News & Events

Recent News & Events

Firm Represents Owner of Shopping Center in Northwell Health Expansion SWC logo

Michael Sahn, the Firm’s Managing Member, represented Northwell Health and the owner of the Calvert Manor Shopping Center in Seaford in obtaining site plan approval and building permits from the Town of Oyster Bay to renovate the shopping center building and the entire site, including new paving, landscaping, parking, drainage and amenities for Northwell Health’s 33,466-square-foot medical center.

To accommodate the Northwell facility, two free standing pad buildings will be removed, and a new 5,000-square-foot building will be constructed for a hair salon, bagel store and stationery store, all of which are existing tenants in the shopping center.

This was recently reported by Long Island Business News.

Click here to read the article.

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

Elaine Colavito had her "Bench Briefs" column published in the June 2019 edition of The Suffolk Lawyer. "Bench Briefs" is a roundup of recent decisions from Suffolk County trial courts.

To review these decisions, click here.






Q&A with Miriam Villani

Miriam E Villani

What are the two hottest issues in environmental law today?
In a nutshell, climate change and clean drinking water are the most significant environmental law concerns of the day. Both of these issues have global as well as regional and local impacts.

Clean drinking water is a global crisis. Here are some facts:

  • • 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services. (WHO/UNICEF 2017)
  • • 4.5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation services. (WHO/UNICEF 2017)
  • • 340,000 children under five die every year from diarrheal diseases. (WHO/UNICEF 2015)
  • • Water scarcity already affects four out of every 10 people. (WHO)
  • • 90% of all natural disasters are water-related. (UNISDR)
  • • 80% of wastewater flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused (UNESCO, 2017).

Regionally, in New York State, and locally, on Long Island, the regulatory agencies are in the process of investigating and developing standards for Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs), which include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluoro sulfonic acid (PFOS), as well as 1,4-Dioxane. These substances are currently known as emerging contaminants.

PFAs are part of a large class of chemicals containing fluorine that are toxic to the environment and animals, including humans. PFAs contamination results from manufacturing, industrial, and consumer uses and disposal activities. They are resistant to degradation and persist in soil, water, dust, and crops. The drinking water in New York State, including on Long Island where we have a sole-source drinking water aquifer, is contaminated with PFAs. Nationally, the maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFAs are being studied and recommended below 70 parts per trillion (ppt), but New York State is considering making the standard much more stringent at 10 ppt. Further, we can anticipate that PFAs eventually will be regulated by federal environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act ("CWA"), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ("RCRA"), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA").

1,4-Dioxane is a human carcinogen that has been found in groundwater throughout the United States and does not readily biodegrade in the environment. It was used as a stabilizer in certain chlorinated solvents, paint strippers, antifreeze, aircraft deicing, and in some consumer products such as deodorants, shampoos, and cosmetics. No federal MCL has been established for 1,4-Dioxane, but it is included in the Third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule as a drinking-water contaminant. Regulatory agencies are evaluating and considering regulation of this contaminant.

Climate change is one of the most pervasive and threatening issues of our time. It is expected to impact where people live, grow food, build, and rely on ecosystems. Temperature changes and sea-level rise are already putting ecosystems under stress and affecting human life and welfare and we can expect temperatures to continue to rise.

In the Northeast region, including New York State, heat waves, heavy downpours, and sea level rise pose growing challenges. Infrastructure, agriculture, and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised. As a result, many states and cities are beginning to incorporate climate change into their land use planning and regulatory programs.

In New York State, legislators just passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, a climate plan that requires the state to mostly eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Advocates believe that gasoline-powered cars and oil heat will be phased out, and electric power would come from carbon-free and renewable sources including wind and solar. New York's bill, which would create a carbon neutral or "net-zero" economy, sets one of the most ambitious climate targets by any lawmakers in the world. There is a lot that has to happen if the targets are to be met, however. The way people live and work will have to change, and making the kinds of changes necessary will take time. Advocates for the bill believe the people of the state will be able to meet the 2050 goal, though.

Why is environmental due diligence an important and necessary part of commercial transactions?
Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) have become a necessary tool when considering environmental liability associated with the purchase of real property. Phase I ESAs are often done by a purchaser or its lender as part of the environmental due diligence process. One of the reasons the purchaser undertakes an ESA is to qualify for certain protections and defenses under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund). The applicable provisions give the purchaser who does its all appropriate inquiry (AAI) or due diligence a way to avoid environmental liability for existing environmental impacts and conditions at the property.

