LOCATION SWAP SETTLES SIGNAGE DISPUTE

DAVID ORENSTEIN Business writer
Section: BUSINESS,  Page: E1

Date: Thursday, March 19, 1998

Resnick's Troy Mattress Outlet and Air-Tite Business Center have resolved their signage spat by doing something akin to flipping a mattress: They're flipping locations. Two years of litigation, known to consumers because of Resnick's explicit mention of the dispute in his advertising, came to an end with a deal last week that brought legal peace to 1529-33 Central Avenue.


Landlord Air-Tite will swap storefronts with neighbor Resnick. Resnick will also put up a free-standing sign at the location that will face motorists driving by on Central Avenue. Air-Tite's removal of Resnick's original, highly visible sign prompted Resnick to file his lawsuit in 1995, in which he sought $2 million in damages.


Under the settlement, Air-Tite will not have to pay anything, but one of Resnick's attorneys, Ronald Kossar of Middletown, said the deal will lower Resnick's monthly rent and give him a storefront with better visibility.


One of Air-Tite's attorneys, John Gable of Albany, said Resnick's rent will decline because he will occupy less space. Air-Tite will then move a new tenant into the space created by the swap.


Both businesses will put up signs along their storefronts in addition to free-standing signs perpendicular to the roadway, Kossar said.


``We're very happy with the settlement,'' Kossar said.


Gable also said Air-Tite was satisfied.


``All of Mr. Resnick's claims have been fully aired,'' he said. ``He didn't get a dime that he asked for.''


Although neither Justin Resnick nor Air-Tite owner Richard Catalano insisted the case go to trial, their lawyers continued to claim that their side would have prevailed.


``There was a clear breach of the lease,'' Kossar said. Resnick suffered a substantial loss of revenues at the site because the store was less visible without a good sign, he said.


On the other hand, Gable said the Air-Tite's removal of the sign was not only legitimate, but also did not damage the mattress store's business. He noted that Resnick approached Air-Tite to reach the settlement.