Seven attorneys from four offices were recently selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2018 in multiple practice areas. Craig I. Lifland was also named the Best Lawyers 2018, Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Hartford.
The complete list of firm attorneys recognized in the peer-reviewed rankings is as follows:
Matt Necci and Peter Meggers recently authored a Hartford Business Journal article, “Why Hartford is a good place for young professionals”, discussing Hartford’s strengths and appeal to young professionals eager to thrive and establish themselves in a vibrant community. The numerous assets of the region are detailed including, the city’s affordable downtown housing, great universities, well-established suburbs, networking opportunities and its ideal location, just a short drive from New York City and Boston.
Business Litigation and IP partner Joe Fortner, along with his wife, Holly, performed as a vocal/guitar duo for participants at the Jerusalem Peace Builders Leadership Institute in West Brattleboro, Vermont on Saturday, July 22, 2017. JPB brings together Israeli, Palestinian and American teenagers for two weeks of intense learning, conflict resolution and education, with the focus of creating a new generation of peace-builders in the world. The youth also engage in dialogue and discussion sessions about their views and opinions towards peace in the Holy Land. Joe & Holly had the opportunity to entertain, offering a wide range of tunes and a chance to take a break from this important work.
Halloran & Sage is pleased to announce that the Fairfield County Business Journal has selected Eric D. Bernheim as a member of its 2017 “40 Under Forty” class. Bernheim is a partner in the Firm's Westport office. His practice focuses on real estate, zoning, land use and litigation matters relating to real estate.
“It was a privilege to be among this year’s 40 Under 40 class. I was certainly in good company,” Bernheim said. “I consider myself fortunate to have a rewarding career as an attorney with Halloran & Sage. The clients that I am privileged to represent contribute to the economic health and well being of Fairfield County, which is where I also enjoy contributing to the betterment of the community and where my family is proud to call home.”
Criteria for award selection include extraordinary leadership qualities, ongoing commitment to personal and professional development, and outstanding accomplishments.
Bernheim’s professional accomplishments are numerous. He is counsel to one of the country’s fastest growing restaurant groups handling their nationwide commercial lease matters, special counsel to the City of Norwalk in the GGP mall development project and trusted by many to handle their residential real estate closings.
His accolades also include being named to the New England and Connecticut Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists for the past three consecutive years, a 2014 member of the Connecticut Law Tribune New Leaders in the Law, treasurer of the Planning and Zoning Section of the Connecticut Bar Association, and developer and moderator of the 2017 Fairfield County Commercial Real Estate Outlook.
In the community, Bernheim has helped raise awareness and funds for the non-profit, Friends of Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital (Friends). He publicized the need for pediatric MRI goggles, which resulted in the organization providing a grant for the $45,000 project. Additionally, he’s serving as a committee member for the Friends 2017 gala fundraising event, which will provide funding for the hospital’s NICU expansion.
Bernheim is featured in the June 19, 2017 issue of the Fairfield County Business Journal.
Attorney Josh Koskoff, the lawyer representing the Sandy Hook victims’ families warned that there could be legal ramifications at the outset of Megyn Kelly’s controversial interview with Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Despite the warning, NBC aired the interview, and the odds are low for a lawsuit to ensue. Attorney Koskoff warned that the interview "will cause serious emotional distress" to the Sandy Hook families, but attorneys and media law experts agreed any lawsuit would hinge on federal tort doctrine dealing with intentional infliction of emotional distress, but would run up against a First Amendment defense.
Judge Frederick A. Freedman, a former Connecticut Appellate Court judge and “of counsel” at Halloran & Sage in Westport, offered "I think a lawsuit would be very weak. You do have First Amendment rights. If every time you heard something on TV that distressed you, the courts would be flooded with emotional distress cases." Though there is still room for debate, many believe the odds for a lawsuit have diminished significantly.
Allen Gary Palmer was recently appointed Co-chair of The American Bar Association Family Law Section’s Diversity Committee. The Diversity Committee strives to promote diversity within Section membership and our practice. We recognize, and embrace, that the members of our legal community as well as our clientele, have evolved into a rich mosaic of people from diverse cultures, beliefs and backgrounds. As an organization, and as lawyers, we need to better understand the broader issues of diversity, as well as the cultural norms and the cultural differences of our society as a whole and how these issues impact the practice of Family Law and the families that we serve.