An ESA can be useful for the seller as well. When time is of the essence, undertaking an ESA before the property is put on the market can serve to move the expected transaction to closing faster. The information obtained through the ESA informs the seller of any contamination or compliance issues that should be addressed prior to marketing. A clean Phase I ESA report can serve to reassure a prospective purchaser. A report and supporting documents indicating that conditions found during an ESA have been investigated and remediated to the regulatory agency's satisfaction, provides reassurance as well. Finally, even if environmental conditions are found through a pre-marketing ESA, a seller may decide to market the property as is with a plan for how it will address those concerns through negotiations and a well-drafted contract of sale.

How is technology changing your practice?
The profession of law has embraced technology, generally. Technology improves the accessibility and quality of legal services. It also reduces costs. There are significant ways technology is changing the profession, and my practice has benefited from those changes.

Technology has allowed lawyers to create value in new ways. One of the most basic but important has been the ability to draft a document such as an agreement once and use and reuse the bones of that document to develop new documents to suit various other sets of facts and circumstances. Using computers and specially designed software and programs to transfer information from one document to another, using an autofill tool, and simply cutting and pasting have become integral parts of the administrative part of the practice.

One of the benefits of technology for lawyers and clients alike is the streamlining of communications. Lawyers now can work remotely while expanding the ways they communicate with clients as well as with each other. Telecommunications of this sort make lawyers more productive. We can communicate with our clients wherever and whenever needed. I use text messaging, email, voicemail, and web conferencing in my practice.

Online communities are another useful tool. I belong to a New York State Bar Association Environmental and Energy Law Section community. The community connects me with other lawyers and law students allowing information to be shared and issues in our practice area to be discussed and debated. Social media is another forum lawyers use for networking and collaboration purposes. LinkedIn's focus on professional growth and networking make it the perfect social media for lawyers.

What motivated you to become an environmental lawyer? I have been interested in environmental protection since I was in elementary school. I wrote letters to my congresspersons about my concerns for the environment and what pollution was doing to it. I saved the responses I received and framed one dating back to 1970, and have it hanging in my office. When I was older, I went to law school to become not a lawyer, but an environmental lawyer.

The environment and the health of the planet impact everything. After all, without a healthy planet there would be no place for humans to live and work, making everything else irrelevant. So first and foremost is the environment.

A healthy environment means clean air, soil, and water. Activities that impact those media must be monitored and controlled. Strong, fair laws that uniformly address the health of the environment across the country and around the globe ensure the protection of the earth.

There have been periods of time when this country has made the protection of the environment a priority. One of those times was in the 1970s when I first became aware of and interested in environmental protection. Many of our environmental laws were enacted during that period. As time went on and we entered the 21st century, we became a global society. Countries around the world began working together to address the serious impacts of environmental contamination and climate change on the planet. The work of those of us in the United States dedicated to environmental protection has become challenging over the last couple of years, but that has made it all the more important. I have been involved in this vital effort as an environmental lawyer first for the United States Environmental Protection Agency and then as a lawyer in private practice, fulfilling the plan I made for myself years ago.


Firm Sponsors the Vision Long Island Awards & Touro Law Golf Classic

Firm Protects Property Owner’s Buildings from Kosciuszko Bridge Implosion

SWC was a sponsor of Vision Long Island's 18th Annual Smart Growth Awards, which took place on June 14 at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. The awards are given to those who stand out from others in their ability to create developments that encourage mixed use, providing housing choices for all types of families from various income levels, feature walkable neighborhoods and encourage use of public transportation, preserve open space and use clean energy, among others.

In addition, the Firm was a sponsor of the Touro Law Center's 15th Annual Golf Classic, which was held on June 24 at The Village Club in Lake Success. Chris J. Coschignano, a Member of the Firm and a 1990 Touro Law graduate, was the event's honoree, along with the Firm. Mr. Coschignano, Managing Member Michael H. Sahn, and Firm Partner John Farrell, who graduated from Touro Law in 2000, served as members of the Golf Committee.


Adam H. Koblenz Named to Children's Medical Fund of New York's Board of Trustees

Adam Koblenz

Once Again Serves as Co-Chair of the Tennis Committee for CMF's Annual Golf and Tennis Classic

Adam H. Koblenz, a Member and Partner with the Firm, was recently named to the Children's Medical Fund of New York's Board of Trustees (CMF). Mr. Koblenz has been actively involved with CMF for over a decade.

Two years ago, he and his wife, along with CMF's Board of Trustees and Men's Division, were instrumental in the opening of the Children's Medical Fund Center for Diagnostic Studies, a state-of-the-art MRI and diagnostic wing located on the fourth floor of the Cohen Children's Medical Center.

In addition, Mr. Koblenz once again served as Co-Chair of the Tennis Committee for CMF's 44th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic, which took place on June 17, 2019 at the Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury.

The 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 $87 million to help build, equip and secure ongoing funding for programs that are vital to the needs of seriously ill children and their families.


Elaine Colavito Recognized as Outgoing Chair of the Nassau County Women's Bar Association

Elaine Colavito

Elaine M. Colavito, a Partner with the Firm, was recognized as the outgoing Chair of the Nassau County Women's Bar Association (NCWBA) during the organization's Annual Installation Dinner, which was held on June 17 at Westbury Manor. In addition, she was recently installed as a delegate to the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY).

Ms. Colavito has been a longtime member of the NCWBA. She was the organization's President from 2018 to 2019, and served as President-Elect from 2017 to 2018. From 2015 to 2017, she was a Vice President and, prior to that, she served a two-year term as treasurer. In 2013, she received the NCWBA's Bessie Ray Geffner, Esq. Memorial Award for her demonstrated interest in improving the justice system, professionalism of the Bar and service to the community at large.

The mission of the NCWBA is to promote the advancement of the status of women in society and the legal profession; to promote the fair and equal administration of justice; and to act as a unified voice for its members with respect to issues of statewide, national and international significance to all women, and to female attorneys in particular.


Rezoning Approval Makes Way for Construction of Multifamily Housing

Firm Protects Property Owner’s Buildings from Kosciuszko Bridge Implosion

The Firm successfully represented an applicant on a rezoning application pertaining to a parcel located in the Nassau County hamlet of Inwood. The Hempstead Town Board rezoned a piece of property on Bayview Avenue to allow the client to build a new multifamily development for a total of 48 rental units and a parking lot. The new development will revitalize a blighted block and bring much-needed new housing to the Inwood community.


Appellate Court Reinstates Petition in Article 78 Proceeding Challenging Denial of Subdivision

Firm Protects Property Owner’s Buildings from Kosciuszko Bridge Implosion

The Firm represented a Petitioner in an Article 78 proceeding, in which the Petitioner challenged the denial of his subdivision application by the Town of Hempstead Board of Appeals. The trial court dismissed the client’s petition, claiming that the petition was insufficiently detailed and did not contain citations to the record of the Zoning Board hearing. However, on appeal to the Appellate Division, Second Department, the Firm successfully argued that the petition should not have been dismissed and that it is the obligation of the Zoning Board, not the Petitioner, to supply the record of the Zoning Board proceedings. The Appellate Division, therefore, reversed the decision and ordered the petition reinstated.


SWC Drives Porsche Dealership to New Home in Jericho

Michael H SahnNicholas Cappadora

Michael H. Sahn, the Firm's Managing Member, and Firm Associate Nicholas J. Cappadora guided Porsche Gold Coast to its magnificent new dealership facility in Jericho, securing land use and building construction permits over a complex, multi-year process. The new facility, housed in a stunning building, is located on the LIE South Service Road and is one of the largest Porsche dealerships in the Northeast.

The Firm had represented the dealership for many years in its former location in Roslyn. "We are really proud to have been part of a great team that made this new facility a reality," Mr. Sahn said. "We congratulate our client for this achievement."

Click here to read the Newsday article

Michael Sahn Served as Guest Speaker at "Long Island State of the Market 2019" Summit

Michael H Sahn

Michael H. Sahn, the Firm's Managing Member, was one of the guest speakers at the "Long Island State of the Market 2019" summit, which took place on June 6 at the Holiday Inn Plainview-Long Island. Mr. Sahn joined a panel of real estate professionals, moderated by Eric Alexander of Vision Long Island, who discussed such topics as trends in the Long Island industrial, retail, office and multifamily real estate markets; current projects; Opportunity Zones; future construction plans; and energy solutions.

Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC was also one of the event's sponsors. The event was presented by the New England Real Estate Journal and the South Shore Chamber of Commerce.


Joseph D. Brees Addresses Admissibility of Internet-Based Map Information as Evidence in the Latest Issue of the Nassau Lawyer

Joe D. Brees

Joseph D. Brees, an Associate with the Firm, wrote an article, “New York State Courts Permitted to Take Judicial Notice of Google Maps,” for the June 2019 issue of the Nassau Lawyer. In the article, Mr. Brees addresses how state courts may now take judicial notice of information derived from a web mapping service, i.e., Google Maps.

Late last year, Governor Cuomo signed into law Senate Bill S9061, allowing state courts hearing civil or criminal cases to take judicial notice of information provided by a web mapping service, a global imaging site, or an internet mapping tool. Before the law went into effect, the party that sought to have information from these sources entered into evidence would have to go through the time-consuming process of proving to the court that “the map is relevant, complies with New York’s rules of evidence, and could be admitted into evidence.”

The law, however, does not automatically allow the information into evidence. As Mr. Brees points out, an opposing party has no later than ten (10) days before trial to persuade the court that the information should not be judicially noted.

“It is worth noting how far courts have come in accepting reputable internet map information,” Mr. Brees wrote. “Today, however, internet map information is frequently used in a wide variety of areas, ranging from Uber drivers to attorneys. Accordingly, introduction of internet map information into evidence is a necessity, especially in premise liability cases, traffic cases and determining proper venue.”

Click here to read the article.


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

Elaine Colavito

Elaine Colavito's "Bench Briefs" column was published in the May 2019 edition of The Suffolk Lawyer. "Bench Briefs" is a roundup of recent decisions from Suffolk County trial courts.









Q & A with Michelle Greenberg

Michelle Greenberg

Michelle Greenberg recently joined the Firm as Counsel. She concentrates her practice in real estate law and transactions and brings an extensive amount of experience representing landlords, tenants, buyers, sellers, lenders and borrowers in handling complex commercial real estate transactions.

What does your practice entail?
My practice consists of handling all phases of commercial real estate transactions, including commercial leasing for both landlords and tenants, acquisitions and sales of commercial properties, and commercial financing for both lenders and borrowers.

What are the biggest challenges in handling a commercial real estate transaction? A commercial lease?
Generally, the biggest challenge in handling a commercial transaction is managing expectations of all the parties involved, both my client and the other side, to get everyone to the table to close a deal. The biggest challenge in working on a commercial lease is that, in addition to protecting my client’s interests in the present, I must also anticipate what their future needs might be, including changes to their business, growth, contraction and transfers, so that I can draft documents that will be protective of them in the future.

What trends do you see in the metropolitan New York real estate market?
There continues to be significant growth among flex office space providers in the likes of WeWork, Knotel and Spaces by Regus. Companies 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, we are also seeing owners creating their own brand to offer similar services in order to compete.

How will Mayor de Blasio’s bill banning the use of glass and steel in newly constructed buildings impact the New York City real estate market?
It is too early to say. The impact depends on the language in the legislation as ultimately signed into law. There has been some indication that the legislation will not be an outright ban on glass and steel, that developers will still be able to use those materials, so long as they employ other sustainability methods at their properties.

What attracted you to the more complex aspects of real estate law?
I’ve always been interested in real estate development and thought briefly about becoming an architect. Transactional real estate allows me to be part of a team bringing a real estate project to fruition, even if it is just providing the legal expertise to close a land purchase, obtain construction financing and putting revenue-generating leases in place.


Meet Our Newest Associate, Susan C. Finegan

Susan C. Finegan

Susan C. Finegan has joined the Firm as a new Associate. She will concentrate her practice in general litigation and real estate law and transactions.

Prior to joining the Firm, Ms. Finegan served as an Assistant Law Clerk to the Honorable Carmen Victoria St. George of the New York State Supreme Court, Civil Term. Before that, she was an associate attorney with Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. in New York City.

While attending Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in Central Islip, Ms. Finegan was the Research Editor of the Touro Law Review. She also wrote an article for the publication titled Conflicting Confrontation Clause Concerns: The Admissibility of Hospital Records Versus a Defendant’s Right to Confrontation, 29 TOURO L. REV. 1399 (2013).

Ms. Finegan is admitted to practice in the State of New York. She is a member of the New York City Bar Association.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton and a Juris Doctor at Touro Law Center. She resides in New York City.

“We welcome Susan to the Firm,” said Michael H. Sahn, the Firm’s Managing Member. “Her background, knowledge and experience will make her an excellent addition to our Firm.”

Susan C. Finegan (right) has joined the Firm as Associate. She is joined by (left to right) Firm Counsel Michelle Greenberg; Jon A. Ward, the Firm’s Member and Partner; and Michael H. Sahn, the Firm’s Managing Member.
Susan C. Finegan (right) has joined the Firm as Associate. She is joined by (left to right) Firm Counsel Michelle Greenberg; Jon A. Ward, the Firm’s Member and Partner; and Michael H. Sahn, the Firm’s Managing Member.


