Judge presiding over Twin Parks cases appoints plaintiffs’ steering committee; still no trial date

twin parks fire building
The Twin Parks North West apartment building commands the Fordham Heights skyline on a late afternoon in December 2022.
Photo Aliya Schneider

Almost two years after New York City’s deadliest fire in three decades, lawsuits that have arisen from the blaze remain in limbo.

According to an Oct. 31 order issued by Judge Raymond Fernandez, acting justice of Bronx County Supreme Court, the cases against the Twin Parks ownership consortium are still in the consolidation phase. In the most recent order, Fernandez appointed a plaintiffs’ steering committee (PSC) — a group of attorneys to lead the common interests of all the plaintiffs. 

“As is routine in many complex product liability cases, this litigation is consolidated in the interest of justice and judicial economy since the claims arise from a single occurrence,” said Al Baker, the communications director with the New York State Office of Court Administration (OCA).  

There are five attorneys the judge appointed to the PSC on Oct. 31: Robert Vilensky, Thomas J. Moverman, Steven Weinstein, Daniel J. Solinsky and Nicholas Wise. Baker said the five lawyers appointed to the PSC are representing 90% of the plaintiffs filing suit against Bronx Park Phase III Preservation LLC — the Twin Parks ownership group consisting of Belveron Partners, the LIHC Investment Group and the Camber Property Group. 

Fernandez also appointed 12 lawyers to a similar liaison counsel for the defendants. 

Judge Raymond Fernandez, acting justice of Bronx County Supreme Court, appointed a plaintiffs’ steering committee for cases against Twin Parks ownership on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023.
Judge Raymond Fernandez, acting justice of Bronx County Supreme Court, appointed a plaintiffs’ steering committee for cases against Twin Parks ownership on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023. Chart courtesy Camille Botello

This comes eight months after Doris Gonzalez, the administrative judge for civil matters in the 12th Judicial District, announced in March that all the cases regarding the Twin Parks blaze — identified in court documents as the “333 E. 181st Street Fire” — would be presided over by a single judge, since they all have the same respondent. As of Sept. 8, there were 66 separate cases filed against the Twin Parks ownership consortium, according to court documents. 

The court spokesperson at the time of the March order confirmed with the Bronx Times that while all the cases regarding the Twin Parks fire would be brought before the same judge, that doesn’t mean there would be a consolidation of the cases themselves or the attorneys who represent them.  


The blaze at the 19-story Twin Parks apartment building in January 2022 killed 17 people — including eight children. Investigators later found that the fire, which was started by a faulty space heater in an apartment on the third floor of the Fordham Heights complex, spread rapidly because of the building’s defective self-closing doors. Inhalation of smoke, which was more dire in the upper floors, is attributed to most of the Twin Parks victims.  

RETROSPECTIVE | One year after the deadly Twin Parks fire, a building and its tenants search for normalcy

The fire prompted multiple lawsuits and calls for enhanced fire safety legislation in its direct aftermath — survivors and plaintiffs claiming the building owners’ negligence indirectly caused the fire and the deaths. 

At the time of the tragedy, the 52-year-old building had been flagged with 18 open violations and 174 total violations since the new ownership consortium had purchased the building in 2020, according to records filed with the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Some tenants also claimed that smoke detectors in the building were so defective that they regularly experienced false alarms. Residents had filed more than 30 complaints that detailed dangerous conditions in the year preceding the fire, including some that stated the apartments had no heat. 

The Twin Parks ownership consortium, however, has maintained that the heat worked properly at the apartment complex, stating that data from the building’s heat sensors the day of the fire showed an average of 71.2 degrees.

Baker, the OCA spokesperson, told the Bronx Times that the court “meets regularly with the committee and a liaison for the defense to ensure compliance,” and that a Twin Parks trial date has not yet been set.

Reach Camille Botello at cbotello@schnepsmedia.com. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes