News & Events

News & Events - 2015

Dan Braff Featured in New York Real Estate Journal

Firm Partner Dan Braff was featured in the December issue New York Real Estate Journal. His remarks were included in the 2015 Year In Review section, in a special spotlight that asked Real Estate professionals to describe their most notable project, deal, transaction, or professional achievement in 2015. Braff describes the firm’s successful representation of a developer in the acquisition of “air rights” for a new multi-family building in Brooklyn, in which he played a significant role.

To see the full feature, click here.


Wayne G. Edwards featured in Long Island Business News

Firm Partner Wayne G. Edwards was featured in the December edition of Long Island Business News. His profile appeared in the “Who’s Who” section, which highlighted professionals in the Residential Real Estate Law field. The feature discussed several of Mr. Edwards’ recent cases, including his successful representation of Eben-Ezer Haitian Baptist Church of Westbury in obtaining required construction variances, his success in gaining parking and renovation variances on behalf of Elwood restaurant Mio Sushi, and his representation of a client in a range of matters concerning the construction of a Dunkin Donuts in East Hills.

Click here to view Wayne’s profile.


Elaine Colavito’s “Bench Briefs” Appears in Suffolk Lawyer

Elaine Colavito had her “Bench Briefs” column published in the December 2015 edition of The Suffolk Lawyer. “Bench Briefs” is a roundup of recent decisions from Suffolk County trial courts.

To review these decisions, click here.


Chris Coschignano Represents Developer in Proposed 197-Unit Apartment Complex in Mineola

Firm Partner Chris Coschignano is currently representing Mill Creek Residential, a Dallas-based developer that is looking to build a 197-unit apartment complex in Mineola. The developer is pursuing the construction of two four-story apartments at the site of the former Corpus Christi Elementary School. The apartments would be Transit Oriented Development (TOD), and located less than one mile from the Long Island Rail Road station.

More than a year ago, the church entered into a sales contract with Mill Creek Residential to purchase the former school and an adjacent property. Firm Partner John Farrell and firm Associate Nicholas Cappadora joined Mr. Coschignano in representing Mill Creek Residential. The Mineola Village board is set to review the proposal in January 2016.

Read the full article.


NYC Land Use Practice Group Provides Zoning Counsel in Support of Three Large New York City Real Estate Transactions

The New York City Land Use practice group, led by Partner Daniel H. Braff, acted as zoning counsel in support of three large recent transactions. First, the firm was zoning counsel to a large New York City-based lender in connection with a $20 million-plus acquisition loan concerning a development site in downtown Brooklyn. Second, the firm was zoning counsel to a large Real Estate Investment Trust in connection with the acquisition of office/retail properties in Harlem consisting of over 400,000 square feet. Third, the firm was zoning counsel to a hotel developer in connection with the financial restructuring of an existing development site in Brooklyn. In addition to the foregoing transactions, the firm was also zoning counsel in connection with its client’s acquisition of over 13,000 square feet of development rights along Fulton Street in Brooklyn as part of a new mixed-use development


Dan Braff Featured in New York Real Estate Journal

Firm Partner Dan Braff appeared in the November issue of New York Real Estate Journal. He was featured in their Professional Profiles section.

Click here to view Dan's profile.


Firm Partners Present Real Estate CLE for First American Title

Firm Partners Jon Ward, Wayne Edwards and John Farrell presented a highly informative Continuing Legal Education program on behalf of First American Title on October 26. The program was attended by over 100 real estate attorneys and covered several important topics in residential and commercial real estate law. Mr. Edwards presented on due diligence in the acquisition, leasing, and financing of commercial property. Mr. Farrell gave a presentation on understanding the Certificate of Occupancy search, and how to conduct a thorough examination of filed Certificates of Occupancy. Mr. Ward discussed extinguishing recorded covenants and restrictions that affect marketability.


John Christopher Participates in Young Lawyers Fall CLE Program

Firm Partner John Christopher participated in the New York State Bar Association Young Lawyer Fall CLE Program on November 6. This program provided attorneys with a basic familiarity and understanding of a variety of legal topics and practice areas. Some of the topics covered included Matrimonial and Family Law basics, Business Formations, and Justice Court Practice. Mr. Christopher presented on the topic of Landlord/Tenant Law.


Elaine Colavito's "Bench Briefs" Appears in Suffolk Lawyer

Elaine Colavito had her "Bench Briefs" column published in the October 2015 edition of The Suffolk Lawyer. “Bench Briefs” is a roundup of recent decisions from Suffolk County trial courts.

To review these decisions, click here


Michele Pincus Works with Pink Aid to Honor Long Island Breast Cancer Warriors at Second Annual Pink Chair Luncheon and Fashion Show

Firm Partner Michele Pincus, an active member of the Pink Aid Committee, both helped coordinate and participated in this year's Second Annual Pink Chair Luncheon and Fashion Show. The event, which last year raised more than $225,000 from its 300 attendees in support of several local community grants, was held October 15 at Mitchells|Marshs in Huntington.

Click here to read more.


Sahn Ward Coschignano Sponsors Oyster Bay Town Supervisor's 5K Run

Once again, Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC sponsored the Oyster Bay Town Supervisor's 5K Run, which took place on October 17. Chris Coschignano, a Partner with the firm and a councilman with the Town of Oyster Bay, participated in the race to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, which funds research and medical care for children across the globe, and also provides families of hospitalized children a place to stay while their child undergoes treatment.