Newest Summer Associates Bring Both Legal and Military Experience to The Firm

2019 Summer Interns

Alexis Majano (pictured, left) and William D. Ramos (pictured, right) will join the Firm this month as Summer Law Associates. Both are second-year law students, who share the distinction of serving in the United States military and now attend the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University.

Mr. Majano served in the United States Marine Corps from 2014 to 2015 as a field radio operator in an infantry unit. He earned the rank of Lance Corporal. He remains in the Marines as a reservist.

Mr. Ramos was a captain with the United States Army’s Field Artillery Unit from 2004 to 2015. From 2004 to 2008, he was an enlisted logistical/operations non-commissioned officer (NCO) during Operation Iraqi Freedom III. In 2010, he was assigned to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he became executive officer/platoon leader. Two years later, he was named rear detachment commander during Operation Enduring Freedom and, in 2013, he became a liaison/operations officer in a Multiple Launch Rocket System/Army Tactical Missile System battalion.

Both expect to earn their Juris Doctor degrees in 2020. Mr. Majano is currently a research assistant in Hofstra Law School’s Law Logic & Technology Laboratory. Mr. Ramos is active in Hofstra Law School’s Dispute Resolution Society.

“We are excited and glad to welcome Mr. Majano and Mr. Ramos for this summer,” said Michael H. Sahn, the Firm’s Managing Member. “We are fortunate to have these two individuals who served our country with distinction intern with our Firm, and for the opportunity to contribute to their legal education.”

Alexis Majano (second from right) and William D. Ramos (right) will serve as Summer Law Associates at the Firm. Also pictured (left to right) Thomas McKevitt, Counsel with the Firm; Jon A. Ward, Member and Partner with the Firm; and Michael H. Sahn, the Firm’s Managing Member.
Alexis Majano (second from right) and William D. Ramos (right) will serve as Summer Law Associates at the Firm. Also pictured (left to right) Thomas McKevitt, Counsel with the Firm; Jon A. Ward, Member and Partner with the Firm; and Michael H. Sahn, the Firm’s Managing Member.


Firm Sponsors 2019 Marcum Workplace Challenge

Firm Sponsors 2019 Marcum Workplace Challenge

We will again be a supporting sponsor of this year's Marcum Workplace Challenge, which will take place on July 30 at Jones Beach State Park. A large contingent of the Firm will be participating in the 3.5-mile run/walk.

Last year, more than 8,400 participants from 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 from the event will benefit the Long Island Children's Museum, Children's Medical Fund of New York, Long Island Cares, Inc. — The Harry Chapin Food Bank and The Nassau County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.


Firm Successfully Lifts Notice of Pendency in Real Estate Litigation

Matthew McCann Christian Browne

Christian Browne and Matthew C. McCann successfully moved to vacate a notice of pendency indexed against a client’s home as a result of litigation over a contract of sale. The prospective buyer of the residential property cancelled the contract of sale, demanded the return of the down payment and filed a notice of pendency against the property to prevent its sale. Although the buyer terminated the contract, he claimed to have a “vendee’s lien” over the land, and used such claim to justify his imposition of a notice of pendency.

On behalf of the seller, Mr. Browne and Mr. McCann moved to cancel the notice of pendency, arguing that a buyer who, in essence, seeks the return of his down payment in a breach-of-contract dispute, does not have the right to file a notice of pendency, and may not assert an interest in real property that he does not wish to purchase. Justice Roy Mahon of Nassau County Supreme Court agreed, granted the firm’s motion and cancelled the notice of pendency.


Firm Attorneys Make Contributions to Nassau County Bar Association

Joshua Brookstein Christian Browne John Farrell Chris Coschignano

Chris J. Coschignano and John Farrell were appointed Co-Chairs of the Nassau County Bar Association’s (NCBA) Municipal Law Committee. Both attorneys practice municipal law and legislative practice, and have experience in local government. Mr. Coschignano served in Oyster Bay Town government for more than 25 years before stepping down in 2017. Mr. Farrell was an Assistant Town Attorney for the Town of Babylon and is currently serving as Counsel for the Village of Plandome Manor.

Chris Browne is slated to speak at the NCBA’s Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Lunch program, which is scheduled for May 20.

Joshua D. Brookstein has been named Chair of the NCBA’s Community Relations & Public Education Committee. Mr. Brookstein has been involved in the Bar Association as a Mentor for local school children through the NCBA and Mock Trial Team Coach for The Crescent School in Hempstead.

The Firm will be one of the sponsors of the Bar Association’s 120th Annual Dinner Dance, which will take place on May 11 at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale from 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. This year’s honoree will be Steven Gassman, Past President, NCBA.


