Super Lawyers Recognizes Fourteen Attorneys at Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC
Super Lawyers has recognized 14 attorneys from the Firm for 2018 honors. The 14 attorneys, amounting to nearly two-thirds of the Firm's Partners and Associates, were recognized in the practice areas of land use and zoning law, real estate law, environmental law, family law, and business and general litigation.
Six attorneys were selected to the 2018 New York Metro Super Lawyers list and eight more attorneys from the Firm have been selected to the 2018 New York Metro Super Lawyers "Rising Stars" list.
The attorneys recognized as "Super Lawyers" and their respective practice areas are as follows:
The attorneys recognized as Super Lawyers "Rising Stars" and their respective practice areas are as follows:
"It is an honor to be named personally, but much more important is the credit and honor to the Firm to have so many of our attorneys recognized by Super Lawyers," said Michael Sahn, the Firm's Managing Partner. "We are very pleased and gratified. This recognition reflects the outstanding and talented lawyers who serve our clients."
The Super Lawyers list is issued by Thomson Reuters. A description of the selection methodology can be found at https://www.superlawyers.com/about/selection_process.html . No aspect of this article has been approved by the Courts of the State of New York.
Elaine Colavito had her "Bench Briefs" column published in the September 2018 edition of The Suffolk Lawyer. "Bench Briefs" is a roundup of recent decisions from Suffolk County trial courts.
To review these decisions, click here.
Attorney Will Join the Firm's Litigation and Appeals Practice Group
Matthew C. McCann has joined the Firm as an Associate in its Litigation and Appeals Practice Group. Mr. McCann concentrates his practice in litigation and appeals. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, as well as before the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. McCann was a Senior Litigation Associate at a prominent New York City firm, where he handled all aspects of employment law cases in state and federal court, and related bankruptcy proceedings, with a focus on employment matters in the financial industry. He also has experience representing clients in white collar criminal defense matters. Prior to entering private practice, Mr. McCann served as a Law Clerk in the Staff Attorney's Office of the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.
Mr. McCann has published two articles in the ABA Young Lawyers' Division Criminal Justice Committee Newsletter: "Rikers Island To Close" (Summer 2017) and "A Different Kind of Employment Law: Understanding Corporate Liability for Employees" (Fall 2016). His other two articles - "The Constitutionality of the SEC's Administrative Proceedings: Is The Home-Court Advantage Disappearing?" (November 2017) and "A Primer on Corporate Liability for Employees' Civil Wrongs and Criminal Acts and Omissions" (January 2017) - appeared in LexisNexis® Emerging Issues Analysis Research Solutions.
While attending Brooklyn Law School, Mr. McCann served as a Law Clerk for the late Honorable Joseph McLaughlin of the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. He was also a Legal Intern with the United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York, Criminal Division and the Gangs Bureau at the Kings County District Attorney's Office.
From 2015 to 2017, Mr. McCann was named to the list of Super Lawyers' New York Metro area's Rising Stars. Since 2015, he has maintained a Martindale-Hubble 4.9/5.0 AV Preeminent® Rating.
From 2016 to 2017, Mr. McCann was Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division, Criminal Justice Committee. He also served as Criminal Discovery Subcommittee Chair of the New York City Bar Association, Criminal Law Committee from 2012 to 2015.
Mr. McCann is a member of the American Bar Association, the New York City Bar Association and the Regis High School Bar Association. He is admitted to practice law in New York and before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
He is a graduate of Regis High School, Cornell University and Brooklyn Law School. He resides in New Hyde Park with his wife and two sons.
"I am excited to be working with my colleagues at the Firm in all types of litigation and appeals," Mr. McCann said.
"We are very pleased that Matthew is joining the Firm," said Jon Ward, a Member and Partner with the Firm and Chair of the Firm's Litigation and Appeals Practice Group. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Firm in representing clients before various federal agencies, and has a strong understanding of handling various types of litigation and administrative proceedings, as well as the appeals process."
The announcement appeared in InnovateLI in the “On The Move” section. Click here to read the article.
Miriam E. Villani, a Partner with the Firm, was featured in Long Island Business News’ “Who’s Who in Professional Women,” which appeared in the August 24-30, 2018 issue. Who’s Who in Professional Women highlights some of the most innovative and talented business women on Long Island whose dedication and commitment to their company and to those they serve remain at the forefront of their work.
Ms. Villani said her main focus this year has been the changes in federal environmental policy, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency eliminating many regulations that were put in place by the previous administration. She said, as a result, the current rollbacks will undo decades of environmental protection, which is important for her clients to understand.
“The agency recently has rolled back a significant number of regulations and programs that were intended to protect our air and water quality,” she said. “In addition, since taking office, the president has taken steps to save and bolster the coal and the fossil fuel industries; allowed offshore drilling in protected waters and fracking on environmentally sensitive land; and pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Accord.”
To read the article, click here.
Michael Sahn (kneeling, fourth from right), the Firm’s Managing Partner, and Firm Partner John Christopher (kneeling, third from right) are pictured with other sponsors from the Marcum Workplace Challenge.
Attorneys and staff members from the Firm join together for a photo at the 2018 Marcum Workplace Challenge.
Once again, Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC was a supporting sponsor of this year’s Marcum Workplace Challenge, which was held on July 31 at Jones Beach State Park. A large contingent of the Firm took part in the 3.5-mile run/walk.
Approximately 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 went to 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 Partner John Farrell at the Firm’s new Suffolk County office in Hauppauge.
The Firm recently opened a new office in Hauppauge. Partner John Farrell, who is the leading the new office, explains his role and why the Firm established its Suffolk office, the difference between handling land use and real estate matters in Suffolk and Nassau Counties and the recent trends in Suffolk County land use transactions.
What made the Firm decide to establish an office in Suffolk County?
We see great potential for growth of the Firm in Suffolk County in a variety of practice areas, including real estate transactions, land use development, municipal law, matrimonial law and litigation. Over the past several years, the number of clients we represent in Suffolk County matters has increased substantially and having a physical presence in the county allows us to better serve those clients. We are more accessible to them and we are closer to the Suffolk County courts and the various municipalities where we handle land use applications.
In terms of land use development, how is dealing with Suffolk County towns and villages different than Nassau County towns and villages?
There isn’t a significant difference between the various towns and villages in Nassau and Suffolk. Each municipality has its own rules and regulations, but, at the end of the day, they all want good developments that help strengthen the local economy without harming the quality of life for all of their residents. I have had the opportunity to represent land use clients in almost every town in Nassau and Suffolk, and I have found that doing your due diligence on a project and understanding what the town’s zoning objectives are is critical to bringing a successful application.
What trends are you seeing in Suffolk County land use?
Development trends across Suffolk County include a shift to more multifamily and mixed-use development as a way to relieve the cost of living for young Long Islanders. Towns and villages in Suffolk County are much more supportive of these types of development than they were 15 to 20 years ago because they are seeing the success it is having in areas that embraced this type development many years ago.
As a Suffolk resident, how are you involved in the county on a personal level (community involvement, volunteering, etc.)?
I am a youth soccer coach for Babylon Soccer and I coach tee ball for West Babylon Little League. Recently, my wife and I hosted an event at our home and collected food items for the local food pantry. The event went very well and we are going to continue to do this several times throughout the year. I also serve as a member of the Town of Babylon Board of Appeals.
Firm Partner John Christopher gives introductory remarks at the New York State Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section Summer Meeting.
John Christopher, a Partner with the Firm, was one of the program co-chairs for the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Young Lawyers Section (YLS) Summer Meeting, which was held June 29-30 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Saratoga Springs. During the two-day event, attorneys learned how improving one’s memory can help them win a case, how introverted attorneys can make themselves heard as impactful advocates and the importance of mindfulness to improve one’s ability as an attorney.
Mr. Christopher is the immediate past Chair of the NYSBA YLS, the YLS Liaison to the Real Property Law Section and a member of the NYSBA Committee on Cannabis Law.
Adam H. Koblenz, a Member and Partner with the Firm, and Matthew Rappaport, Counsel with the Firm, hosted a seminar on June 14 in conjunction with Laffey Real Estate for Nassau County homeowners titled “The Taxman Cometh: Understanding the 2018 Tax Package and the Impact on Homeowners in Nassau County.” The seminar was held at the Bryant Library in Roslyn.
During the seminar, Mr. Koblenz and Mr. Rappaport addressed several issues, including whether prospective homebuyers’ plans for homeownership will be affected by the new federal income tax laws, the impact on the Nassau County real estate market, and if senior citizens should sell their homes sooner than planned.
The Firm was also one of the seminar’s co-sponsors.
The Firm recently represented MovieWorld, a family-owned and operated movie theater located in the Douglaston Plaza shopping center, in connection with the termination/buyout of its lease. The theater had been in operation since 1983, and the current owners had been operating it since 2012. The lease termination/buyout was necessary for the landlord, Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation, to bring in a new Lowe's store, which will contain approximately 110,000 square feet. Lowe's will also be taking over the former Macy's space for its new location.
The theater's closure was reported on by several media outlets, including NY1, QNS.com, the Times-Ledger and the Wide Screen World blog.
Miriam E. Villani, a Partner with the Firm and responsible for the Firm’s Environment, Energy, and Resources Practice Group, is advising several industrial clients in connection with citations issued by the United States Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) for employee exposure, employee training, and other workplace health and safety issues. In this growing area of the Group’s practice, Ms. Villani helps to bring the client employer into compliance and negotiates a settlement with the regulator.
Ms. Villani continues to work on several New York State brownfield matters where she provides guidance to prospective purchasers with regard to environmental risk and liability so that an informed decision is made concerning the purchase of the contaminated property for redevelopment. Once the transaction is completed, she assists the purchaser with an application to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) and negotiates the terms of the Brownfield Cleanup Agreement. The BCP includes tax benefits as an incentive for the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated properties.
Wayne Edwards, a Partner with the Firm, recently represented the seller of a Massapequa nursing home in the sale of the property and facility in a $12.1 million real estate transaction. The 169-bed nursing home was sold to the existing operator.
