Welcome to the Fall/Winter 2011 edition of "Report from Counsel," a Newsletter for the Firm's clients and the other professionals who consult with the Firm, updating them on our practice as well as important new developments in the law.

SAHN WARD COSCHIGNANO & BAKER is a full service law firm concentrating in the areas of zoning and land use planning; real estate law and transactions; civil litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts; municipal law and legislative practice; environmental law; corporate / business law and commercial transactions; telecommunications law; labor and employment law; real estate tax certiorari and condemnation; estate planning and administration. The Firm is committed to providing its clients with the highest quality legal representation, counsel and advice, and to using our expertise to achieve our clients’ goals. The Firm has an extensive client base that includes Fortune 500 companies, prominent regional businesses, municipalities, government agencies and authorities, and individuals. Our offices are centrally located to serve our clients on Long Island and in New York City.

New Developments at the Firm

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano Cuts Ribbon on New Office Space
As the Firm Continues Its Expansion at The OMNI Building

     We were honored to have Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano cut the ribbon for our new office space on the seventh floor at a reception held on December 5, 2011. We were further honored to have many public officials join us, including Mayor Michael Koblenz, East Hills; William Burton, Esq., Village Attorney for East Hills; and Mayor Edward Adler, Village of Sands Point.  More


Michael Sahn, Jon Ward, Chris Coschignano, Daniel Baker, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano


Members of the firm were joined by elected officials
at ribbon cutting for new office space.

Michael H. Sahn Named By Super Lawyers For New York Metro Area 2011
and Recipient of Leadership in Law Award

     For the second consecutive year, Michael Sahn has been named by Super Lawyers magazine as one of the top 5% land use and zoning lawyers in the New York Metro area.  Michael Sahn was also named a recipient of the “Leadership In Law” Award at this year’s annual event presented by Long Island Business News.


Michael Sahn was presented
with Leadership in Law Award
by Mark Mulholland, Esq.


Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and
Michael Sahn took part in a groundbreaking ceremony with AVR Realty Company. More


Chris Coschignano was selected
to nominate Supreme Court
Justice Parga for re-election. More

The Firm Welcomes Associate Elaine M. Colavito, Esq.

     The Firm is very pleased to welcome its newest associate, Elaine M. Colavito. To read her complete biography, please visit the Attorney Profile section of our website. More

New Developments in the Law

Directors and Officers Liability and the Fiduciary Duty Owed to the Corporation
and its Shareholders Under New York Law

By Adam H. Koblenz, Esq.
     Directors and officers play a critical role in the management of the business affairs of a corporation. Under New York law, “the business of a corporation is to be managed by its board of directors.” COR Marketing & Sales, Inc. v. Greyhawk Corp., 994 F. Supp. 437, 441 (W.D.N.Y. 1998); N.Y. Business Corporation Law § 701 (McKinney 1997). It is well established under New York law that “officers, directors and majority shareholders of a corporation stand in a fiduciary relationship to the corporation and owe their undivided and unqualified loyalty to the corporation.” Young v. Chiu, 49 A.D.3d 535, 536 (2d Dep’t 2008); Alpert v. 28 Williams Street Corp., 63 N.Y.2d 557, 568 (1984). More

"Greening" New York State and Local Building Codes

By Jason Kaplan, Esq.
     In the coming years, a “green building” will no longer be an outlier, but will become the norm as more and more state and local governments enact “green” building regulations. New York and its municipalities have moved far slower in adopting green building standards, but that is likely to change dramatically in the next decade as the state finds ways to meet the Governor’s Executive Order 24 of 2009, which directs the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Buildings are responsible for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions, nationally, and 80% in New York City. While the motivation for green building may come from a consciousness of sustainability and climate change, an additional driver of green building is the truly measurable positive effect on the bottom line. More

Even Substantial Area Variances Are Warranted Under The Statutory Balancing Test
When There Is no Detriment To The Surrounding Community

By John P. Christopher, Esq.
     More often than not, the Judiciary in New York has taken a “hands off” approach in proceedings commenced under CPLR Article 78 to challenge a zoning board’s determination. In many cases, this has been the court’s position even when it appears the court may have made a different determination than the zoning board. Recently, however, the Appellate Division, Second Department, overturned a zoning board’s denial of six area variances required for a property owner to maintain its two-family home, finding that the board’s determination was irrational based on the record before it. See Matter of Cacsire v. City of White Plains Zoning Bd. of Appeals, 2011 NY Slip Op 06838 (2d Dept. 2011). Could this be a step by the Judiciary toward scrutiny of zoning board decisions? More

Matters of Interest at the Firm

     The Firm is pleased to continue to serve as Special Counsel to the City of Glen Cove. Michael Sahn, as Counsel to the Glen Cove Planning Board, provided legal representation to the Board in the proceedings resulting in the approval of the Glen Cove Village Piazza project.  To read news coverage about the Village Piazza, click here for a Newsday article. We are pleased to continue to be involved with the City’s forward-thinking leaders as the City prepares for its future.

     Michael Sahn took part in a groundbreaking ceremony held on November 28 in Carle Place, where AVR Realty Company is building a new Hilton Homewood Suites Hotel. Michael Sahn handled land use and zoning approvals and Chris Coschignano handled IDA financing for the project on behalf of AVR Realty Company, a longstanding client of the Firm.  More

     The Firm’s Litigation Department continues to expand under Jon A. Ward’s supervision and leadership. In recent months, the Firm has handled highly complex commercial matters involving cutting edge areas of the law.

     The Firm is pleased to serve as Special Counsel to the Board of Trustees of the Village of East Hills in the adoption of amendments to the Village Code relating to new zoning and land use restrictions for the former site of the Pall Corporation, which is located on Northern Boulevard. Steel Equities, a major Long Island-based developer, is redeveloping the site as a business and medical office building to be known as the East Hills Business Park.

     Dan Braff continues to serve as land use and zoning counsel on numerous projects in New York City. Dan recently filed an application for variances with the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals for a new house of worship in Queens. More

Out & About

     Chris Coschignano was selected to nominate Supreme Court Justice Anthony L. Parga of Syosset for re-election at The Tenth Judicial District Nomination Convention for Republican Justices. Chris noted that nominating Judge Parga was one of the highlights of his political and legal career.
 

Michael Sahn at the Hofstra Real Estate
Institute Best Practices
Group photo SWCB
Marcum Workforce Challenge

     Dan Baker and Michael Sahn continue to serve as Co-Chairs of the Nassau County Bar Association Real Property Law Committee. In that role, Dan and Michael conduct monthly meetings and Continuing Legal Education seminars attended by members of the legal community interested in discussing the latest issues and trends in real property law. Guest speakers and topics have included discussions on residential foreclosures, adverse possession and boundary line issues, landlord/tenant disputes and real estate transactional issues.

     On September 26, Michael Sahn joined a distinguished panel of speakers in a program entitled “Best Practices for Public Hearings.” The program was sponsored by Hofstra’s Institute of Real Estate Studies to provide training for municipal planning and zoning officials

     Environmental law partner Miriam Villani has contributed a chapter for the definitive treatise on environmental law in New York State, Environmental Law and Regulation in New York (West’s New York Practice Series). Miriam, a highly respected environmental lawyer in New York State, authored a chapter on the law pertaining to hazardous waste management. More

Up Close & Personal

     We are pleased to highlight Adam H. Koblenz, who joined the Firm as an associate last fall. Adam has established himself as a “rising star” among young attorneys on Long Island, and has taken on a leadership role in our Firm. Adam also serves as a Village Prosecutor for the Villages of East Hills and Old Westbury and is an active member of the Children’s Medical Fund of New York. Adam and his girlfriend, Bess, live in Manhattan, along with their dog, Riley. They enjoy traveling, movies, dining out, and politics. More

In Memoriam

     It is with deepest regret that the Firm announces the passing of Kenneth Auerbach on November 2, 2011. Ken was respected for his skills, wise counsel, and guidance. His dedication and commitment to clients and his friendship and camaraderie with the attorneys and staff of the Firm will be greatly missed. The Firm joins with Ken’s family and friends in mourning his passing.  More

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 Uniondale, New York 11553

 Telephone: (516) 228-1300 Telecopier: (516) 228-0038

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Table of Contents

Cover Page

New Developments at the Firm

New Developments in the Law

Directors and Officers Liability and the Fiduciary Duty Owed to the Corporation and its Shareholders Under New York Law

“Greening” New York State and Local Building Codes

Even Substantial Area Variances Are Warranted Under The Statutory Balancing Test When There Is No Detriment To The Surrounding Community

Matters of Interest at the Firm

Out & About

Up Close & Personal

In Memoriam

_____________________

Firm Partners

Michael H. Sahn
msahn@swcblaw.com

Jon A. Ward
jward@swcblaw.com

Chris J. Coschignano
ccoschignano@swcblaw.com

Daniel J. Baker
dbaker@swcblaw.com

 Miriam E. Villani
mvillani@swcblaw.com

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