Elaine Colavito Hofstra Law Recognizes Elaine M. Colavito for Commitment to Women in the Law at its 2019 Outstanding Women in the Law Reception

Elaine M. Colavito, a Partner with the Firm, was recognized by Hofstra Law for Commitment to Women in the Law at its 2019 Outstanding Women in the Law reception, which took place on April 22 at RXR Plaza in Uniondale.

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.

Click to read about Ms. Colavito from the program.

Elaine M. Colavito at the Hofstra Law 2019 Outstanding Women in Law Reception
Elaine M. Colavito (right), a Partner with the Firm, was recognized for Commitment to Women in Law at Hofstra Law’s 2019 Outstanding Women in the Law reception, which was held on April 22 at RXR Plaza in Uniondale. She is also joined by Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York President Greta Kolcon (left) and Nassau County Assistant District Attorney and Second Appellate Division Bureau Chief Tammy J. Smiley (center).


Chris J. Coschignano Chris J. Coschignano and the Firm to be Honored at Touro Law Center’s 15th Annual Golf Classic

We are proud to announce that Chris J. Coschignano, and the Firm of Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC, will be honored at the Touro Law Center’s 15 th Annual Golf Classic, which will take place on Monday, June 24 at The Village Club at Lake Success.

Mr. Coschignano is a 1990 graduate of Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. In 2015, he was named Touro Law Center’s Alumni of the Month, as well as being the recipient of the Keith Romaine Elected Official of the Year Award for his passion in government, in which he served the Town of Oyster Bay in various capacities for 25 years. He has also joined with the Firm in establishing the Chris J. Coschignano/Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded annually to a second-year law student who is interested in practicing in the area of land use or real estate law.

In addition, Mr. Coschignano will serve as a member of the Golf Committee, as well as Michael H. Sahn, the Firm’s Managing Member, and John Farrell, a 2000 graduate of Touro Law Center and one of the Firm’s Partners.

Click here to register.


Michelle Greenberg Michelle Greenberg Joins Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC as Counsel

Michelle Greenberg has joined the Firm as Counsel. Ms. Greenberg concentrates her practice in real estate law and transactions.

Her experience and expertise include all phases of commercial real estate transactions, contract negotiations, construction and mortgage loan financing, commercial property acquisitions, lease negotiations and IRC §1031 exchanges.

Ms. Greenberg is admitted to practice in the State of New York. She is a member of the Nassau County Bar Association, the Westchester Women’s Bar Association and Commercial Real Estate Women New York.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at the State University of New York at Binghamton and a Juris Doctor degree at American University Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C.

“I am pleased to join the Firm,” Ms. Greenberg said. “I am looking forward to working with a talented group of attorneys, building relationships with their real estate clients and serving the clients’ needs.”

“We are proud to welcome Michelle Greenberg to the Firm,” said Michael H. Sahn, the Firm’s Managing Member. “Michelle is highly accomplished and talented. Her wide-ranging experience in handling real estate transactions will be very valuable to our practice and a tremendous resource to the Firm’s clients.”


Michael H Sahn Michael H. Sahn to Speak at “Long Island State of the Market 2019” Summit

Michael H. Sahn, the Firm's Managing Member, will be one of the guest speakers at the “Long Island State of the Market 2019” summit, which will take place on June 6 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Holiday Inn Plainview-Long Island. Mr. Sahn will join a panel of real estate professionals, moderated by Eric Alexander or Vision Long Island, who will discuss such topics as trends in the Long Island industrial, retail, office and multifamily real estate markets; current projects; Opportunity Zones; future construction plans; and energy solutions.

Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC is also one of the event's sponsors. The event is being presented by the New England Real Estate Journal and the South Shore Chamber of Commerce.

Click here for more information on the event.


John-Christopher John P. Christopher Appointed to NYSBA Executive Committee, Joins The New York Bar Foundation Board of Directors

John P. Christopher, a Partner with the Firm, has been appointed as a member of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Executive Committee and has also joined the Board of Directors of The New York Bar Foundation.

Mr. Christopher concentrates his practice in the areas of zoning and land use planning, real property, municipal and legislative law. He is an active member of the Young Lawyers Section (YLS) of NYSBA, having previously served as chair of the section, and having served on the section’s executive committee in various capacities since 2011. Most recently, Mr. Christopher served as co-chair of the YLS’ 10th annual Trial Academy Program, held from April 3-7 at Cornell Law School in Ithaca. Mr. Christopher also serves on the executive committee of the Real Property Law Section, is a member of the NYSBA Committee on Cannabis Law and will begin a term as a member of the NYSBA Executive Committee on June 1, 2019.