As committee Co-chair, Allen will continue the important work necessary to implement the ABA’s Diversity Policy , promote a sustainable diverse and inclusive environment within the ABA, throughout its membership and within the legal community at large. Allen will continue his work on the Connecticut Bar Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, the CBA Family Law Section’s Diversity Committee, as well as the Firm’s Diversity Committee. Allen will continue to speak on issues of diversity and inclusion, including programs sponsored by the CBA and Connecticut Bar Foundation. Halloran & Sage, LLP is a proud active signatory of Connecticut’s Diversity Pledge and Plan, and a sponsor of Connecticut’s Diversity and Inclusion Summit.
Joseph G. Fortner, Jr. is the Chair for the ALFA International Business Litigation Practice Group’s 2017 Seminar, “Successfully Trekking Along the Precipice: Protecting Your Company Before, During, and After ‘Bet the Company’ Litigation.” This program, which will be held in Chicago in September 2017, will offer insight about what to do when a business is faced with strategic risks and threats, during normal operations and when litigation becomes part of the company’s life. As Chair, Mr. Fortner has brought together a panel of 20 speakers from all over the country and even overseas, and developed a program that will include a mock jury presentation of a trade secrets case.
The Firm is pleased to announce that Chambers USA has once again recognized Halloran & Sage’s practice areas and individual attorneys with its 2017 edition. An international publisher of legal profession guides, Chambers is esteemed worldwide for its detailed research and review process. Law firms and individual lawyers are ranked and assessed on the quality of technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial astuteness, diligence, commitment, and other qualities most valued by the client.
Ann Catino was ranked in the Environment category, and she provides "the highest quality service in terms of detail," according to a quoted client. She is noted for her ability in matters such as waste management, transactions, the redevelopment of contaminated properties and regulatory compliance.
James Maher, ranked in Chambers’ Real Estate category, is considered by one interviewee to be an "extremely experienced, smart and responsive" attorney. According to Chambers, Maher focuses on the financial aspects of commercial real estate law, particularly in respect of leasing transactions, developments and restructurings. Clients include institutional investors and midcap companies across a swath of industries.
Henry Beck and Suzanne Scibilia were ranked in the Corporate M&A field. Henry combines "excellent client service" with a "practical and efficient approach to getting deals done," according to one interviewee. He is noted for his adroit handling of domestic and international M&A matters. Suzanne was named a “Recognised Practitioner.”
Chambers employs a team of 170 full-time editors and researchers to conduct interviews, identify, and rank the world’s best lawyers who exceed client expectations by delivering the highest level of technical capability, business acumen, service and value. For more information on the Chambers USA selection process, visit http://www.chambersandpartners.com/methodology.
Attorneys Laura Pascale Zaino and Joshua Auxier secured another important appellate victory in PMG Land Associates, L.P. v. Harbour Landing Condominium Association, Inc., et al.,172 Conn. App. 688 (2017). The plaintiff, a land development company, had claimed that Halloran & Sage’s client, a neighboring condominium association, had tortiously interfered with its project by filing notices on the land records and by other acts. A unanimous panel of the Appellate Court affirmed the dismissal by summary judgment. The Court concluded the whole matter was barred by the statute of limitations. The Appellate Court resolved the issue whether a filing on the land records is one event or is a “continuing” event that would toll the statute of limitations, which benefitted the association as the plaintiff filed too late.
In James Doe, et. al. v. [Defendant Pediatrician], --- Conn. App. --- (Slip. Op. May 23, 2017), a unanimous panel of the Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the plaintiffs’ motion to allow them to continue to use pseudonyms in their civil action against the defendant, a pediatrician the plaintiffs accuse of sexually assaulting them while they were his minor patients. The trial court denied the plaintiffs’ motion because it was unable to conclude, based on the record the plaintiffs provided and insisted was sufficient, that the plaintiffs’ claimed privacy interests outweighed the public’s interest in knowing their names. Although the plaintiffs were afforded the opportunity to present evidence in the trial court, they refused and maintained, instead, that the allegations of their Complaint and the affidavits they eventually provided were enough.