Dan Braff, a Member and Partner with the Firm, is serving as a member of the Planning Committee for the Cohen Children's Circle Golf Classic, which will take place on Monday, August 13 at Fresh Meadow Country Club in Lake Success and Deepdale Golf Club in Manhasset. Mr. Braff is an active member of Cohen Children's Circle, which supports and raises funds for the Child Life Program at Cohen Children's Medical Center.
Once again, Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC will be a supporting sponsor of this year's Marcum Workplace Challenge, which will take place on July 31 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 195 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.--
Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC is once again proud to sponsor this summer's events at the Jeanne Rimsky Theater at Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington. The theater will feature live musical performances.
For more information about the summer schedule, please visit landmarkonmainstreet.org
Elaine Colavito had her “Bench Briefs” column published in the June-July 2018 edition of The Suffolk Lawyer. “Bench Briefs” is a roundup of recent decisions from Suffolk County trial courts.
To review these decisions, click here.
Construction of New Sales and Service Facility for Biener Audi’s Pre-Owned Sales Division to Take Place at Site of Former Restaurant
Michael H. Sahn, a Member and the Managing Partner with the Firm, successfully represented its longstanding client, Biener Audi, in obtaining land use and related building approvals from the Village of Thomaston to construct a new showroom and service facility for its pre-owned sales division on a 1.08-acre site at 661 Northern Boulevard in Great Neck. The new facility will have approximately 12,900 square feet devoted to sales and service.
The site is just west of Biener Audi’s main facility at 795 Northern Boulevard. The site was previously used as a steakhouse restaurant.
“We are very pleased to accomplish this project with Biener Audi, one of the top-performing Audi dealerships in the United States,” Mr. Sahn said. “This new dealership facility will allow Biener to continue to grow and serve its customers.”
This was reported by The Island Now and Long Island Business News.
Michael H. Sahn (seated, center), a Member and the Managing Partner with the Firm, speaks at the 2018 “Future of Long Island Commercial Real Estate” summit. He is joined by (left to right): Eric Alexander (standing), director of Vision Long Island; Ron Koenigsberg, founder of American Investment Properties; and Anthony Manetta, a consultant with HB Solutions LLC.
Photo Courtesy of Ron Koenigsberg
Michael H. Sahn, a Member and the Managing Partner with the Firm, was one of the panelists at the 2018 “Future of Long Island Commercial Real Estate” summit, which took place on June 7 at the Holiday Inn-Plainview Long Island. Mr. Sahn moderated a panel of real estate professionals who discussed such topics as the latest developments in real estate, an overview of the real estate market, the latest in real estate technology, advances in commercial real estate research and acceleration of the sales process.
Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC was also one of the event's sponsors. The event was presented by the New York Real Estate Journal and American Investment Properties.
The summit was featured in the July 3 issue of New York Real Estate Journal.
Elaine Colavito (left), a Partner with the Firm, is sworn in as president of the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association (NCWBA) by The Honorable Andrea Phoenix, past president of the NCWBA, during the organization’s installation dinner on June 11.
Attorney colleagues, family and friends join Firm Partner Elaine Colavito (fourth from right) at the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association installation dinner. Ms. Colavito was installed as the group’s new president.
Elaine Colavito, a Partner with the Firm, was installed as the new president of the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association (NCWBA) at the organization’s annual installation dinner on June 11. Ms. Colavito has been a member of the NCWBA since 2012, serving as board member, treasurer and vice president. In 2013, the NCWBA awarded Ms. Colavito with the Bessie Ray Geffner, Esq. Award.
Joshua D. Brookstein, an Associate with the Firm, has been appointed as a member of the Teach For America – New York Junior Board. Formerly known as the Young Professionals Committee, The Junior Board is committed to creating positive change within the movement for education equity in New York City. Since 2009, the board has raised approximately $1 million to support Teach For America – New York’s corps members, alumni, while serving more than 110,000 children.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. Brookstein was an educator. Upon graduating from college, Mr. Brookstein joined Teach For America and was assigned to teach sixth grade in the South Bronx. Mr. Brookstein subsequently became an assistant principal at his school and served in such capacity throughout law school.
Mr. Brookstein remains passionate about working with children and volunteers as a mentor at an elementary school in Hempstead, New York, and as the high school mock trial coach to the Crescent School, also in Hempstead, New York.
The Honorable Edward G. McCabe, Special Counsel to the Firm, was recently recognized by the Nassau County Bar Association and the Town of Hempstead for his distinguished career as an attorney, judge, and public servant. Justice McCabe also participated in a ceremony at the Supreme Court in Mineola honoring longtime colleague Kathryn Driscoll Hopkins, Chief Clerk of the Nassau County Supreme Court, who received the Patriot Award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve at a special ceremony on May 21. With 60 years of experience as a practicing lawyer, we thought it was an ideal opportunity to ask Justice McCabe about his distinguished career and share some photos of these recent events.
Why did you decide to become a lawyer?
I worked on Wall Street for a firm called Squires & Co. I was at a meeting to discuss the hostile takeover of a public corporation. After all the executives had their say, it was finally decided it was best to have the attorneys make the decisions. The next day, I enrolled in New York Law School.