Chris J. Coschignano (center), a Partner with the firm and a council member with the Town of Oyster Bay, took part in the Oyster Bay Town Supervisor’s 5K Run. He is joined by (back row, left to right) Council Members Anthony Macagnone and Michele Johnson, Town Clerk Jim Altadonna, Nassau Supreme Court Justice Julianne Capetola, Oyster Bay Town Receiver of Taxes Jim Stefanich and Nassau County Legislator Donald MacKenzie.



Miriam Villani Named LIBN's "Ones To Watch"

Miriam Villani, a Partner with the firm, was named one of Long Island Business News' "Ones to Watch" in Green. Ones to Watch is featured each week in LIBN, highlighting six people who stand out in their respective fields.

 

 

Read the article.

 


Daniel H. Braff and Joseph R. Bjarnson Named Recipients of LIBN’s “Leadership in Law” Award

Sahn Ward Coschignano attorneys Daniel H. Braff and Joseph R. Bjarnson will each receive Long Island Business News’ Leadership in Law Award. Mr. Braff will be honored in the category of Partner and Mr. Bjarnson will be honored in the category of Associate. The ceremony will take place November 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.


Daniel H. Braff (left) and Joseph R. Bjarnson (right)

Read the full article.


Michael H. Sahn and Nicholas J. Cappadora Evaluate the U.S. Supreme Court Test for Determining when a Local Land Use Dispute is Ripe for Federal Court Review

In this month’s issue of The Nassau Lawyer, Michael H. Sahn, Esq., the firm’s Managing Partner, and Nicholas J. Cappadora, Esq., an Associate with the firm, collaborated on an article, “When is a Local Land Dispute Ripe for Federal Court Review?” In the article, Mr. Sahn and Mr. Cappadora review the test established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank, which determines when local land use disputes are ready, or “ripe” for federal court review. The article also addresses the expansion of and exceptions to the Williamson test, specifically in the Second Circuit. Due to the growing number of land use claims being dismissed in federal court on ripeness grounds, this article is a must read for land use and zoning practitioners.


Michael H. Sahn (left) and Nicholas J. Cappadora (right)

Read the full article.


Dan Braff and Michael Barone Represent Client in Purchase of $10.5 Million Commercial Property

Dan Braff and Michael Barone recently represented a client in the purchase of a commercial property improved with a Walgreens in Fairfield, Connecticut, valued at $10.5 million. The property was one of several properties involved in a 1031 exchange.


Daniel Braff (left) and Michael Barone (right)


Michele Pincus Interviewed on What It Means To Be a Non-Profit Board Member

Michele Pincus, a former non-profit board president and member of several non-profit boards of directors, was interviewed and quoted in a Long Islander News story on the role of a non-profit board member. In the article, she is quoted: "A good leader will select members who are willing to work for the benefit of the organization and lead committees with other enthusiastic members who are eager to further the mission of the organization.”

Read the full article.


Robert A. Abiuso Joins Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC as Counsel

The firm has announced that Robert A. Abiuso has joined the firm as Counsel. Mr. Abiuso concentrates his practice in the areas of personal injury litigation, insurance and supplemental underinsured and uninsured motorist (SUM) litigation, defense of claims against property damage, and municipal claims litigation.Mr. Abiuso also represents clients in criminal defense matters and real estate transactions throughout the metropolitan area. Prior to joining the firm, he maintained his own practice with offices in Babylon.

 

 

Read the full press release.


Joshua D. Brookstein Joins Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC as an Associate

The firm has announced that Joshua D. Brookstein has joined the firm as an Associate. Mr. Brookstein concentrates his practice in litigation and appeals, criminal defense, zoning and land use, and municipal law.

 

 

 

Read the full press release.


Super Lawyers Recognizes Ten Attorneys from Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC

Four attorneys from the firm have been selected to the 2015 New York Metro Super Lawyers list and six more attorneys from the firm have been selected to the 2015 New York Metro Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” list. No more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Rising Stars is a more exclusive list, recognizing no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state.

The attorneys chosen by Super Lawyers and the practice area in which they were recognized are:


Super Lawyers selected (above, left to right) are:
Michael H. Sahn, Managing Partner — Land Use/Zoning, Jon A. Ward, Partner — Business Litigation,
Wayne G. Edwards, Partner — Land Use/Zoning and Andrew M. Roth, Partner — Business Litigation

 

Super Lawyers, "Rising Stars", selected (below) are:



First row - Joseph R. Bjarnson — Business Litigation, Daniel H. Braff — Land Use/Zoning,
Christian Browne — Civil Litigation: Plaintiff; Second Row - John Christopher — Real Estate Law,
Elaine M. Colavito — Family Law and Adam H. Koblenz — General Litigation

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

“It is an honor to be named personally, but much more important is the credit and honor to the firm to have so many of our attorneys recognized by Super Lawyers,” said Michael Sahn, the firm’s Managing Partner.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in their practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, go to SuperLawyers.com.

Chris Coschignano Named as One of LIBN's "Around 50"

Chris Coschignano, a Partner with the firm, has been named as one of Long Island Business News’ “Around 50.” The award recognizes those in the business community around the age of 50 who make significant contributions to their field. Mr. Coschignano was recognized at an event held on September 29 at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.

Read the full article.


Joseph R. Bjarnson Named as One of Newsday’s “Winners”

In its September 13 edition, Newsday recently named Joseph R. Bjarnson, an Associate with the firm, as one of its “Winners” for receiving the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from The Public Justice Foundation, a legal nonprofit organization. Mr. Bjarnson devoted hundreds of hours as pro bono counsel in David, et. al v. Signal International, LLC, et. al. He and the firm’s co-counsel helped obtain a $14 million federal jury verdict for five Indian national workers named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit against a marine fabrication company. The lawsuit claimed the company engaged in human trafficking, forced labor, racketeering and civil rights violations against them because of their nationality.

Read the full article.


NYC Land Use Practice Group Provides Zoning Counsel in Support of Three Large New York City Real Estate Transactions

The New York City Land Use practice group, led by partner Daniel H. Braff, Esq., acted as zoning counsel in support of three large recent transactions. First, the firm was zoning counsel to a large NYC-based lender in connection with a 20+ million dollar acquisition loan concerning a development site in downtown Brooklyn. Second, the firm was zoning counsel to a large REIT in connection with the acquisition of office/retail properties in Harlem consisting of over 400,000 square feet. Third, the firm was zoning counsel to a hotel developer in connection with the financial restructuring of an existing development site in Brooklyn. In addition to the foregoing transactions, the firm was also zoning counsel in connection with its client’s acquisition of over 13,000 square feet of development rights along Fulton Street in Brooklyn as part of new mixed-use development.


Christian Browne Represents Pet Shop Owners in Challenging Proposed Town Ordinance

Christian Browne, a Partner with the firm, is representing three pet shops — Worldwide Puppies and Kittens in Bellmore, The Puppy Store in North Merrick and Love My Puppies in Wantagh — before the Hempstead Town Board to challenge a proposed ordinance that he says would burden these stores with unnecessary regulations designed to put them out of business.

Read the full article.


Jon Ward Focuses on Constitutional Restraints on Local Governments Abating Public Nuisances

Jon Ward, a Partner with the firm, published the article “Constitutional Restraints on Governmental Power to Abate Public Nuisances” in this month’s Nassau Lawyer. In the article, he writes that many local governments that try to write or enforce their own rules when abating public nuisances on private property run the risk of overstepping their bounds and running afoul of important constitutional restraints on their powers.

In his article, he cites Ferreira v. Town of East Hampton, in which the town hired a private contractor to get the plaintiff property owner, an auto mechanic operating a repair shop out of his residence, to clean up his property after the town said all other legal procedures were exhausted. The plaintiff claimed the town violated his rights by coming onto his property and taking his property, violating his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The judge sided with the plaintiff, stating his procedural due process rights and privacy rights were violated.

Read the full article.


John Farrell Explores the Interpretations of Town Code When Issuing Certificates of Occupancy

In this month’s issue of The Nassau Lawyer, John Farrell, a Partner with the firm, wrote an article, “Can You Rely on That Certificate of Occupancy?” In the article, Mr. Farrell discusses how, due to various interpretations of the building code from one building inspector to another, the homeowner may find that the certificate of occupancy on their home may be revoked because the house does not meet town code. This means the homeowner will have to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals to argue their case, but the costs associated with challenging the ruling can be very high.

Read the full article.


Elaine Colavito’s “Bench Briefs” Appears in Suffolk Lawyer

Elaine Colavito had her “Bench Briefs” column published in the September 2015 edition of The Suffolk Lawyer. “Bench Briefs” is a roundup of recent decisions from Suffolk County trial courts.

To review these decisions, click here.


The Westbury Times Interviews Wayne Edwards on Successful Representation of Church in ZBA Matter

Wayne Edwards, a Partner with the firm, was interviewed by The Westbury Times about his successful representation of Eben-Ezer Haitian Baptist Church of Westbury at the Town of North Hempstead Zoning Board of Appeals hearing. The ZBA granted approval for the church to construct a new 4,500-square-foot church at its present location at 859 Prospect Avenue. The new structure will accommodate the growing congregation.

“We are pleased to have the North Hempstead Town Zoning Board of Appeals grant us this variance,” said Mr. Edwards. “Most of the congregants live in the New Cassel-Westbury area. Prospect Avenue has recently been undergoing a revitalization and construction of the new church will be in keeping with that redevelopment.”

Read the full article.


Sahn Ward Coschignano Sponsors 2015 Marcum Workplace Challenge

Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC was one of the participating sponsors for this year’s Marcum Workplace Challenge, which took place July 28 at Jones Beach State Park. A large contingent of the firm took part in the 3.5-mile run/walk.

Nearly 10,000 participants from over 200 local companies were in attendance. Participating organizations included businesses, non-profits and governmental agencies, representing almost every industry in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Proceeds went to benefit the Long Island Children’s Museum, Long Island Cares — The Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Children’s Medical Fund of New York.


The attorneys and staff members of Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC join together for a photo before taking part in the
2015 Marcum Workplace Challenge. In addition to its participation, the firm was also a sponsor of the event.