The plaintiffs continued their insistence on appeal. The Appellate Court, however, agreed with Halloran & Sage’s argument on behalf of the defendant that the plaintiffs’ proffer was unavailing. The Court deemed the plaintiffs’ affidavits conclusory because they merely stated the general nature of the privacy interests they claimed, but they did not provide factual or evidentiary support for those claims, and it concluded that this was not enough to overcome the high threshold for proving that the plaintiffs are entitled to maintain the privilege of anonymity throughout these proceedings. In doing so, it reiterated that Connecticut’s rules of practice do not allow for automatic approval of the use of pseudonyms, even in cases involving allegations of sexual assault, and it rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that, based on the record they chose to rely upon, the trial court could only have granted their motion.
Ann Catino has been named a James W. Cooper Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation. The Fellows of the Foundation nominate outstanding Connecticut lawyers, judges, and teachers of law to become Fellows. Fellows are selected based on their outstanding professional, public or private careers in which they have demonstrated extraordinary legal ability and devotion to the welfare of their Community, State and Nation and the advancement of the legal profession.
The Connecticut Bar Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1952 which works to ensure that the state's legal system is available to all, regardless of power or resources. The Foundation supports legal services to protect the interests of those who cannot afford private counsel.
Arnold Menchel will be presenting at the Connecticut Mental Health & The Law 2017 Seminar April 28th, in Cromwell, CT.
The first presentation, Confidentiality/Privacy of Mental Health Records, will address disclosure of information, the HIPAA update, and substance use disorder disclosure. His second presentation, Mental Health Parity, covers Federal law, State law, and the Affordable Care Act, essential health benefits & mental health parity.
The Seminar, hosted by PESI, offers continuing education credit to those who register at www.pesi.com.
Halloran &Sage recently secured an important appellate victory in Snell v. Norwalk Yellow Cab, Inc., et al, --- Conn. App. --- (Slip. Op. April 4, 2017). A unanimous panel of the Appellate Court confirmed there that the doctrine of superseding cause is “alive and well” in Connecticut’s tort jurisprudence, that it encompasses reckless criminal action and is thus not limited to cases in which the intervening actions were intended to cause harm, as the plaintiff argued.
In Snell, the plaintiff was injured when she was recklessly assaulted by a stolen taxi cab while it was being driven on a sidewalk by its teenaged thieves. The teens had stolen the cab after they found it unattended with the keys in the ignition and they took it for a “joyride” from one town to another. They were then involved in a rear-end collision with another vehicle and attempted to flee that scene by driving onto the sidewalk where the plaintiff was walking.
The plaintiff sought to recover for her injuries by bringing a negligence claim against the cab’s driver and his employer. She did not sue the thieves, however, and the defendants were not permitted under Connecticut law to name them as apportionment defendants because their conduct was not merely negligent. See Barry v. Quality Steel Products, Inc., 263 Conn. 424, 436-39 (2003) (abolishing use of superseding cause doctrine where intervening conduct was negligent and deeming it applicable only to unforeseeable intervening intentional torts, forces of nature and criminal events.) As such, the defendants requested the trial court to instruct the jury that if it found them negligent, it could then assess whether the thieves’ intentional and/or criminal actions were “superseding causes” of the plaintiff’s injuries which shielded the defendants from any liability. The plaintiff countered that the doctrine was not applicable because there was no evidence that the thieves specifically intended to harm her. The trial court agreed with the defendants, issued such an instruction, and the jury rendered a defendants’ verdict. Its answers to jury interrogatories made it clear that it concluded that the thieves’ conduct superseded any negligence on the part of the defendants. The Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment.
Michael Wrona is a presenter at Landlord-Tenant Seminar: From Lease to Eviction taking place April 26th in New Haven, CT. He will be speaking as a faculty member on a panel involving topics that include lease preparation, tenant and landlord responsibilities, evictions, landlord liability and a landlord’s duty to repair. This seminar qualifies for continuing education credit through Sterling Education Services. Full seminar information and registration is available on the Sterling Education program page.
Allen Gary Palmer has been assisting the Connecticut Bar Association, Family Law Section in the launch of an innovative series of continuing legal education programs designed to offer section members timely information on key Connecticut Supreme Court legal decisions. The new program, Case Flash, is a video program presented in an engaging, easy to follow talk show format. The concept is to bring short, timely CLE programs directly to each member's computer.
The following are the most recent programs offered by the CBA: