Municipal and Governmental Defense

Municipal subdivisions and authorities on all levels face difficult legal issues in every service they provide to their communities.  Paul Mullin and Dan Cavarello regularly represent counties, towns, villages, and agencies facing a broad range of legal challenges.

Over the years, the Sugarman Law Firm has handled legal disputes in tax assessment cases, property and casualty losses, police and sheriff liability cases, and zoning litigation. We have also defended municipalities against employment discrimination and wage and hour claims. We regularly defend municipalities and school districts against negligence claims, including highway and road design defect claims, and negligent supervision claims.

Because of their years of experience, the attorneys at the Sugarman Law Firm are familiar with the particular legal principles and procedural rules that apply to municipal subdivisions and authorities.

Civil Rights Litigation

Claims asserting a federal constitutional right or state constitutional right require careful analysis by our attorneys. The actions of governmental entities often raise claims in the sphere of police and fire officials in protecting the public. We also see a rise of claims being asserted in response to municipal officials enforcing state and local laws. All these claims raise numerous issues and defenses that are often unique to each case, and call on solid municipal backgrounds. The firm has handled claims of excessive force, false arrests, improper denial of medical care, improper taking of property, and unequal enforcement of laws. The clients include elected officials, mayors, city and town counselors, town supervisors, town boards, civil servants at state and local levels, sheriff’s departments, town police officials, and zoning officers.

Zoning and Land Use

The municipal government in the State of New York play a significant role in the use of municipal property.  Often, decisions by a zoning officer of a town or city board impact upon municipal property owners.  The impacted party often raises claims of improper treatment, claiming of the taking of their property, or preventing the proper use of their property. Unfortunately, these matters often end up in court.  The firm has handled claims that municipal officials were impermissibly interpreting laws, enforcing laws unevenly, or simply did not apply the correct law.  These cases require an analysis of the particular facts of each matter. The experienced staff at the Sugarman Law Firm has handled matters in town courts, New York State Supreme Court, and federal courts dealing with land usage.  Often, these matters are brought about by what is called an “Article 78” proceeding seeking to compel a state official to act.  The firm has handled numerous cases in this matter with results that protect the rights of all municipal entities in this community.  The claims have included compelling an official to issue a building permit, to enforce a zoning or use regulation, and to address zoning board actions.  The matters often require a determination that officials did properly consider state and local laws.

School Claims

The educational system continues to be an area of extensive legal scrutiny. The Sugarman Law Firm has advised school boards on the legal programs prior to litigation and after litigation has been commenced.

Unfortunately, schools face constant challenges to the services that they provide. The Sugarman Law Firm has handled claims arising from the time a child boards the school bus until long after the child returns home. The claims are often based upon issues of planning, supervision, instruction, or unfortunate circumstances which arise during the day causing injury. Often, the mere fact someone suffered an unfortunate injury does not mean the municipal school board is liable. Our work in this field includes an investigation as to how and why an accident occurs, and whether the school board and its officials are potentially liable. The defenses are numerous and experience in the field brings an ability for our firm to evaluate and defend school board, administration officials, and teachers.

The claims we handle range from accidents in the classroom, gym class or field trips. These claims often allege negligent supervision or improper practices. The firm has successfully defended defendant school officials across the state both at the trial level and appellate courts.

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