. At least 100,000 Tanbooks were sold during that period, according to the complaint.

The class says its attorneys at Fishman Rozen conducted an investigation that found 37 omissions and eight inaccuracies in the 2016 Tanbook regarding provisions of state and local statutes and regulations concerning rent regulation in New York.

One omission included the entire subsections providing for the mandated formula for calculating rents when a rent-stabilized tenant – who qualifies for exemptions as either a senior citizen or disabled person – receives a rent reduction order from the state Department of Housing and Community Renewal.

Other omissions included subsections limiting landlord from taking a vacancy-rent increase to no more than one time in any one calendar year.

The class seeks restitution and an injunction, alleging deceptive business practices, breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Himmelstein, McConnell wants to represent a class of all Tanbook purchasers since February 2011.

“By offering a complete and authoritative compilation of such laws and regulations and then failing to provide such a product to the plaintiff and members of the class, the defendant breached its contract with such persons and entities,” the complaint states.

Other books in the series include New York Commercial Law (Goldbook) and New York Real Property Law (Bluebook).

LexisNexis, a division of RELX Group, serves customers in more than 175 countries with more than 10,000 employees worldwide. Customers can by print and digital versions of the Tanbook at the LexisNexis online store for $120.

Neither Matthew Bender & Co. nor LexisNexis have returned requests for comment.