Dear Clients, Colleagues and Friends,
Events of the past week have affected all of us as we adjust to the measures we need to take to protect the health and safety of each other, and ourselves and families. We are committed to comply with all government directives to close our offices for normal business. At the same time, all of our attorneys, paralegals and staff are and have been working remotely. We are on line, and available virtually at all times. We are monitoring all advisories for the courts, and from the federal, state and local governments so that we can continue to serve our clients’ needs. We expect that events will continue to unfold at a rapid pace, and as they do, you have our assurance that we will be ready to deal with any issues that arise.
What is most important now is preserving the public health. We remain committed to serve our communities and our profession. We ask everyone to please think of the health care professionals, providers and first-responders who are on the front lines of confronting the Covid-19 pandemic. We are proud of their work, and know that they are serving to protect all of us. We honor their selfless service.
In the days ahead we will continue to communicate to all. In the meantime, we send everyone our most sincere regards. We wish for your good health and safety.
Yours truly, Michael H. Sahn
Dear Clients, Colleagues and Friends,
All of us at SWC are deeply concerned for the health, safety and welfare of everyone in our Country and throughout the World who is or may be affected by the COVID-19 virus. We are confronting difficult and unprecedented challenges in our personal and professional lives. No doubt, in the days and weeks ahead, we need to unite and work together to succeed in conquering this threat to our health and way of life.
We are committed to our fundamental principles of leadership and service to our clients, our communities and our profession. We remain steadfast to fulfill our mission to provide the highest level of legal advice and service. Please consider us as your resource for guidance and counsel in the days and weeks ahead. Our offices are open and our lawyers and staff are working remotely or in the offices.
We extend our sincerest wishes for good health for you and your families.
From my personal perspective, I am proud of all of my colleagues, and our entire staff, for their commitment and dedication, and appreciate your continued trust in all of us at SWC.
Michael H. Sahn
No area of law has more significant trends that will affect all of us in 2020 than Municipal and Land Use law. Here are the top trends from our team:
1. Housing of all kinds will dominate many discussions. There are so many housing variations that will demand our attention: Affordable Housing, Workforce Housing, Transit Oriented Development, housing for millennials, seniors and near seniors, Assisted Living in its many variations, and "fair housing". Where, and how, we allocate our resources to deal with housing issues, and where and how we live in the years ahead will be big issues at all levels of government.
2. Climate change will dictate more and closer scrutiny of environmental impacts and reviews of proposed developments. It does not matter where we live. We will confront issues such as rising sea levels, more severe weather events, global warming, alternative energy sources and the like head on in 2020. And, as the federal government rolls back regulations affecting many environmental concerns, the role of state and local government will grow more comprehensive and important.
3. The nationwide deployment of 5G technology will continue to generate community and public concern, and litigation. Everyone uses and wants more technology, data and faster internet service. But, when having 5G means more poles, nodes, transmission facilities and hot spots, the result is dispute and controversy. The federal government, through the FCC, has pre-empted most local regulation. But, that has not stopped the litigation and it won't. The horses are out of the gate on 5G and they aren't coming back. We are going to spend a lot of resources to hold it back where we don't want it instead of balancing where, how and when to allow it to be built.
4. After the Supreme Court's stunning reversal of established precedent in the Knick case to allow property owners to assert due process takings claims in the federal courts without first exhausting state court remedies, we expect more cases in both federal and state courts. These are highly complex legal issues. There is much to sort out but, as in many areas of law, we expect more litigation and claims. Local governing bodies must be careful in handling all issues or face the potential for more due process taking claims to defend.
5. Closer scrutiny of the real property tax structure will lead to closer scrutiny of development incentives, tax abatements, payment in lieu of tax agreements and the granting of tax exemptions for certain categories of uses. When real estate tax money is needed to fund so many local services and entitlements, the debate will only get louder on who gets what and who doesn't and the appropriate balance between encouraging development projects and incentives. As we learned from the failed Amazon project, there is no safe bet in this area of the law.
We need a new, long range vision for land use regulation. Why? Because the land we are regulating is changing rapidly. This presents challenges and consequences that we are only beginning to understand.
Read More the entire article at Innovate Long Island.
The practice of personal injury law has become a highly specialized and complex field. Navigating through the pitfalls of “threshold" issues and liens against a damage recovery is complicated. These liens can be for Medicaid/Medicare/Social Security Disability (SSD), Workers Compensation, and the like. It is easy to get caught up in disputed liens years after the case in chief is over or settled. In some instances, the lien holder may pursue remedies years after the case is concluded; against the client, attorney, or carrier before settlement. Additionally, "consent to settle" may be required prior to settlement with the carrier. Failure to do so will be fatal to a case. That is why the personal injury practitioner must pay particular attention to resolve these issues prior to completion of the case. Equally important is knowing the exact amount of the lien prior to making any settlement demand on the carrier in negotiations. In this way, the carrier could consider the lien amount in making a settlement offer.
Kyle Lawrence was recognized in the February 18th New York Real Estate Journal Semi-Annual Ones to Watch Spotlight. This special section recognizes the emerging talent and achievements of individuals within their professions. Read more here at New York Real Estate Journal's February 18, 2020 edition.
Kyle Lawrence led the Firm's team that guided its client, 31st & 3rd Pharmacy Inc and its principal owners, on the sale of the principals’ equity to affiliates of Kinderhook Industries, a private equity firm engaged in the healthcare services space, for $23.5 million. The purchaser was represented by Kirkland & Ellis. The Firm was able to successfully negotiate the transaction and completed the definitive agreements among the parties.
John Farrell recently represented Gesher Community LLC, in its application to the Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees for various incentive bonuses and zoning waivers for the proposed a redevelopment of the property at 733-741 Middle Neck Road. The current site houses five dilapidated buildings that have been underutilized for many years. The proposed development will include a four-story building with 25 residential apartments and public art gallery space on the first floor. This project represents a significant upgrade for the community and will enhance the character of the community.
Just like the economy, the Mergers and Acquisitions world is shaped by countless, ever-evolving factors. Numerous considerations, such as looming concerns of a recession (both globally and here in the United States), trade tensions with China and the uncertainty that is inevitable during presidential election years can dictate how and when companies should seek to expand their business vis-à-vis an M&A deal.
The U.S. saw approximately $1.5 - $1.7 trillion in domestic and international M&A deal volume in 2019, representing an approximate 8% decrease from 2018, while domestic IPO activity rose by approximately 45% from 2018 to approximately $60 billion in activity in 2019. Notable highlights include Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox for $84 billion, DowDuPont’s $40 billion spin-off of Dow Inc., and the $8.1 billion Uber IPO. A strong U.S. economy relative to Europe and Asia, increased valuations resulting from corporate tax cuts and decreased regulations seems to have caused over-valued businesses and increased corporate leverage, thus partially explaining the decrease.
Election years, like 2020, often cause market uncertainty as companies brace themselves for changes in the regulatory, economic and geo-political landscape. Fortunately for private equity investors and strategic buyers, this uncertainty often leads to (i) companies looking to remain proactive as a means of strengthening themselves during periods of uncertainty and staying ahead of their competitors, and (ii) potentially lower valuations. With record-levels of available cash being held by private equity firms (aka “dry powder”) estimated at $1.3 trillion at the outset of 2020, these investors will likely be chomping at the bit to take advantage of these reduced valuations as they aggressively seek to deploy those funds. On the other side of the equation, Ernst & Young’s latest “Global Capital Confidence Barometer” found that 52% of senior executives that responded to the survey expected their company to actively pursue an M&A transaction during 2020. In other words, 2020 should see an increase in M&A activity.
What does this mean for you and your business? The bottom line is that if you were ever thinking of selling or expanding your business, 2020 might be a golden opportunity for you to do so as these private equity investors and strategic buyers are potentially looking for companies such as yours. To that end, have you ever conducted a formal valuation of your business? Are you facing stagnant revenues and are unsure of how best to take your company to the next level? Are you looking to expand your business into new markets, new regions or expand your ability to offer new products? To discuss where to take your business in 2020, please feel free to contact me at KLawrence@swc-law.com or (516) 228-1300.
Michelle Greenberg, discusses the trends in commercial real estate that she thinks we will see in 2020:
• Despite the challenges WeWork faced since their failed IPO, there continues to be significant growth in the flex office space providers in the likes of Knotel and Spaces by Regus. Occupiers are looking for flexibility to grow and contract, as well as the ability to invest in retaining and attracting talent. Co-working offers a flexible menu of options with modern facilities which make including co-working a very attractive option as part of a corporate client’s real estate strategy. Additionally, given the competition and demand for amenity spaces, owners are creating their own brand to offer similar services in order to attract tenants.
• Tech growth continues – Despite Amazon HQ2 pulling out of Long Island City in 2019, leaving a $3 billion incentive package on the table, Silicon Valley keeps pushing forward in New York City. Facebook completed a deal in November 2019 to take 1.5 million square feet at 50 Hudson Yards and they are not the only tech company with grand New York City plans. The access to tech talent in the New York City metro area has been a catalyst to growth and look for this trend to continue in 2020.
• Sustainability efforts continue to trend as building owners try to minimize carbon footprints through implementation of energy efficiency improvements and savings. This will continue as New York City legislation goes into effect requiring buildings over 25,000 square feet to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 40% by 2030 increasing to a targeted 80% decrease by 2050). It is estimated that the Climate Mobilization Act will impact 60% of the current building stock as a result.
Christian Browne and Elaine Colavito successfully prosecuted their clients’ claim for title to property by adverse possession in a dispute between property owners in Long Beach. The case arose in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, when many properties in Long Beach were severely damaged. The storm brought down large trees in the clients’ backyard and destroyed a 40-year-old fence that ran along their rear property line.
The clients attempted to replace the fence on the same line after the storm, but the replacement drew an objection from their neighbor to the rear, who claimed that the fence was several feet on to his property. Subsequently, the neighbor sold his parcel to a developer who proceeded to knock down the clients’ new fence when he began construction of a new house on the neighboring lot. The firm's clients' commenced an action against the developer, claiming that they had acquired title to the area around the fence by adverse possession and seeking a judgment ejecting the developer from the disputed land.
After a trial before Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Steven Jaeger, the Court found that the Plaintiffs had proven their claim to title to the disputed land by “clear and convincing evidence.” The Court also ruled that the defendant developer should be ejected from the disputed area and awarded the clients money damages for the damage done to their fence.
Michael Sahn guided Fogo de Chao in opening its new, 300 seats upscale Brazilian steakhouse in Carle Place. Fogo de Chao has restaurants throughout the United States and in many countries. The restaurants feature top quality food, prepared in the traditional Brazilian culinary technique and upscale dining environments. The Firm represented the restaurant through a series of land use, zoning and administrative approvals to a successful opening just before the holidays. Read More here about the successful opening.
Adam H. Koblenz, serving as lead counsel, along with the assistance of Ralph Branciforte and Joseph D. Brees, recently mediated an employment and labor dispute that resulted in a successful settlement through mediation. A former employee filed various claims with the New York State Division of Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the Firm’s client, a large Queens based nationwide manufacturing and wholesale distribution business, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standard Act and New York Labor Law for, inter alia, wage, overtime, gender and age discrimination. As a strategic measure, Adam successfully steered the administrative and agency-based claims to private mediation instead of traditional litigation in State or Federal court. As this case demonstrates, mediation can serve as a cost effective method to resolve disputes, while saving the parties valuable time and resources often expended in protracted and costly litigation.
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