Upper West Side Lawyers Strong-arm Smoking Neighbor Into Submission


Photo: Corbis

Jonathan and Jenny Selbin, the trial lawyers who sued their next-door neighbor in the Ansonia, saying that the cigarette smoke from her apartment was endangering their 4-year-old son, have emerged victorious, having bullied said neighbor into using a battery of air filters and smokeless ashtrays. “I am confident you will find a way to make us look like terrible people all over again for insisting on such an onerous thing,” Mr. Selbin said in an e-mail to the Times. But actually, the Times kind of wimped out on regurgitating the details that made the Selbins “look like” terrible people. But we won’t! After the jump, we’ve used old articles about the suit to catalogue their questionable actions.

• They introduced the lawsuit by slipping a note under the neighbor’s door that read: “As you may not be aware, we are both lawyers and both litigators, for whom the usual barriers to litigation are minimal.”
• In the complaint, they referred to the neighbor, Galila Huff, a quirky restaurant owner with a Chihuahua named Boo-Boo, as “evil.”
• They complained that Huff had Boo-Boo urinate on their son’s stroller in retaliation for their complaints.
• When ABC News pointed out that this was in fact New York City — “There are lots of chimneys, and exhaust fumes from cars, trucks, and buses. How pristine does the air have to be?” — Jonathan Selbin retorted, “Have you asked Ms. Huff how she would react if we put dog poison in the shared hallway?”
• They complained that the smoke in the hallway worsened when the weather was cold, because, they said, the neighbor must be shutting the windows then. How dare she.
• In at least two cases, Mr. Selbin ended e-mails by writing, “Period.”


Upper West Side Couple Settles Suit Over a Neighbor’s Smoke [NYT]