Lawrence, NY - Jewish Designer Sues Over Copycat House
Lawrence, NY - A Five Towns designer who says that her copyrighted house plans were used without permission to build a nearly identical house in a neighboring village is suing the homeowners and their architects for copyright infringement.
Rivka Fortgang, CEO of Riki Fortgang Interior Designs, copyrighted the original architectural drawings for her Lawrence home built in 2005, as reported by the New York Post (http://goo.gl/ywglNZ). The house, located south of Broadway on Auerbach Lane, is described in court papers as having a “visually distinctive and unique exterior stucco facade” and was copyrighted under the name “Fortgang Residence I.”
Mrs. Fortgang and her husband Seth are claiming that their plans were illegally accessed through the Village of Lawrence Building Department by Pereiras Architects Ubiquitous, a New Jersey based architecture firm, and Ari and Daniella Schwartz of Cedarhurst. The plans were then reportedly incorporated into the blueprints for the Schwartz’s planned house on Villa Place, a Cedarhurst cul de sac located one mile away from the Fortgang residence.
Attorney Steven Stern sent a cease and desist letter on behalf of the Fortgangs to the Schwartzes on June 7th, saying that while their Villa Place home is still in the early stages of construction, it is almost a twin of the Fortgang house.
“There is no doubt that you have accessed and intentionally copied the plans of the Fortgang residence intending to create a replica of our clients’ home and distinctive exterior,” wrote Stern.
According to court papers, the Schwartzes agreed to amend the plans for the exterior of their home, but Stern said that the new plans incorporate only minimal changes, prompting the Fortgangs to file suit today in Long Island Federal Court against the Schwartzes, Pereiras Architects Ubiquitous and the Friedman Group LLC.
In the lawsuit, Mrs. Fortgang also claimed that the entire situation has tarnished both her business and her reputation.
The Fortgangs are suing for unspecified damages.
No comments on the matter were available from Stern, Pereiras Architects Ubiquitous or the Schwartz’s attorney, Daniel Schloss.
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