Recently, Mr. Christopher was elected to serve as a director of The New York Bar Foundation’s Board of Directors, where his term will begin on June 1, 2019. Mr. Christopher will serve as one of 25 directors, consisting of distinguished lawyers from across the state of New York, who are charged with the management of the Foundation. Mr. Christopher has been a fellow of the Foundation since 2017.

“I am very honored to be part of both the New York State Bar Association’s Executive Committee and The New York Bar Foundation’s Board of Directors,” Mr. Christopher said. “I wish to thank my colleagues in both legal organizations for recognizing my achievements and I am looking forward to proudly joining them in serving the legal community and the public at large.”


Elaine Colavito headshot Elaine Colavito's "Bench Briefs" Appears In Suffolk Lawyer

Elaine Colavito had her "Bench Briefs" column published in the April 2019 edition of The Suffolk Lawyer. "Bench Briefs" is a roundup of recent decisions from Suffolk County trial courts.

To review these decisions, click here.





Michael H Sahn Michael Sahn Presents Award at 2019 Innovator of the Year Awards Ceremony

Michael Sahn, Managing Member of the Firm, was an announcer at the 2019 Innovator of the Year Awards ceremony, which was held at The Crest Hollow Country Club on March 26. The awards ceremony was hosted by Innovate Long Island for the fourth consecutive year. The Firm is proud to be a longtime sponsor of the organization. The list of honorees included persons with accomplishments in the areas of technology, clean energy, health science/medical devices, invention and craft food beverage. In addition to those areas, the event also had two special categories for No Boundaries and High School Student Innovation.

The full list of awardees can be found here on Innovate Long Island’s website.

Michael Sahn presenting at the 2019 Innovator of the Year Awards Ceremony


John-Christopher John Christopher Presents Grant to Brooklyn Defender Services

John Christopher, a Partner with the Firm, and Terrence Tarver were honored to represent The New York Bar Foundation and the Young Lawyer Friends of the Foundation in awarding a grant to Brooklyn Defender Services for veteran services. “We had the privilege of meeting with Executive Director Lisa Schreibersdorf and learned about the good work that Brooklyn Defender Services does for our veterans in New York City and its mission to provide high-quality legal representation to those who cannot afford to retain a private attorney,” Mr. Christopher said. “They are a great organization and we are very happy that we supported them this year with proceeds from our Veteran’s Day 24 Hours of Giving event.”

Michael Sahn presenting at the 2019 Innovator of the Year Awards Ceremony


Daniel-Braff Under Dan Braff's Leadership, the Firm Secures Another Approval for a Boutique Fitness Facility in NoMad

Daniel H. Braff, a Member and Partner with the Firm, secured a special permit from the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals for Akt-in-Motion's fitness facility at the second floor of 1182 Broadway in NoMad. The facility occupies the entire second floor of the mixed-use building, and has three studios, as well as changing rooms with showers, a retail and reception area, and office and meeting space. Akt-in-Motion offers a variety of fitness classes, and is known primarily for its dance-based cardio classes, which has a celebrity following.

The facility is deemed a Physical Culture Establishment under the Zoning Resolution of the City of New York, and requires a special permit from the Board of Standards and Appeals. The local Community Board supported the application.


Christian-Browne-2 Firm Wins Summary Judgment Invalidating Tax Deed

A recent opinion in Nassau County Supreme Court granted summary judgment in favor of the Firm's client in a proceeding challenging the validity of a tax deed. The Firm's client, the Plaintiff in the case, lost a piece of property through the Nassau County tax lien process. The County Treasurer transferred the Plaintiff's property to the Defendant by a tax deed. On behalf of the Plaintiff, the Firm demonstrated that both the County and new tax deed holder had failed to provide the Plaintiff with the required notices prior to the County's selling a tax lien to the Defendant and awarding him a tax deed to the Plaintiff's property.




Andrew-Roth Court Rules Charges of Malpractice against Real Estate Appraisers by Lender Were Time-Barred by Statute of Limitations

Andrew Roth, a Partner with the Firm, successfully defended two real estate appraisers and their firm against a claim by a lender alleging appraisal malpractice and seeking monetary damages in excess of $1.1 million. The central issue in the case was determining if the accrual of the three-year statute of limitations was applicable to claims of appraisal (professional) malpractice.

