Elaine M. Colavito, a Partner with the Firm, has been selected to receive an award for Commitment to Women in the Law. This award is being presented at Hofstra Law’s 2019 Outstanding Women in the Law reception being held at RXR Plaza in Uniondale on April 22.
The Outstanding Women in the Law Dinner recognizes women who have made meaningful and inspiring contributions to the legal community.
Ms. Colavito concentrates her practice in matrimonial and family law, trusts and estates, civil litigation and immigration matters. She is President of the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association and is a member of the Suffolk County Bar Association and the Nassau County Bar Association. In addition, she writes a monthly “Bench Briefs” column for Suffolk Lawyer, a publication for the Suffolk County Bar Association.
Michael H. Sahn, the Firm’s Managing Member, successfully represented Northwell Health before the North Hempstead Town Board, which unanimously approved plans for the health network to construct an eight-floor surgical pavilion at Northwell’s North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. The approval now allows Northwell to apply for permits at the town’s Building Department.
Mr. Sahn argued a new pavilion was needed to accommodate a growing number of patients awaiting surgery. The proposed pavilion, which would be located near Community Drive, would include intensive care units and operating rooms for procedures, such as bone marrow and liver transplants, and be accompanied by a 31,000-square-foot parking garage.
“We’re very pleased with what has happened so far with the town and we’re optimistic that Northwell will be able to build the facility and provide the care for everybody,” Mr. Sahn said.
This was reported by The Island Now.
Kyle Lawrence, who joined the Firm as Counsel in March 2018, has been promoted to Partner. Mr. Lawrence concentrates his practice in corporate and securities law, as well as real estate law and transactions.
Since joining the Firm, Mr. Lawrence has led the Firm's growing Corporate and Securities Practice by serving as the Firm's lead counsel on all types of corporate transactions, including asset and equity dispositions, private placements, mergers, business acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate finance, planning and strategies, licensing, manufacturing, supply and distribution agreements, as well as serving in a general outside advisory role to various businesses. With emerging and early-growth-stage companies among the Firm's clientele, Mr. Lawrence has been able to expand the Firm's scope of services to provide advice and guidance on all aspects of day-to-day corporate and business matters.
"We are extremely proud to have Kyle join our prestigious list of Partners at the Firm," said Michael Sahn, the Firm's Managing Member. "Kyle is an exceptionally talented and dedicated lawyer. He is a vital part of our practice, and he has earned the respect and confidence of our clients."
"I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and serving the Firm's clients in this new capacity," Mr. Lawrence said. "I can't thank Michael, and the rest of the SWC team, enough for this incredible opportunity."
Chris Browne, a Member and Partner with the Firm, successfully represented the Apostolic Church of God 7th Day in a foreclosure action in which the seller of a property in Nassau County — which was purchased by the church — sought to foreclose on the church for nonpayment of taxes.
In September 2016, the church moved from its original location in St. Albans, Queens to Valley Stream, placed a 50% down payment on the $725,000 purchase price and took out a $362,500 mortgage from L&L Associates Holding Corp., the property’s seller, to be paid over three years. Two months later, the church applied for tax-exempt status with Nassau County. The church did not receive tax-exempt status until April 2017 and, unbeknownst to the church, it continued to accrue taxes on the St. Albans property during that time.
In November 2017, L&L began foreclosure actions against the church after receiving a notice of unpaid taxes from Nassau County. Although the church was able to pay off $100,000 in back taxes and wanted to continue paying the mortgage, L&L refused to accept any loan payments from the church. Further, the seller was seeking an additional $70,000 in interest and penalties.
On December 21, 2018, the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division allowed the foreclosure action to be postponed. The decision allows the Firm to file an appeal.
This was reported by Long Island Business News.
Joseph D. Brees has joined the Firm as a new Associate. Mr. Brees will concentrate his practice in litigation and appeals, including commercial and corporate litigation, and real estate law and transactions.
Mr. Brees earned his Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Binghamton (B.A., 2015), cum laude, and his Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law (“Maryland Law”) (J.D., 2018). While attending Maryland Law, Mr. Brees interned for the Honorable W. Michel Pierson, Circuit Administrative Judge of the Baltimore City Circuit Court. He also performed pro bono work for Maryland Law’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic. Mr. Brees also served as a Staff Editor, Executive Articles Editor, and Member of the Editorial Board of the University of Maryland Journal of Business & Technology Law. He is the author of Trade Secrets Go Federal – Parade to Follow, 12 J. BUS. & TECH. L. 277 (2017), which analyzes the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 and its impact on the U.S. economy.
Mr. Brees is admitted to practice in the State of New York.
“We welcome Joseph to the Firm,” said Firm Member Adam H. Koblenz. “Joseph is dedicated, bright and is quickly developing into a big asset to our clients and our growing practice.”
Thomas C. Haberlack has joined the Firm as Counsel. Mr. Haberlack concentrates his practice in the areas of estate planning and administration, trusts and elder law.
Mr. Haberlack is admitted to practice law in the State of New York. He is a member of the Surrogate's Court Estates & Trusts Committee and the Elder Law Social Services and Health Advocacy Committee of the Nassau County Bar Association.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a Juris Doctor from St. John's University School of Law.
"We welcome Mr. Haberlack to the Firm," said Michael H. Sahn, the Firm's Managing Member. "Tom has extensive experience and knowledge, and our clients are benefitting from his guidance and counsel."
"I am excited to be a part of Sahn Ward," Mr. Haberlack said. "I look forward to working with the Firm's clients to help them address their estate planning and elder law needs."
In addition to serving as Counsel with the Firm, Mr. Haberlack continues to serve as principal of his own firm, Law Office of Thomas C. Haberlack, P.C. in Garden City.
Elaine Colavito had her "Bench Briefs" column published in the February 2019 edition of The Suffolk Lawyer. "Bench Briefs" is a roundup of recent decisions from Suffolk County trial courts.
Michael H. Sahn, the Firm's Managing Member, wrote an article entitled "Deferential Treatment of Zoning and Land Use Applications" that was published in the January 2019 issue of Nassau Lawyer, The Journal of the Nassau County Bar Association. The article focused on the accommodation and deferential treatment that educational and religious institutions are entitled to receive from municipalities in land use applications.
In the article, Mr. Sahn explained that, in recent decisions, the state courts have expanded their interpretation of circumstances warranting such treatment. The article also discussed the enactment of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLIUPA) by the federal government and the state courts' expansion of the definition of "educational use" in land use and zoning matters.
Mr. Sahn gave advice to land use and zoning practitioners in handling cases involving religious and educational uses. "Given the expansive interpretation of the types of educational and religious uses entitled to accommodation and deferential treatment, and the RLUIPA statute applicable to religious uses, it is important to identify the potential for a proposed use to fit within the framework of accommodation," he wrote.
Court Applies Rational Basis Test in Finding Moratorium Served No Proper Purpose
Christian Browne, a Member and Partner with the Firm, successfully represented the owners of the Woodmere Club against the Town of Hempstead, which placed a series of moratoria on any development on the golf course property. The court ruled that the moratorium extensions served no purpose, other than to deprive the owners of their property rights, and was, therefore, unconstitutional.
The Plaintiffs purchased the property with the intent of developing residential housing, which was allowed under current zoning law. But before the closing, community opposition to the project began to grow and, as a result, the Town instituted a moratorium on any construction. On January 2017, the Town retained the services of Cameron Engineering & Associates to identify any impacts to the surrounding neighborhoods. In order to complete its work, the firm requested - and was granted - numerous moratoria.
The report was not completed until May 2018. A vote on the project was scheduled for the same month, but some members of the Town Board asked to postpone the vote indefinitely. The moratorium was then extended three more times on June 2018, September 2018 and November 2018.
In its decision, the Court applied the rational basis test to the Town's moratorium, in that the Court must determine "whether there is any rational basis that supports the Town's latest extensions of the moratorium in June, September and November 2018." The Court ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs, stating that the moratorium was "unconstitutional because it serves no proper purpose and it has now been extended beyond a reasonable time. … Absent a valid reason for the continuation of the moratorium, it must be stricken down."
"We are very pleased with the Court's decision," Mr. Browne said. "Rather than follow the rule of law, the Town bent to community pressure and, as a result, my clients' rights were violated. The Town abused its authority in continually extending the moratorium for no reason, which was an unconstitutional act."
This was reported by the Long Island Herald.
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