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Case 2:16-cv-03754-ADS-AYS Document 2 Filed 07/06/16 Page 1 of 10 PageID #: 2

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

SETH FORTGANG AND RIVKA


FORTGANG,

CIVIL ACTION NO. 16-CV-3754


COMPLAINT

Plaintiffs,
ECF CASE
v.

PEREIRAS ARCHITECTS UBIQUITOUS


LLC, FRIEDMAN GROUP LLC,
DANIELLA SCHWARTZ AND ARI
SCHWARTZ,

Defendants.

Plaintiffs, Seth Fortgang and Rivka Fortgang (collectively Plaintiffs) by and through
their undersigned attorneys, STERN & SCHURIN LLP, hereby pray to this honorable Court for
relief based on the following:
NATURE OF ACTION
1.

This is an action for copyright infringement under 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq.

Through this action, Plaintiffs seek an injunction and monetary damages from Defendants,
Pereiras Architects Ubiquitous LLC, Friedman Group LLC, Daniella Schwartz and Ari Schwartz
(collectively Defendants) for the willful and deliberate copying, reproduction and distribution
of Plaintiffs architectural drawings, and for the unlawful preparation of derivative works,
including the design and construction of a residence located in Cedarhurst, NY.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
2.

This Complaint alleges a cause of action for copyright infringement under the

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Copyright Laws of the United States, 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq.


3.

The Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1331 and 1338.

4.

Plaintiffs reside at 14 Auerbach Lane, Lawrence, NY 11559, which is located in

the State of New York and in this judicial district. The residence in which Plaintiffs live was
designed and built pursuant to the unique architectural plans commissioned and owned by
Plaintiffs that are the subject of this lawsuit.
5.

Defendant Pereiras Architects Ubiquitous LLC (hereinafter PAU) is a New

Jersey limited liability company with an office located at 499 Chestnut Street, Suite D,
Cedarhurst, NY 11516.
6.

PAU is the architectural firm responsible for the copying, reproduction,

distribution of architectural plans, and preparation of derivative works comprising architectural


plans, which infringe upon Plaintiffs copyright rights asserted herein.
7.

The Court has personal jurisdiction over PAU because it conducts business in the

State of New York and in this judicial district.


8.

The Court also has personal jurisdiction over PAU because it engaged in the acts

and copyright infringement complained of herein in the State of New York and in this judicial
district.
9.

Defendant Friedman Group LLC (hereinafter Friedman Group) is a New York

limited liability company with an office located at 1133 Broadway, Suite 100, Hewlett, NY
11557.
10.

Friedman Group is the owner of a property located at Section 39 Block 423 Lot

40 in the County of Nassau having a street address of 266 Villa Place, Cedarhurst, NY 11516
(a/k/a 391 Oak Avenue, Cedarhurst, NY 11516) where it is building an infringing residence

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pursuant to PAUs architectural plans at the direction of Defendants Daniella Schwartz and Ari
Schwartz (hereinafter the Schwartzes).
11.

The Schwartzes maintain an office and do business in the State of New York and

in this judicial district at the address of 777 Sunrise Highway, Suite 202, Lynbrook, NY 11563.
12.

Friedman Group and the Defendant Daniella Schwartz entered into a

Memorandum of Agreement regarding the sale and purchase of the property at 266 Villa Place,
Cedarhurst, NY 11516 and are also responsible for the copyright infringement complained of
herein.
13.

Venue is proper in this judicial district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1400.


RELEVANT FACTS

14.

Plaintiff Rivka Fortgang is an established and well-regarded interior and exterior

designer primarily serving the Five Towns community.


15.

The Five Towns is an informal grouping of small adjacent villages and hamlets

located in the southwest corner of Nassau County. The Five Towns typically refers to the
incorporated villages of Lawrence and Cedarhurst as well as the hamlets of Woodmere, Inwood,
and Hewlett.
16.

Through many months of planning and design with their architectural firm,

Plaintiffs architectural firm, DJ Associates Architect, PC (DJ Associates), created original


plans and thereafter Plaintiffs constructed their dream home from the ground up, creating a
visually distinctive and unique exterior stucco faade.
17.

Plaintiffs are the owners, by assignment, of the proprietary rights in the original

architectural drawings and work titled Fortgang Residence I. Forgang Residence I covers the

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architectural plans and design for the Plaintiffs custom-built home which was constructed in the
Five Towns in 2005 (hereinafter the Fortgang Residence).
18.

Fortgang Residence I, which includes architectural drawings and a photograph of

the Fortgang Residence, were submitted to the Copyright Office, and are registered with the
Copyright Office under Registration Number VA 2-006-920 (the 920 Registration). A copy
of the 920 Registration is attached hereto as Exhibit A.
19.

A photograph of the Fortgang Residence as it currently stands is presented below:


THE FORTGANG RESIDENCE

20.

Defendants are collectively involved in the design and construction of a single

family residence that infringes Plaintiffs copyright rights in Fortgang Residence I (hereinafter
the Villa Residence).

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21.

The architectural drawings for the Villa Residence were generated by PAU and

the Schwartzes through the intentional copying and misappropriation of protectable elements of
the work that was registered by the Copyright Office as Fortgang Residence I.
22.

Defendants copied Plaintiffs architectural drawings. This is evidenced by the

fact that during August 2015, a copy of Plaintiffs architectural plans for the Fortgang Residence
was requested and retrieved on behalf of the Schwartzes and/or PAU from the Village of
Lawrence Building Department.
23.

Upon information and belief, these plans were requested and retrieved by

Defendant Daniella Schwartz father.


24.

Since obtaining a copy of Plaintiffs plans in August 2015, the Schwartzes and/or

PAU have accessed Plaintiffs architectural plans in the Village of Lawrence Building
Department on other occasions as well.
25.

Defendants have thus accessed the architectural works registered as Fortgang

Residence I several times beginning at least as early as August 2015.


26.

Prior to accessing Plaintiffs plans that were filed in the Village of Lawrence

Building Department, none of the Defendants asked for or obtained Plaintiffs, or their
architectural firms, permission to use or copy these architectural drawings.
27.

Since obtaining Plaintiffs architectural plans from which they could copy the

work of Fortgang Residence I, the Schwartzes, in conjunction with PAU, designed a residence
and prepared their own architectural plans for the Villa Residence that copy the distinctive
elements and design of Fortgang Residence I.
28.

None of the Defendants were ever licensed or authorized to copy, reproduce,

distribute and/or create derivative works of Fortgang Residence I. Yet, a side-by-side

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comparison of the Fortgang Residence and a graphic rendition of the Villa Residence provided
by counsel for Defendants, which is presented below, demonstrate that the Villa Residence and
the plans therefor are substantially similar to the registered work, Fortgang Residence I:
THE FORTGANG RESIDENCE

29.

RENDERING OF THE
VILLA RESIDENCE

Now, Friedman Group is in the process of building the Villa Residence pursuant

to the infringing architectural plans generated by PAU.


30.

The Villa Residence is still in the early stages of construction and its faade is not

yet complete.
31.

Upon information and belief, Friedman Group intends to construct the Villa

Residence in accordance with the graphic rendition presented above and the architectural plans
generated by PAU, which is an infringement of Plaintiffs copyright rights.
32.

Defendants were put on notice of Plaintiffs copyright rights on or about June 7,

2016. Plaintiffs notice letter is attached hereto as Exhibit B.


33.

Upon receiving notice, counsel for Defendants replied via letter, stating, our

clients have agreed to temporarily postpone construction of the present design of the so-called
Villa residence pending certain changes and amendments to its exterior faade elements. We

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trust that this representation satisfied your clients apparent concerns. We view your June 7
letter to be moot and this matter closed. A copy of this letter is attached hereto as Exhibit C.
34.

Thereafter, on June 27, 2016, counsel for Defendants provided color renderings of

the Villa Residence which demonstrate Defendants intent to continue with their infringing
behavior, notwithstanding receiving notice of Plaintiffs rights in Fortgang Residence I.
COUNT I
(Copyright Infringement)
35.

Plaintiffs repeat and reallege the preceding paragraphs as if fully set forth herein.

36.

Defendants have had access to the architectural drawings embodied in Fortgang

Residence I since at least as early as August 2015 by obtaining a copy of the architectural plans
from the Village of Lawrence Building Department.
37.

Defendants have infringed and continue to infringe Plaintiffs copyright rights by

preparing derivative works of Plaintiffs architectural drawings registered as Fortgang Residence


I.
38.

Defendants have infringed and continue to infringe Plaintiffs copyright rights by

building a residence in accordance with architectural plans that are an infringement of the
architectural plans registered as Fortgang Residence I.
39.

Due to Defendants acts, Rivka Fortgang has suffered and will continue to suffer

substantial damages to her business and reputation as an interior and exterior designer in the Five
Towns community.
40.

Rivka Fortgang will continue to suffer irreparable harm unless an injunction is

issued enjoining and restraining Defendants from building the Villa Residence with an exterior
faade that is substantially similar to the Fortgang Residence.
41.

Due to Defendants acts and the building of the Villa Residence, Plaintiffs will
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also suffer monetary damages to the value of the Fortgang Residence. The Fortgang Residence
is a unique architectural work in the Five Towns.
42.

Due to Defendants acts, Defendants have obtained direct and indirect profits

and/or other benefits they would not otherwise have realized but for the infringement of Fortgang
Residence I.
43.

Upon information and belief, each of the Defendants infringement of Plaintiffs

copyright rights has been willful, reckless and/or in blatant disregard for Plaintiffs rights.
44.

Now that Defendants have each been put on notice, each of the Defendants

infringing acts from this day forth are willful, reckless and/or in blatant disregard for Plaintiffs
rights.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray for judgment against Defendants as follows:
A.

That Defendants, and each of their agents, servants, related companies, and all

parties in privity, be enjoined preliminarily and permanently from infringing Plaintiffs copyright
rights in the work(s) Fortgang Residence I and any other unauthorized works copied from
Plaintiff;
B.

That Plaintiff be awarded all profits of, and benefits obtained by, each of the

Defendants, the exact sum to be proven at the time of trial


C.

At Plaintiffs election before final judgment, statutory damages, as may be

available under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq.;


D.

Attorneys fees as may be available under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101 et

E.

That Plaintiffs be awarded pre-judgment interest as allowed by law;

seq.;

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F.

That Plaintiffs be awarded the costs of this action; and

G.

That Plaintiffs be awarded such further legal and equitable relief as the Court

deems proper.

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JURY DEMAND
Plaintiffs request a trial by jury on all issues so triable.

Respectfully submitted,
STERN & SCHURIN LLP
By:
____________________________
Steven Stern
sstern@sternschurin.com
Richard Schurin
rschurin@sternschurin.com
595 Stewart Avenue
Suite 710
Garden City, NY 11530
Telephone: (516) 248-0300
Facsimile: (516) 283-0277
Attorneys for Plaintiffs

Dated: July 6, 2015


Garden City, New York

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