The Defendants (real estate appraisers) were retained by a mortgage broker to appraise a property located in Kings Park, New York in connection with purchase money mortgage financing. On February 12, 2015, the appraisal, in which the Defendants opined that the value of the subject property to be $4.6 million, was sent to the mortgage broker. Thereafter, the appraisal was delivered by the mortgage broker to the Plaintiff, who claimed to rely thereon in approving and funding two mortgage loans to the borrower. A third mortgage loan, issued by a non-party who did not rely on the subject appraisal, but which held a first priority position, also encumbered the subject property.

All three loans went into default. The Plaintiff foreclosed on one of its mortgages. As a result of the foreclosure sale of the subject property for $3.050 million, the senior mortgage against title was satisfied, resulting in a deficiency for the two mortgages held by the Plaintiff of $1,169,319.66.

The Plaintiff claimed that it relied on the appraisal in making the two loans, the Defendants failed to raise material facts in the appraisal, and they incorrectly valued the property.

Although the Plaintiff and Defendants agreed the statute of limitations for appraisal malpractice is three years, they disagreed as to when the statute of limitations began to run. The Plaintiff argued in opposition to the appraisers’ motion for summary judgment that the three-year period begins to run at the time all facts necessary to the cause of action have occurred and an injured party can obtain relief in court. The appraisers argued that the three-year period begins to run from the date the appraisal is submitted to the lender.

On January 29, 2019, Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Jerome C. Murphy granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment dismissing Plaintiff’s complaint. The Court held that, because the Plaintiff agreed to rely upon the subject appraisal in connection with its determination to approve mortgage financing, the three-year period accrued on the date the Defendants delivered the subject appraisal to the mortgage broker.

“We are pleased with the Court’s decision,” Mr. Roth said. “The Plaintiff waited more than three years after the delivery of the appraisal to take action against the Firm’s clients, so the Court was right to dismiss the action as time-barred.”


John-Farrell John Farrell Named Attorney for Village of Plandome Manor

John Farrell, a Partner with the Firm and head of the Firm’s Suffolk County office, was appointed counsel to the Village of Plandome Manor.

Mr. Farrell concentrates his practice in the areas of zoning and land use planning, environmental law, litigation and appeals and municipal law and legislative practice. His previous municipal experience included serving as counsel to the Town of Babylon’s Board of Zoning Appeals.

This was reported by The Port Washington Times.

Click here to read the article.


Joshua-Brookstein Thomas-McKevitt Joshua Brookstein and Tom McKevitt Lead Mock Trial Teams

During the past several months, Joshua Brookstein, an Associate with the Firm, and Firm Counsel Tom McKevitt led two local high school mock trial programs in their legal tournaments sponsored by the Nassau County Bar Association. Mr. Brookstein coached the Crescent School team in Hempstead, and Mr. McKevitt coached the Holy Trinity Diocesan High School team in Hicksville for the past 19 years. The mock trial program allows students to learn all the aspects of a trial. Both Mr. Brookstein and Mr. McKevitt helped to oversee and foster the teens’ interest in the legal and civic system by devoting time with them over the course of the fall and winter to prepare them for their match-ups. The teams eventually try their cases before real judges in actual courtrooms in Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola. This program educates students on the legal process and fosters greater awareness of all roles in the justice system.


miriam-e-villani Miriam E. Villani Serves as Editor-in-Chief of NYSBA's The New York Environmental Lawyer

Miriam E. Villani, a Partner with the Firm, serves as Editor-in-Chief of The New York Environmental Lawyer, a publication of the New York State Bar Association's Environmental Law Section, which recently published its Fall/Winter 2018 issue. In Ms. Villani's introductory message, she shared with the members what can be done to defend against the effects of climate change.




Elaine Colavito headshot Elaine M. Colavito to be Recognized for Commitment to Women in the Law

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 Michael Sahn Represented Northwell Health in Approvals for the Advanced Surgical Pavilion at North Shore University Hospital

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.

Click here to read the article.


kyle-lawrence Kyle Lawrence Named Partner at Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC

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."


Joseph D. Brees portrait Court Postpones Foreclosure Action on Church

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.

Click here to read the article.


Joseph D. Brees portrait Joseph D. Brees Joins Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC as Its New Associate

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 Thomas C. Haberlack Joins Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC as Counsel

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

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.

To review these decisions, click here.





michael-h-sahn Michael Sahn Writes Article Explaining Special Treatment of Educational and Religious Uses in Zoning Cases

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.

Click here to read the article.


Christian-Browne-2 Court Rules Town of Hempstead's Moratorium on Development on Woodmere Golf Course Unconstitutional

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.

Click here to read the article.


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