Judge throws out squatters' Shake Shack receipt-based 'claim' on New Yorker's home

"The people who said they were locked out have walked away from the situation."


On Friday, Queens, New York, Civil Court Judge Vijay Kitson dismissed a lawsuit brought by a pair of alleged squatters who attempted to sue the homeowners of a house they tried to occupy. They claimed ownership with evidence such as receipts from a Shake Shack food delivery purchase.  

According to the New York Post, the homeowner's attorney Rizpah Morrow told reporters that the judge dismissed the case with prejudice, so it may not be refiled. "The Case is over," she said. 

"The landlords, the owners, own the house, they have possession," Morrow noted. "The people who said they were locked out have walked away from the situation. They are no longer requesting to be restored to possession and we still have their stuff." 

Outside the courtroom, the homeowner Juliya Fulman said it was a hollow victory because the larger issue of “squatters” rights' remains. "Right now, there is a very big problem with these criminals and these squatters. Lawmakers need to make laws in order to protect the people, the citizens,” she told the outlet. Rondie L. Francis and Lance Hunt, the alleged squatters, sued her and Denis Kurlyand, the owners of the home. 

“These criminals are trying to drive people out of New York, and that is not going to happen,” Fulman added. "I still don’t feel like I have the full justice in this case because there are people who broke into my house. They claimed they had property there. I would like to know how they got property there.” 

Fulman noted that there are still a lot of unanswered questions such as "how they got into the house” and “how their belongings got there." 

Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis took action against squatters after the issue has gained national attention due to homeowners getting arrested for trying to have the illegal occupiers removed from their property. "You are not going to be able to commandeer somebody's private property and expect to get away with it," the governor said. 

DeSantis condemned Democrat-run states for "siding with squatters" and not the property owners. “Earlier this month in New York, a woman returned to a property she inherited to find squatters living there. She changed the locks to get them out, and the state of New York arrested her instead of the squatters," he said. 

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