Michael McClaren and Shannon O’Neill Prevail on Motion for Summary Judgment in a § 1983 Lawsuit

Webster Szanyi attorneys Michael McClaren and Shannon O’Neill recently obtained a decision dismissing a § 1983 lawsuit brought against multiple police officers, sheriff, and county for claims of false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and Monell.  The firm filed a summary judgment arguing that probable cause was a complete defense for the claims.  The firm argued that there was ample probable cause for the arrest and subsequent confinement based on: a 911 call from a witness, dash camera footage, and observations made by an officer during the traffic stop.  After substantial briefing and oral argument, Magistrate Judge Roemer issued a report and recommendation that recommended the defendants’ motion for summary judgment be granted.  Despite plaintiff’s objections to the report and recommendation, the District Court Judge Sinatra ultimately agreed with the recommendation to grant the defendants’ summary judgment and issued a decision that the case be...

Michael McClaren and Shannon O’Neill Prevail on Motion to Dismiss in a Child Victims Act Lawsuit

Judge Chimes issued a favorable decision on a school’s motion to dismiss vicarious liability claims and request for punitive damages in a lawsuit brought under the Child Victims Act.  Michael McClaren and Shannon O’Neill successfully argued that allegations of sexual assault are outside the scope of employment rendering the doctrine of respondeat superior inapplicable.  Judge Chimes also granted the school’s motion that punitive damages are not recoverable against public...

D. Charles Roberts Jr. and Kevin G. Cope obtain dismissal of Article 78 proceeding against local Town

Webster Szanyi attorneys Charlie Roberts and Kevin Cope successfully defended a local Town in an Article 78 proceeding seeking to overturn the Town’s denial of a proposed concept plan for a large subdivision.  The proposed development has a long history dating back almost 20 years, during which time the Town approved a prior concept plan to develop the subdivision.  The developer did not proceed with the approved development because it was unable to acquire certain property needed for an entrance to the subdivision.  The developer subsequently amended the plan to change the location of the entrance to the subdivision.  The amended plan, however, contained a large cul-de-sac with over 40 single family residential lots in violation of the Town’s Subdivision Law and New York State Fire Code, and which presented a safety risk to the proposed residents.  As a result, the Town Board denied the developer’s application for the amended concept plan.  In response, the developer filed an Article 78 Petition in Erie County Supreme Court, alleging the Town Board’s decision was arbitrary and capricious, irrational, and not based on substantial evidence, and asked the Court to overturn the Town Board’s decision and approve the amended concept plan.  After substantial briefing and oral argument, the Court upheld the Town Board’s decision, and agreed the amended concept plan clearly violated Town Subdivision Law and that the Town Board’s determination was sound, rational, and based upon substantial...

Melanie Beardsley Presents at Annual NYSSBA Convention

Melanie Beardsley, a partner in the Education and Labor and Employment Department, presented at the New York State School Board Association’s annual convention. Ms. Beardsley’s presentation, School Data Privacy and Security, focused on the recent Commissioner’s regulations promulgated under Education Law 2-d and corresponding laws that require school districts and BOCES to take significant actions in order to protect student, teacher, and principal data. The NYSSBA convention is attended by hundreds of school administrators and board members across New York...

Division of Human Rights Issues No Probable Cause Finding Dismissing Claim of Disability and Gender Discrimination

The New York State Division of Human Rights (“SDHR”) issued a “no probable cause” finding on a claim that a female custodial employee at a public school was discriminated against due to her sex and alleged disability. Heather Dechert represented the school against allegations that the District wrongfully terminated the employee for using inappropriate language in the presence of students but did not terminate a male employee who allegedly engaged in similar behavior. Based on its investigation, the SDHR determined that there was no substantiation of Complainant’s claims regarding her male coworker; however, there were documented reports about Complainant’s language and behavior in front of students. The employee also alleged that the District terminated her employment as a result of a recent surgical procedure and attendant leave of absence. As a substitute cleaner, the Complainant was not obligated to accept work assignments or to provide any reason for declining work assignments; therefore, her surgery and attendant time off was irrelevant. Based on its investigation, the SDHR determined that Complainant could not and did not provide any evidence to support a conclusion that she was discriminated against due to her alleged disability; the Complainant did not even establish that she had made the District aware of her alleged...