As first reported by Law360, billionaire real estate developer Larry Friedland filed a complaint alleging that Modine and his wife, Caridad Modine, are putting their neighbors’ safety at risk with plans to get rid of the emergency exit on their home.
The building, a residential property near Washington Park and New York University, lies just south of a commercial building owned by Friedland and his late brother’s estate. The complaint, which was filed in New York State court, alleges that removing the emergency exit would prevent occupants of the commercial property from leaving through a passageway running along an eastern part of the Modines’ property in the event of the emergency.
Friedland’s company, called 16 West 8th LLC, owns the easement rights that allow the occupants of the building to exit in that way. The construction project is, according to 16 West 8th LLC, “a threat to the life and safety of occupants of the 8th Street premises, and plaintiff’s ability to maintain its building,”
Modine’s construction plans, of which the company learned through New York City’s Department of Buildings, would allegedly “deny plaintiff and occupants of the 8th Street premises any access — emergency or otherwise.”
Friedland’ company has also asked the court to grant them a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, which would stop the Modines from getting rid of the exit before a ruling is reached. According to the company, they have asked the Modines to halt their plans but, after not being given construction plans or reaching an agreement, sued as a “last resort.”
Neither Modine nor 16 West 8th LLC immediately returned Inman’s request for comment.
“To be sure, absent such temporary and preliminary injunctive relief, the [passageway] will be destroyed during the pendency of the action, rendering moot any final judgement by this court,” 16 West 8th LLC said in a statement.
Known for his roles in both film and television, Modine, 60, also played Peter Foley in The Dark Knight Rises, Dr. Martin Brenner in Netflix’s Stranger Things and Sullivan Groff in Weeds.