Of all the positions you have held as Assistant District Attorney, Town Attorney, County Attorney, Supreme Court Judge, Administrative Law Judge and Presiding Judge of the Appellate Term, which was the most challenging and rewarding?
Administrative Judge of the Nassau County Courts.
What do you consider your most important accomplishment in your public service to the courts?
Reducing the delay times of four years for jury trials to eight months, and non-jury trials from 18 months to two weeks. Also, I was able to initiate a program with AHRC that helped individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, while also aiding the Court. Together with the Red Cross, we established a blood drive with the jury pool. On 9/11, I kept the courts open. That day, we saw the largest number of blood donations we had ever seen.
You have mentored many lawyers over the years who have gone on to achieve success in the law, and, in fact, now serve as judges in the federal and state courts. Why do you think you are such a successful mentor?
I tried to give them the confidence in their own abilities, and stood behind the decisions they made.
Now that you are back in private practice, what trends do you see in the legal profession – both good and bad – and how has the law practice changed over the years?
I feel there is less congeniality, and the lawyers are not as civil and professional as they once were.
What advice would you give a lawyer who was just starting out in practice?
Become more involved with professional and business associations, so that people will recognize your skills.
For photos and to read more, click here.
Christian Browne, a Member and Partner with the Firm, is co-counsel with a legal team that is representing a group of Long Beach residents who successfully argued before the Long Beach Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) that the permits and variance approvals for the large-scale mixed-use development, known as the Superblock project, had expired. Therefore, the City could not issue or extend any building permits for the project.
The proposed project called for two 15-story apartment buildings with 11,000 square feet of retail space and two levels of underground parking on a piece of property along the boardwalk, located between Riverside Boulevard and Long Beach Boulevard. On January 2014, the developer was granted the necessary permits, as well as a variance, allowing the developer to exceed the City’s height limit. The following year, the City issued a foundation permit, which the Building Commissioner extended twice and was set to expire on May 28, 2018.
The developer claimed that it had complied with the terms of its agreement with the City, began work on the project as required and had vested rights to the project. The developer further claimed that the building permits and variances were valid.
The citizens appealed the issuance of the permits to the BZA. On May 24, 2018, the BZA ruled that the developer did not comply and failed to begin construction in a timely fashion. As a consequence, the building permits and the variances have been revoked and construction on the project has ceased.
“We are extremely pleased with the BZA’s decision,” Mr. Browne said. “These permits were never supposed to be issued in the first place. The developer missed the deadline in obtaining the permits and never began construction on the project in a timely fashion. This is a victory for Long Beach residents.”
This was reported in Newsday.
John Farrell, a Partner with the Firm, successfully represented a property owner before the Islip Town Board in receiving approvals for a change of zoning to develop Gracewood Estates, a proposed 96-unit apartment complex to be built upon a 9.78-acre undeveloped parcel of land in Islip. The project features a residential apartment building with 96 non-age-restricted units and an adjacent self-storage facility. The Town Board approved the zoning change on April 26. Chris Coschignano, a Member and Partner with the Firm, worked with Mr. Farrell on this matter.
Firm Partner Elaine Colavito (left) receives the Outstanding Women in Law Award from Justice Gail Prudenti (right), dean of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. (Photo: Philip Hinds)
Elaine Colavito, a Partner with the Firm, was honored by the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University as one of its Outstanding Women in Law during a special ceremony at the Milleridge Inn in Jericho on April 24. Outstanding Women in Law celebrates women who have made a meaningful and inspiring contribution to the legal community.
Ms. Colavito serves as president-elect of the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association (NCWBA) and will begin her term as the group’s president later this year. She previously served two terms as NCWBA’s vice president and was a member of the group’s Working Parents Committee, which discussed strategies on how to maintain a work/life balance. In 2013, the NCWBA honored Ms. Colavito with the Bessie Ray Geffner, Esq. Award.
In addition to serving with the NCWBA, she is a member of the Suffolk County Bar Association, the Nassau County Bar Association and the Columbian Lawyers. Ms. Colavito is also an author and lecturer. She is the author of “Bench Briefs,” a monthly column for The Suffolk Lawyer which is a roundup of recent decisions from Suffolk County trial courts.
Miriam E. Villani, a Partner with the Firm, presented a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) course “Completing a Successful Transaction Involving Contaminated Property” at the Basics of Environmental Law 2018 seminar.
In her presentation, Ms. Villani discussed how environmental issues or conditions are the focus of most commercial real estate transactions, especially when the current or previous use is manufacturing, dry cleaning, gasoline station, auto body and repair shops, and landfill use. Such uses that result in discharge or runoff of contaminants in the water or air — thereby creating significant economic, environmental, and public health risks — can impact the viability and terms of the deal.
Ms. Villani also pointed out that environmental laws at the federal, state, and local levels impose liability on the former and current property owners. In order to minimize any potential risks associated with the purchase and sale of real property that is environmentally impaired, sellers must make certain disclosures about the property in question, and purchasers must conduct their own due diligence concerning the existence of contamination before closing the deal.
Basics of Environmental Law 2018 was presented across the state between April 12 and April 19 and provided practical information on the structure and procedures of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and other state and federal environmental regulators. The event was sponsored by NYSBA’s Committee on Continuing Legal Education and the Environmental and Energy Law Section.
Ms. Villani concentrates her practice in all aspects of environmental law, including litigation, transactional matters, permitting, and regulatory and compliance proceedings. She is Editor-in-Chief of The New York Environmental Lawyer, a quarterly journal published by the NYSBA, and served as Chair of the NYSBA’s Environmental Law Section.
Firm Counsel Thomas McKevitt (back row, third from right) is joined by members of the Holy Trinity High School mock trial team at the Nassau County Mock Trial Tournament semifinal round.
Thomas McKevitt, Counsel with the Firm, recently served as coach of the Holy Trinity High School mock trial team that took part in the Nassau County tournament section of the New York State High School Mock Trial Tournament. On April 11, his team reached the semifinals, which were held at Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola before Justice Randall Eng, retired Presiding Officer of the Appellate Division, Second Department.
In this year’s competition, students assumed the roles of attorneys and witnesses in consecutive trials, serving alternately as plaintiff and defendant, in a criminal case involving a 19-year-old who was arrested for disorderly conduct. To prepare for the competition, students learned about developing case themes, making opening and closing arguments, executing direct and cross-examinations, responding to objections, and introducing evidence.
Mr. McKevitt has coached the Holy Trinity High School mock trial team for 19 years, and is one of four attorneys from the Firm who volunteered their time at the mock trial tournament. Firm Partners Adam H. Koblenz and Ralph Branciforte worked with students from The Wheatley School, and Firm Associate Joshua D. Brookstein mentored students from the Crescent School.
The Firm successfully represented the developer and the owner in securing final zoning and land use variances for the development of 372 apartment units at the A. Holly Patterson campus. The approvals include 180 units that feature mostly two-bedroom apartments geared towards millennials. An additional 192 units will be age-restricted (55 and older). The innovative development will help address housing shortages for both market segments with the goal of keeping younger residents in Nassau County, and older residents, who may be seeking to downsize, in the area and close to family.
Chris Coschignano, a Member and Partner of the Firm, and Firm Associate Nick Cappadora handled the matter.
Michael H. Sahn, the Firm's Managing Partner, was one of the moderators at the 2018 "Future of Long Island Commercial Real Estate" summit, which took place on June 7 at the Holiday Inn-Plainview Long Island. Mr. Sahn moderated a panel of real estate professionals who discussed such topics as the latest developments in real estate, an overview of the real estate market, the latest in real estate technology, advances in commercial real estate research and acceleration of the sales process.
Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC was also one of the event's sponsors. The event was presented by the New York Real Estate Journal and American Investment Properties.
Elaine Colavito had her "Bench Briefs" column published in the May 2018 edition of The Suffolk Lawyer. "Bench Briefs" is a roundup of recent decisions from Suffolk County trial courts.
Daniel H. Braff, a Member and Partner of the Firm’s New York City Land Use and Development practice, successfully represented Peloton in securing a special permit from the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) for a new fitness facility dedicated to treadmill-based workouts.
The new fitness facility will be located at the corner of Greenwich Street and Christopher Street in the West Village. Peloton’s new location will comprise approximately 12,500 square feet and will house two production studios where it will livestream its new treadmill classes.
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 BSA. The local community board unanimously supported Peloton’s application, and the Firm was able to obtain the special permit in just over seven months.
Sahn Ward Coschignano's new office in Hauppauge
The Firm has opened a new office in Suffolk County, located at 1300 Veterans Highway in Hauppauge. The new location is reflective of the Firm’s growing number of matters being handled in the County.
Firm Partner John Farrell will supervise the office. Mr. Farrell concentrates his practice in the areas of zoning and land use, real estate transactions, environmental law, litigation and appeals and municipal law and legislative practice. He represents developers, property owners and franchisees in land use approval cases, municipal litigation and real estate transactions.
What are your responsibilities in leading the Firm’s Corporate and Securities Practice?
My primary responsibility is making sure that the Firm has a unified approach in how it represents businesses. It’s important to not only understand the specific matter on which a particular business needs legal representation, but to make sure that we all understand the exact nature of each client’s business. Understanding how a client operates its business enables us to not only anticipate the client’s needs, but also grants us the opportunity to refer business to our clients
What does your practice entail?
On a day-to-day basis, I see to it that my clients are all utilizing up-to-date contracts with their customers, vendors and partners that not only comport with applicable law, but provide exacting clarity as to any questions that may arise. On a more global scale, I serve as each client’s primary point person on any question that arises with respect to their business, be it related to their corporate legal needs, intellectual property issues, real estate questions, possible litigation and other disputes and general tax-related advice.
What attracted you to Corporate and Securities law?
Perhaps the single greatest attraction to Corporate and Securities law was the opportunity to work with such a diverse group of clients. If you’re a litigator or an estate planning attorney, you tend to stay within just those areas of law. When you work in my area, not only do you deal with legal issues spanning any number of disciplines, but you get to witness first-hand the inner workings of how businesses in numerous industries operate. Just in the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to work very closely with software developers, architects, restaurants, food manufacturing and distribution companies.
How much of an impact does the new tax law have on corporations?
The new tax law will have a large impact on this country as a whole, not just corporations. That said, it’s tough to predict exactly how the new law will end up impacting corporations and other entities, for better or for worse. The best advice anyone can give is that, before making any assumptions as to what the new law means for you or your business, please consult with your attorneys and accountants, not to mention waiting for the IRS to start issuing regulations concerning the new laws.
What trends are you currently seeing in the Corporate and Securities Practice Area?
A strong mix of excitement and apprehension. With the economy continuing its strong momentum, people are able to grow their businesses; however, with the volatile political climate and uncertainty of the new tax laws, business owners are hesitant to re-invest capital into their businesses for fear of an economic recession.
The Honorable Edward McCabe, Senior Counsel with the Firm, will be honored by the Nassau County Bar Association at the group's 119th Annual Dinner Dance on May 12 at the Marriott Hotel in Uniondale. Judge McCabe will be recognized for his 60 years as a practitioner of law. Prior to joining the Firm, he served as a Nassau County Administrative Law Judge and a New York State Supreme Court Justice.
Elaine Colavito had her "Bench Briefs" column published in the April 2018 edition of The Suffolk Lawyer. "Bench Briefs" is a roundup of recent decisions from Suffolk County trial courts.
Jon Ward, a Partner with the Firm, is representing Suffolk County in litigation brought by the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) challenging the county's enforcement of tax liens on all of its properties.
Firm Associate Joshua D. Brookstein and Touro Law Center Dean Harry Ballan.
Joshua D. Brookstein, an Associate with the Firm, was honored by Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center with the Public Interest/Pro-Bono Attorney of the Year Award at a ceremony that took place on March 26 as part of the law school’s Goods and Services Auction. Mr. Brookstein was recognized for his work as a coach and mentor of The Crescent School mock trial team. Last year, the team finished as one of the top 10 teams in Nassau County.
He also serves as a mentor to area students in order to become a positive presence in their lives. Last year, he mentored at Woodland Middle School and, this year, lent his time and talents to Barack Obama Elementary School.
The Public Interest/Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award is given to an attorney who devotes their time to those in need through their pro-bono efforts.
The Firm was also a sponsor of the Goods and Services Auction, an annual fundraiser to benefit the Public Interest Law Fellowship Program, which was established in the mid-1990s by Touro Law Center to encourage and facilitate the placement of students in public interest legal work.
Mr. Brookstein was also recently appointed as the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Young Lawyers Section Liaison to the NYSBA Local and State Government Law Section.
The Firm was a sponsor at New York University School of Law's Public Service Benefit, which took place on February 28th. Proceeds from the event went to benefit the law school's Public Interest Law Center, which supports students who work in summer public interest legal positions. Firm Member and Partner Dan Braff is an active alumni at the law school. He is a Weinfeld Associate and is also on the planning committee for his class' 15th reunion this spring.
Photo Courtesy of the New York State Bar Association/Photo by Jacques Cornell
John Christopher (right), a Partner with the Firm and Chair of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Young Lawyers Section (YLS), presented Lanessa Chaplin (center) of the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County with the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award for 2018 at the NYSBA's Annual Meeting on January 25 in New York City. They were joined by NYSBA President Sharon Stern Gerstman (left).
Adam H. Koblenz, a Partner with the Firm, published an article for the latest issue of the Journal of Business & Technology Law, a publication of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. The article discusses the controversy regarding college student-athletes and whether they should be paid. Mr. Koblenz points out that, with collegiate sporting events receiving greater exposure on TV and radio, and millions of dollars being made through endorsements, ticket sales and broadcast TV contracts, colleges and universities are reaping the rewards; however, student-athletes do not see any money for their performances.
“By examining the disparate proportion of income generated by college athletes in comparison to the compensation received by the student-athlete in the form of athletic scholarships, this Article demonstrates that student-athletes do not receive the compensation they deserve for a myriad of reasons,” Mr. Koblenz wrote. “While colleges may not have a ‘legal’ fiduciary duty to ensure the academic success of both its current four-year varsity scholarship athletes and former scholarship players, colleges do have a reasonable duty to provide appropriate resources and/or support necessary for student-athletes to achieve a certain modicum of academic success and post-graduation career enhancement.”
Kyle Lawrence was named as one of the "Ones to Watch" in Law by Long Island Business News for joining the Firm as Counsel. "Ones to Watch" is featured each week in LIBN, highlighting six people who stand out in their respective fields.
Christian Browne and Joseph Bjarnson, Partners with the Firm, successfully represented a defendant-respondent in an Article 78 proceeding challenging a decision of the Nassau County Planning Commission. The Planning Commission granted the client’s minor subdivision application, but two neighbors filed a challenge to the Planning Commission’s action and sought to annul the subdivision approval. It is exceedingly rare for the court to hear a challenge to a minor subdivision approval.
The firm filed a motion to dismiss the Article 78 proceeding as time-barred, arguing that the applicable four-month statute of limitations began to run from the date on which the Planning Commission voted to approve the subdivision application at a public hearing. The challenging neighbors argued that the clock did not begin to run against them until they received a formal, written certification of the approval decision.Justice Jeffrey Brown ruled in favor of the firm’s client, holding that the statutory clock was triggered by the vote, not by a later “certification.” Because the challenging neighbors failed to file their action within four months of the Planning Commission’s vote, the Court dismissed the case as untimely. The Firm believes this is the first time a court has ever ruled on the application of the statute of limitations in a proceeding involving the Planning Commission.
Will Lead the Firm’s Corporate and Securities Practice
Kyle Lawrence has joined the Firm as Counsel. He concentrates his practice in corporate and securities law, as well as real estate law and transactions. He will take a leading role in the Firm’s growing Corporate and Securities Practice.
As an experienced corporate and business law attorney, Mr. Lawrence advises clients on all types of corporate transactions, including private placements, mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate finance, business planning and strategies, licensing, manufacturing, supply and distribution arrangements. He serves as lead counsel to a wide range of longstanding business ventures and entities, as well as numerous entrepreneurial endeavors. He also serves as outside general counsel to various privately owned companies, for whom he provides advice and guidance on all aspects of day-to-day corporate and business matters.
Mr. Lawrence represents clients in a wide range of industries, including food and nutraceutical manufacturing and distribution, restaurants, emerging technologies, retail, light manufacturing, lending, architecture and software development. He also advises private issuers and principals with respect to fund formation, operations, and compliance matters in his active private equity practice.
The Firm’s Corporate and Securities Practice represents established, privately held businesses, as well as newly formed and emerging early- and growth-stage companies. The Firm’s corporate law clients include regional and national businesses, real estate ventures, manufacturing companies, professional services firms, software development and emerging technology companies, franchises, and charitable and not-for-profit entities.
Mr. Lawrence is admitted to practice in the State of New York and before the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department. He is also a member of the New York State Bar Association and the Nassau County Bar Association. In addition, he is a Founding Member of the Hydra Collective, a professional networking organization created by and for the next generation of leaders in their respective fields. He also volunteers his time with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Maurer Foundation.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Tulane University in 2001 and a Juris Doctor from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law from Hofstra University in 2006.
Michael Sahn with Kyle Lawrence
“I am excited to join the Firm and become a part of this growing practice,” Mr. Lawrence said. “I am looking forward to working with the Firm’s growing roster of clients and providing them with the necessary guidance in complex corporate transactions.”“We welcome Kyle to the Firm,” said Michael Sahn, the Firm’s Managing Partner. “His knowledge and experience in corporate and securities law will be a tremendous resource to the Firm’s clients.”
Elaine Colavito, a Partner with the Firm, will be honored by the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University as one of its Outstanding Women in Law. A special ceremony will take place on April 24 at the Milleridge Inn in Jericho, starting at 6 p.m.
Outstanding Women in Law celebrates women who have made a meaningful and inspiring contribution to the legal community.
John Christopher, a Partner with the Firm, received the 40 Under 40 award from Long Island Business News at a special ceremony that was held on February 8 at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.
The 40 Under 40 Awards celebrates the future leaders of Long Island who have already begun to distinguish themselves in business, government, education and the not-for-profit sector.
Long Island Business News Editor Joe Dowd and John Christopher.
SWC was a sponsor of "Tax Reform's Impact on the Real Estate Market," a presentation which was held on January 24 at Fordham Law School and presented by the Fordham Real Estate Institute and Real Estate Services Alliance (RESA). Daniel H. Braff, a Partner with the Firm, is a member of RESA, an exclusive, member-based organization that brings together the best specialists in the real estate business in New York City who can provide assistance in all stages of a transaction.
Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC co-sponsored the presentation from the Fordham Real Estate Institute and the
Real Estate Services Alliance titled “Tax Reform’s Impact on the Real Estate Market.”
Daniel H. Braff, a Partner with the Firm, and Firm Associate Joshua D. Brookstein wrote an article for the January 9-22, 2018 issue of The New York Real Estate Journal titled "Get Back to the Gym: Zoning for Fitness is Heavy Lifting," which discusses the process to obtain a special permit from the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals for fitness uses.
“The process of opening a PCE in New York City is extensive and complicated,” Mr. Braff and Mr. Brookstein wrote. “It can take several months, possibly more than a year on a difficult case, but it is not, however, impossible. Understanding the requirements and the path to obtaining a PCE special permit are an essential first step for anyone interested in opening a PCE, or who is working with an individual or corporation who is looking to open and operate a PCE in New York City.”
Christian Browne, a Partner with the Firm, served as lead counsel representing a group of Long Beach residents who sought to have certain variances granted in favor of a major construction project on the City’s boardwalk declared expired.
The Long Beach Board of Zoning Appeals granted variances to a developer in February 2014 to permit the construction of two 15-story apartment towers along the City’s boardwalk. Because the developer failed to move forward with the project under the timeframe set by the zoning board, the firm’s clients asked the Nassau County Supreme Court to declare the 2014 variances expired and of no further force or effect.
Both the developer and the zoning board made motions to dismiss the case. The Court denied the motions to dismiss and ordered the zoning board to hold a public hearing in order to determine whether, in fact, the 2014 variances are null and void due to the developer’s four-year-long failure to move the project forward and obtain the building permits necessary to construct the apartment towers.
This was reported in Newsday.
Matthew E. Rappaport, counsel with the Firm, was interviewed by Newsday for an article on the benefits of preparing early for tax season. He suggested that taxpayers consider making a last-minute contribution to a retirement plan or a health savings account.
“Evaluate whether a retirement plan or health savings account contribution, either of which might count for the 2017 tax year in certain situations, might make sense,” Mr. Rappaport said. “If you’re a business owner, you may also be able to create a retirement plan, contributions to which might count retroactively as well.”
The Firm has promoted Elaine M. Colavito to Partner. Ms. Colavito concentrates her practice in matrimonial and family law, civil litigation and commercial transactions.
Ms. Colavito is President-elect of the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association. She joined the organization in 2012 as a Member of its Board of Directors and also served as its Treasurer and Vice President. In 2013, she received the group’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.
From 2014 to 2017, she was named to Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars” list in the area of Family Law, and was among the 2015 Super Lawyers “Top Women Lawyers in New York.” In 2017, she was named a Trailblazer in Divorce and Trusts and Estates by The National Law Journal and received the Top 50 Women in Business and Leadership in Law awards from Long Island Business News.
She currently writes a monthly column for The Suffolk Lawyer, a publication of the Suffolk County Bar Association, titled “Bench Briefs.” She is also the author of an article entitled “Social Networking Sites and the Right to Privacy: Kathleen Romano v. Steelcase and Educational Institutional Cooperative Services, Inc., Index No. 2233/06” that appeared in the Winter 2011 edition of the Medicine and Law Committee Newsletter, a publication of the American Bar Association. She has also lectured before the NYSBA Young Lawyers section.
Ms. Colavito is admitted to practice in the state of New York and before the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition to serving with the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association, she is a member of the Suffolk County Bar Association, the Nassau County Bar Association and the Nassau County Columbian Lawyers. She graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and magna cum laude from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center.
Ms. Colavito is a resident of Brentwood.
“I am pleased to be named Partner with the Firm,” Ms. Colavito said. “It has been a great experience for me to be a part of a Firm that fosters the professional growth of its attorneys.”
“We congratulate Ms. Colavito and recognize her leadership, expertise and service to our clients, the Bar and the community,” said Michael H. Sahn, the Firm’s Managing Partner. “She is an important part of our Firm’s ability to serve our clients.”
John Christopher, a Partner with the Firm, attended the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) “Bridging the Gap” program, which took place on December 12-13, 2017 at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York, New York, to speak with the attendees about the Young Lawyers Section (YLS) of the NYSBA.
Mr. Christopher is Chair of the NYSBA YLS and the YLS Liaison to the Real Property Law Section
Firm Partner John Christopher addresses those in attendance at the New York State Bar Association’s “Bridging the Gap” program.
Thomas McKevitt, Counsel with the Firm, obtained approval from the Hempstead Town Board to rezone a parcel of land in Wantagh from Residential to Business for construction of a two-story day care center located on Wantagh Avenue. The Firm also obtained a special use permit from the Town of Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals for the project.
The Firm previously represented the client in 2012 in obtaining approvals for a day care center on Center Lane in Levittown, which is currently in operation. There is a great demand for day care centers in the Levittown area, but few available properties to build these facilities, which led the client to explore this opportunity.
John Christopher, a Partner with the Firm, will receive the 40 Under 40 award from Long Island Business News at a special ceremony on February 8, 2018 at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. The 40 Under 40 Awards celebrates future leaders of Long Island who have already begun to distinguish themselves in business, government, education and the not-for-profit sector.
Elaine Colavito had her "Bench Briefs" column published in the January 2018 edition of The Suffolk Lawyer. "Bench Briefs" is a roundup of recent decisions from Suffolk County trial courts.
Christian Browne, a Partner with the Firm, recently successfully represented an electrical inspection company, which sought — and was granted — injunctive relief and attorney’s fees against a rival inspection business that had posted false statements on websites, claiming the plaintiff was out of business.
The defendant, New York State Electrical Inspections, Inc. (NYSEII), used several websites under its control to promote the claim that the firm’s client, the New York Board of Fire Underwriters (NYBFU), was no longer performing electrical inspection services. While NYBFU had been dissolved around 2009, it was reconstituted in 2013 and resumed work as an electrical inspection company.
NYBFU, therefore, sued NYSEII under New York General Business Law §349, a section that prevents a business from disseminating false or misleading information that is likely to confuse or misdirect consumers.
On December 7, 2017, Justice Sharon Gianelli of the Nassau County Supreme Court ruled that, as a matter of law, the information on the NYSEII websites was untrue and could serve to mislead consumers in the market for electrical inspection services. The Court enjoined NYSEII from continuing to display false information about NYBFU on its websites and also awarded NYBFU attorney’s fees as authorized under the General Business Law.
Ralph Branciforte, a Partner with the Firm, and Associate Joshua D. Brookstein assisted Mr. Browne on the case.
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