 


Sahn Ward Coschignano employees following the run, including (left to right): Brian Sales, Comptroller;
Cami Negus, Paralegal; and Jason Horowitz and John Christopher, Partners. The participants braved
temperatures that stayed in the 80s for the walk/run to support local charities.


Michael J. Barone, Jr. Joins Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC as an Associate

Michael J. Barone, Jr. has joined the firm as an Associate. Mr. Barone concentrates his practice in zoning and land use planning; real estate law and transactions, including IRC §1031 tax-deferred exchanges; and litigation and appeals.

Prior to joining Sahn Ward Coschignano, Mr. Barone served as a pro bono legal intern for the Mercy Advocacy Program in Islip Terrace. Before that, he was a Legal Intern at Canon U.S.A., Inc. as part of the Canon Insights Program 2013.

In addition, Mr. Barone served as a Legal Extern with the Office of Legal Affairs at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in Great Neck and as a Legal Intern with the Office of the Islip Town Attorney and the Office of Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Thomas P. Phelan.

He is the author of “Delegation and the Destruction of American Liberties: The Affordable Care Act and the Contraception Mandate” (29 Touro L. Rev. 795 [2013]) and co-author of an abstract entitled “Posthumous Reproduction: Do Parents of a Deceased Son Have the Right to Use His Sperm?” which he wrote while he was an extern with North Shore-LIJ.

He is admitted to practice in the states of New York and Massachusetts and is a member of the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association and the Historical Society of the New York Courts.

He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies and magna cum laude from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. While at law school, he was Articles Editor for Touro Law Review and received the CALI Awards for Academic Excellence in Land Use and Planning, Drafting Commercial Documents, and Intellectual Property.

Mr. Barone is a resident of Rockville Centre.

“We are very pleased to have Mr. Barone join our firm,” said Michael Sahn, Managing Partner, Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC. “Michael is impressive in his dedication to the law and the legal profession. He will be a great asset to our firm.”


Wayne Edwards Represents Westbury Congregation in Obtaining Approvals for New Church

Wayne Edwards, a Partner with the firm, recently successfully represented Eben-Ezer Haitian Baptist Church of Westbury before the Town of North Hempstead’s Zoning Board of Appeals. The church is seeking to build a new structure at its existing location, 859 Prospect Avenue in Westbury, allowing it to meet the needs of its growing congregation.

The design calls for the construction of a new 4,500-square-foot church plus a basement. The new church would give its congregants the needed space to provide religious services, hold community meetings and maintain its food pantry. Mr. Edwards represented the church to obtain the required variances for the new construction. The proposed building was designed by the architect, Angelo Francis Corva. On July 15, the town ZBA unanimously approved the variance, allowing construction to go forward.

The Eben-Ezer Haitian Baptist Church of Westbury was established in 1984 to give Haitian immigrants living in the Westbury area a place to worship and to fill a need for a Baptist church in the area. In 1998, the church purchased the property on Prospect Avenue.

“We are pleased to have the North Hempstead Town Zoning Board of Appeals grant us this variance,” Mr. Edwards said. “Most of the congregants live in the New Cassel-Westbury area. Prospect Avenue has recently been undergoing a revitalization and construction of the new church will be in keeping with that redevelopment.”


Joseph Bjarnson Named Trial Lawyer of the Year for Work as Part of Legal Team in Landmark Labor Trafficking Case

The legal team behind one of the largest labor trafficking cases ever brought in the United States, resulting in a $14 million settlement for immigrant workers, was named winner of Public Justice Foundation’s Trial Lawyer of the Year award during the organization’s annual gala last night in Montreal. 

Read more.

 

 


Long Island Business News Interviews Wayne Edwards on strategies for businesses to expand in a tight real estate market

Wayne Edwards was interviewed by Long Island Business News for a story on how companies that are looking to expand are seeing a dearth of available office space. Mr. Edwards says that, once growing businesses find nearby space, they should negotiate in their lease the right of first offer or first refusal in the event the space becomes available. He also said that landlords have leases which give them the right to relocate a tenant — at the expense of the landlord — to accommodate an expanding company.

Read more.


John Christopher is Admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court During NYSBA Young Lawyers Section Washington D.C. Summer Meeting

John Christopher attended the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), Young Lawyers Section (YLS), Summer Meeting in Washington D.C. on June 14th and June 15th. The Summer Meeting consisted of the YLS Executive Committee Meeting on June 14th and the YLS Supreme Court Admissions Program on June 15th, whereat Mr. Christopher was admitted to the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Christopher is an officer of the YLS and currently holds the position of Treasurer, along with several other Executive Committee positions.


John Christopher (third from right, first row) was admittted to the U.S. Supreme Court
during NYSBA Young Lawyers Section in Washington, DC


John also attended the Burton Awards for Legal Achievement held at the Library of Congress on June 15, 2015.

Pictured are United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor (left) and John Christopher (right),
a Partner with the firm. The photo was taken at the Burton Awards for Legal Achievement held at the Library of
Congress on June 15, 2015, where Mr. Christopher represented the firm.


Miriam Villani Represents Developer of Waterfront Property in Glen Cove

The firm is representing the developer of a waterfront property in the City of Glen Cove. The owner of the property plans a mixed use development. The development is surrounded by federal Superfund sites, and will include commercial uses such as a sports complex, restaurant, hotel and residential use. Miriam Villani, who heads the firm's Environmental Law Practice Group, is providing legal guidance with respect to environmental issues, including coordinating an investigation into the Superfund site's likely impacts on the property, and potential remediation, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The firm's Managing Member, Michael Sahn, will be handling the land use approvals tol allow the development to go forward.



Long Island Business News Interviews Wayne Edwards on strategies for businesses to expand in a tight real estate market

Wayne Edwards was interviewed by Long Island Business News for a story on how companies that are looking to expand are seeing a dearth of available office space. Mr. Edwards says that, once growing businesses find nearby space, they should negotiate in their lease the right of first offer or first refusal in the event the space becomes available. He also said that landlords have leases which give them the right to relocate a tenant — at the expense of the landlord — to accommodate an expanding company.


Click here to see the article.


Michele Pincus Joins Pink Aid Long Island in Giving $30,000 Grant to Brookhaven Breast Cancer Survivorship Coalition and Participates in Moot Court Competition

Michele Pincus, a Partner with the firm and a member of Pink Aid's Grant Committee, recently joined fellow members of Pink Aid Long Island in providing a $30,000 grant to the Brookhaven Breast Cancer Survivorship Coalition, a service of Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in Patchogue, New York. 

Ms. Pincus was also invited to participate as one of the judges in the Annual Moot Court Competition hosted by Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School. Twelve high schools across Long Island competed in the daylong tournament.

Read more.


Adam Koblenz Co-Chairs Tennis Event of CMF'S 40th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic

Adam H. Koblenz was Tennis Co-Chair for the Children’s Medical Fund of New York’s 40th Annual Golf and Tennis Charity Classic, which was recently held on June 15 at the Glen Oaks Club. He currently serves as one of the vice presidents of the Men's Division. Mr. Koblenz has been involved in the CMF for many years, having also chaired the "Cycle for CMF" event. Children's Medical Fund of New York is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds for the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York. Through a wide network of friends, volunteers and deeply committed donors, CMF has raised over $85 million to help build, equip and secure ongoing funding for programs that are vital to the needs of seriously ill children and their families.


Judge Issues Temporary Restraining Order, Allowing Hav-A-Home Kennel to Reopen for Business and Resume Servicing Pet Owners

A temporary restraining order was issued on May 21 against a local municipality which prohibited the municipality from enforcing a condemnation order that it issued against a family-run kennel that has been in the business for nearly a century. Two of the firm's Partners, Jon A. Ward and Andrew Roth, and Joseph R. Bjarnson, an Associated with the firm, are currently representing the kennel's owner and her family.

On April 13, the village ordered Hav-a-Home Kennels, its owner/operator, Patricia Kleber, and her two sisters who also operate the facility with her, to vacate the premises after condemning the building for what the municipality deemed to be an "unsafe" structure. As a result of the condemnation order, the kennel was forced to immediately shut down and close. Ms. Kleber and her two sisters, all of whom are in their seventies, rely on the income from the kennel to support themselves. Thus, the impact of the condemnation order was personally devastating for them.

The municipality maintained that an exterior wall of the structure was unsafe because it was leaning slightly. Ms. Kleber retained a professional engineer, who inspected the kennel and disputed the basis for the condemnation. He found that the slightly leaning wall was not an uncommon feature in a building of this type and age, which was constructed in the 1920s or earlier. He also found that the building was not in any imminent danger of collapse or otherwise unsafe. He recommended a simple repair to the wall. To alleviate any concerns the municipality might have regarding the safety of the structure, Ms. Kleber also hired a contractor who installed a temporary shoring wall to further support the structure, and will be repairing the exterior wall in a few weeks.

On May 4, Mr. Ward wrote a letter to the municipality requesting that the condemnation order be lifted immediately. After nearly two weeks without a response from local officials, Mr. Ward filed a civil rights lawsuit against the municipality on May 21, claiming, among other things, that the municipality abused its governmental power and violated Ms. Kleber’s constitutional rights to occupy and use the building because the municipality did not provide her with any due process (notice and opportunity to be heard) either before or after it condemned the structure. Further, the municipality failed to follow its own procedures outlined in its local laws with respect to addressing buildings it deemed unsafe.

After hearing arguments on May 20, Justice Antonio I. Brandveen of the New York State Supreme Court, Nassau County, granted a temporary restraining order against the municipality, finding that the condemnation order was causing Ms. Kleber and her sisters to suffer immediate and irreparable harm. The temporary restraining order prevents the municipality from enforcing the condemnation order, which will allow Hav-a-Home to reopen and continue its operations while the court considers whether a preliminary injunction should be issued against the municipality. The next court date is scheduled for June 24.

"We are pleased to see the kennel open again after it was abruptly closed by local officials," Mr. Ward said. "This is a third-generation, family-owned dog kennel whose owner has an excellent reputation for the care the kennel has provided to thousands of local families and their pets for decades. Ms. Kleber is continuing to make improvements to the facility, and we look forward to fully vindicating her rights in court."

This was reported by News 4 New York.

Watch the News 4 New York clip here.


Jon A. Ward Named LIBN’s “Ones to Watch” in Law

Jon A. Ward, a Partner with the firm, was named as one of the “Ones to Watch” in Law by Long Island Business News. Ones to Watch is featured each week in LIBN, highlighting six people who stand out in their respective fields.

Click here to read the article.


Chris J. Coschignano Named Touro Law Center’s Alumni of the Month

Chris J. Coschignano, a Member and Partner of the of the firm, has been named Touro Law Center’s “Alumni of the Month” for May, 2015.

Mr. Coschignano concentrates his practice in the areas of zoning and land use planning, real estate law and transactions, municipal and legislative law, economic development and industrial development agency law, advanced litigation in state and federal courts, and matrimonial and family law.  He is a member of the American, New York State and Nassau County Bar Associations and the Nassau Lawyers’ and the Columbian Lawyers’ Associations.

Mr. Coschignano was admitted to practice law in the State of New York and the State of Connecticut in 1990. He received his undergraduate degree from St. John’s University (B.S., 1985), and his law degree from Jacob D. Fuchsberg Touro Law Center at Touro College (J.D., 1990).

In addition to serving as Partner with the firm, Mr. Coschignano serves as a Councilman with the Town of Oyster Bay. In that capacity, he has strived to make town government more efficient and provide quality service at the lowest cost possible to the taxpayers. He is also involved in preserving the character of the town’s neighborhoods and the prevention of overdevelopment. Mr. Coschignano was instrumental in the formation of the Syosset Downtown Revitalization Committee and Redevelopment Plan and the Oyster Bay Hamlet Moratorium against overdevelopment. He currently serves as chairman of the Syosset Hamlet Revitalization and Redevelopment Plan Committee and helped obtain a $1.5 million grant for the Downtown Syosset Streetscape project.

Mr. Coschignano participates and assists with the annual Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor’s 5K Run to help raise money for various charities. He has worked with and been recognized by Homes For Our Homecoming Heroes to provide its first-ever house to a returning war veteran. The land for the 1,900-square-foot house is located in Hicksville and was acquired through Nassau County. Mr. Coschignano provided pro bono legal assistance to help form the non-profit group.

In addition to serving as Councilman, Mr. Coschignano is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Boys & Girls Club, as well as its pro bono legal counsel and is an Honorary Director of the Syosset Chamber of Commerce and the North Shore Boys and Girls Club. On October 20, 2014, he was honored at St. Edward Confessor School’s 15th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic for his ongoing commitment and involvement in the school and in Catholic education.

Mr. Coschignano is a parishioner at St. Edward Confessor Church, where he coordinates the church’s annual festival and has served as an usher since 1995. In 2012, he received the Long Island Business News Leadership in Law Award.  In 2015, he also received the Keith Romaine Elected Official of the Year Award from the Touro Law Alumni Association.  The award was created in memory of Mr. Romaine and is given in recognition of his interest and passion for government.


Michele A. Pincus Joins Long Island Index Advisory Committee, Pink aid Grant Committee

Michele A. Pincus, a Partner with the firm, has been named as a member of the Advisory Committee with the Long Island Index and the Grant Committee for Pink Aid.

The Long Island Index is an annual report focusing on the issues facing Long Island. The members of the Advisory Committee identify key goals for the region and develop plans for these reports on different topics such as employment, the economy, housing, development, the environment and school spending, among others. The goal of these reports is to chart how the region is doing on an annual basis and to ensure that the data provided is useful, unbiased information that will lead to greater community awareness of Long Island issues and to serve as a catalyst for action.

As a member of Pink Aid’s Grant Committee, Ms. Pincus — who previously served on the group’s Fundraising Committee — will determine which organizations will receive $150,000 in grants the group gives out each year. The grants will go to support programs that provide services to underserved women for screening and undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Founded by the Mitchell family, the owners of Marshs in Huntington, Pink Aid helps underserved local women survive breast cancer treatment by providing grants for support programs. Pink Aid provides screenings to women in need, cover their non-medical expenses and provide support to established hospital foundations, national nonprofits and smaller grass roots organizations.


Jon A. Ward Participates in First Annual Cleats for Feets Donation Drive

On March 9, Jon A. Ward, a Partner with the firm, joined Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter, members of the Islip Town Board, officials from the Bay Shore School District and representatives from Challenger Athletics in launching the first annual Cleats for Feets Donation Drive.

The donated cleats will be collected by the school district’s Athletes Helping Athletes program and given to Chris Ferrara and Dean Spinato — two Islip residents and founders of Anti3 Protect Series — to clean and condition the cleats before giving them to Challenger Athletics, a non-profit organization whose goals are to build self-esteem and increase community awareness through sports. Challenger, in turn, will donate the refurbished cleats back to the school district.

Mr. Ward is a member of Challenger Athletics' Board of Directors and has established a youth lacrosse program for special-needs children. The firm provided pro bono legal services to the group, including the preparation of documents to help Challenger obtain tax-exempt status.


Jon A. Ward (left) is joined by Islip Town Councilman John Cochrane (second from left), Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter (center), representatives from the Bay Shore School District, Challenger Athletics and Anti3 Protect Series and local children during the launch of the Cleats for Feets Donation Drive.


Firm successfully represents upstate motorcycle track on appeal by obtaining reversal of trial court order limiting use of the track

The firm has announced the Third Judicial Department ruled in favor of its client, New York Safety Track, LLC.  The decision reverses a summary determination by an upstate trial court which held that Safety Track's use of a private motorcycle track on its property was substantially limited by a site plan approval that was issued for the track in 2011.

Like many upstate towns, the Town of Harpersfield does not have a zoning code, so all land uses are permitted as of right throughout the Town, although certain non-residential uses, like the construction of a motorcycle track, require site plan approval from the Town of Harpersfield Planning Board.  In 2011, the Town's Planning Board approved a site plan that authorized Safety Track to construct a 2.1-mile, private, closed-loop, motorcycle track on a 134-acre property in the Town, where the property was also used, in part, as an FAA-licensed airport.  Following the approval, Safety Track invested approximately $3 million in the development and construction of the track.

After the track began operating in 2013, a group of neighbors filed an action seeking, among other things, a judgment declaring that the 2011 site plan approval limited the use of the track to certain proposed uses that were allegedly discussed during the site plan review process.  For example, the neighbors claimed that Safety Track represented to the Planning Board that only motorcycles with 250cc engines would be used on the track, an allegation that Safety Track denied.  The trial court agreed with the neighbors, and issued an order summarily declaring that the use of the track was substantially limited by statements allegedly made by Safety Track during the site plan approval process. Safety Track appealed the ruling.

Jon A. Ward, Esq., the head of the firm's civil litigation and appeals group, argued the appeal for Safety Track before a four-judge panel of the Appellate Division of the Third Judicial Department in Albany, New York, on January 7, 2015.  In its decision dated March 5, 2015, the Appellate Division agreed with Mr. Ward and found that the trial court had committed procedural and substantive errors in summarily deciding the issue of whether the 2011 site plan approval limited the use of the track.  According to the Appellate Division, "myriad issues of fact existed … rendering summary determination of petitioner's action for declaratory relief … improper."  The case was remanded to the trial court for further proceedings regarding the matter.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LAND OF THE LAW BLOG.
CLICK HERE FOR THE MOUNTAIN EAGLE ARTICLE.
CLICK HERE FOR THE ROAD RACING WORLD ARTICLE.


Chris Coschignano Receives Keith Romaine Elected Official of the Year Award from Touro Law Center

UNIONDALE, NY — On February 10, Hon. Chris J. Coschignano, Partner, Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC, received the Keith Romaine Elected Official of the Year Award from the Touro Law Alumni Association as part of its Public Interest Law Organization Awards Ceremony. The event took place at the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in Central Islip.

Named after 2003 graduate and Brookhaven Town Councilman Keith Romaine, who passed away in 2009, the award is given annually to a Touro Law Center graduate who serves the public as an elected official. The award was created in his memory and in recognition of his interest and passion for government.

In addition to serving as Partner with the firm, Mr. Coschignano serves as a Councilman with the Town of Oyster Bay. In that capacity, he has strived to make town government more efficient and provide quality service at the lowest cost possible to the taxpayers. He is also involved in preserving the character of the town’s neighborhoods and the prevention of overdevelopment. Mr. Coschignano was instrumental in the formation of the Syosset Downtown Revitalization Committee and Redevelopment Plan and the Oyster Bay Hamlet Moratorium against overdevelopment. He currently serves as chairman of the Syosset Hamlet Revitalization and Redevelopment Plan Committee and helped obtain a $1.5 million grant for the Downtown Syosset Streetscape project.

Mr. Coschignano participates and assists with the annual Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor’s 5K Run to help raise money for various charities. He has worked with and been recognized by Homes For Our Homecoming Heroes to provide its first-ever house to a returning war veteran. The land for the 1,900-square-foot house is located in Hicksville and was acquired through Nassau County. Mr. Coschignano provided pro bono legal assistance to help form the non-profit group.

In addition to serving as Councilman, Mr. Coschignano is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Boys & Girls Club, as well as its pro bono legal counsel and is an Honorary Director of the Syosset Chamber of Commerce and the North Shore Boys and Girls Club. On October 20, 2014, he was honored at St. Edward Confessor School’s 15th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic for his ongoing commitment and involvement in the school and in Catholic education. He is a parishioner at St. Edward Confessor Church, where he coordinates the church’s annual festival and has served as an usher since 1995. In 2012, he received the Long Island Business News Leadership in Law Award.


Joseph R. Bjarnson Successfully Provides Pro Bono Counsel for Indian National Plaintiffs Awarded $14 Million Jury Verdict in Human Trafficking Case

The firm has announced that Joseph R. Bjarnson, an Associate with the firm, was part of the legal team that obtained a federal jury verdict of more than $14 million in damages for five Indian national workers against Signal International, a marine and fabrication company; New Orleans lawyer Malvern C. Burnett; and India-based recruiter Sachin Dewan. The Indian national workers claimed that the defendants engaged in human trafficking, forced labor, racketeering and civil rights violations against them because of their nationality.


Click here to view the full press release.


Chris Coschignano Receives Keith Romaine Award from Touro Law Alumni Association

On February 10, Hon. Chris J. Coschignano, a Partner with the firm, received the Keith Romaine Elected Official of the Year Award from the Touro Law Alumni Association as part of its Alumni of the Year Awards Ceremony. The event took place at the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center.

Named after 2003 graduate and Brookhaven Town Councilman Keith Romaine, who passed away in 2009, the award is given annually to a Touro Law Center graduate who serves the public as an elected official. The award was created in his memory and in recognition of his interest and passion for government.

In addition to serving as Partner with the firm, Mr. Coschignano serves as a councilman with the Town of Oyster Bay. In that capacity, he has strived to make town government more efficient and provide quality service at the lowest cost possible to the taxpayers. He is also involved in preserving the character of the town’s neighborhoods and the prevention of overdevelopment. Mr. Coschignano was instrumental in the formation of the Syosset Downtown Revitalization Committee and Redevelopment Plan and the Oyster Bay Hamlet Moratorium against overdevelopment. He currently serves as chairman of the Syosset Hamlet Revitalization and Redevelopment Plan Committee and helped obtain a $1.5 million grant for the Downtown Syosset Streetscape project.

Mr. Coschignano participates and assists with the annual Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor's 5K Run to help raise money for various charities. He has worked with and been recognized by Homes For Our Homecoming Heroes to provide its first-ever house to a returning war veteran. The land for the 1,900-square-foot house is located in Hicksville and was acquired through Nassau County. Mr. Coschignano provided pro bono legal assistance to help form the non-profit group.

In addition to serving as councilman, Mr. Coschignano is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Boys & Girls Club, as well as its pro bono legal counsel and is an honorary director of the Syosset Chamber of Commerce and the North Shore Boys and Girls Club. On October 20, 2014, he was honored at St. Edward Confessor School’s 15th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic for his ongoing commitment and involvement in the school and in Catholic education. He is a parishioner at St. Edward Confessor Church, where he coordinates the church’s annual festival and has served as an usher since 1995. In 2012, he received theLong Island Business News Leadership in Law Award.


John Farrell Receives LIBN'S 40 Under 40 Award

John Farrell, a Partner with the firm, recently received Long Island Business News' "40 Under 40" award at a special ceremony that took place on January 29 at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.

Since 1998, Long Island Business News has taken nominations for outstanding members of the business community on Long Island who are under the age of 40. These future leaders of Long Island have already begun to distinguish themselves in business, government, education and the not-for-profit sector. They have a proven track record of career success, are involved in mentoring and promoting their profession and find time to give back to their communities.

Mr. Farrell concentrates his practice in the areas of zoning and land use planning, municipal and environmental law and litigation. He currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Town of Babylon Zoning Board of Appeals.

Before joining the firm, Mr. Farrell was associated with several prominent Long Island law firms. Previously, he was Assistant Town Attorney for the Town of Babylon, where he served as counsel to the Town's Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board. Mr. Farrell also acted as lead prosecutor for zoning violations in the Town.

Mr. Farrell was admitted to practice in New York State in 2001. He is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the Suffolk County Bar Association.

Mr. Farrell received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Hofstra University and his Juris Doctor from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center.


Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC Promotes John P. Christopher to Partner

The firm has promoted John P. Christopher to Partner. He previously served as an Associate of the firm.

Mr. Christopher concentrates his practice in the areas of municipal law, zoning and land use planning, real estate law and transactions and commercial and residential landlord/tenant disputes.

In both 2013 and 2014, Metro New York Super Lawyers selected Mr. Christopher to its list of “Rising Stars” in the legal profession. He was recognized in the practice area of Real Estate Law. In 2014, he received the Long Island Business News’ “Leadership in Law” award in the category of Associate.

Click here to read the press release.


Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC Promotes Jason Horowitz to Partner

The firm has promoted Jason Horowitz to Partner. He previously served as an Associate of the firm.

Mr. Horowitz concentrates his practice in the areas of zoning and land use planning, municipal and environmental law, real estate law and transactions and related litigation. He represents municipalities, real estate owners and developers, and individuals in zoning and all related real estate matters.

He is admitted to practice law in New York State and the New York State Supreme Court, Second Department, Appellate Division. He is a member of the Nassau County and New York State Bar Associations, the Long Beach Lawyers Association and is a Liaison of the Young Lawyers Section to the Municipal Law Section of the New York State Bar Association. He is also a member of the Long Island Real Estate Group and the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Click here to read the press release.


Southern Poverty Law Center Recognizes the Firm's Pro Bono Work Led by Joseph Bjarnson

The Southern Poverty Law Center has recognized the firm for its pro bono work in a case involving human trafficking. Since 2010, Mr. Bjarnson has spent countless hours working with attorneys at the SPLC to represent some 500 Indian nationals who were brought over to the U.S. by a marine fabrication company to work at its facility.

The case, which is currently on trial in the Eastern District of Louisiana, alleges that Signal International defrauded the workers out of "recruitment fees" while providing false hope of U.S. citizenship and attempting to control any retaliatory actions with threats of deportation.

The lawsuit charges Signal with civil rights violations and alleges that the company engaged in human trafficking, subjected its Indian employees to a hostile work environment and abused them because of their nationality. In the course of litigation, pro bono Counsel has been able to obtain important protections for the plaintiff. The company sought to obtain the workers' immigration status as a way to discredit the employees' testimony, but the Court ruled that doing so would have a chilling effect, in that it may result in foreign workers being afraid to express their rights in the workplace out of fear of retaliation or deportation.

The Southern Poverty Law Center recognized the firm and its efforts in an ad that appeared in The American Lawyer.

Click here to view the ad.


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