News

Andrew Miller Elected Board Chair of The Service Collaborative

Andrew Miller, a partner at the firm, has been elected as the Board Chair for The Service Collaborative of WNY, Inc. (“TSC”).  TSC is a local not-for-profit organization that focuses on poverty alleviation through the ABLE Early Childhood Program; Economic Development Corps.; Serve New York VISTA, and WNY Youthbuild.  TCS, along with the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, operates VolunteerWNY, a platform that connects local volunteers with volunteer opportunities.  Lastly, through its ServicePlus program, TSC provides bookkeeping and human resources support to other local non-for-profits, allowing those organizations to spend more time and resources on fulfilling their core missions. Mr. Miller has served on TSC’s board for over six years and is honored to serve as its Board...

Heather Dechert is a graduate of the Leadership Buffalo Class of 2019

Heather Dechert, a partner at the firm, is a graduate of the Leadership Buffalo 2019 Class Experience.  Class Experience is a year-long program, uniting and developing leaders from diverse backgrounds and perspectives in order to increase their knowledge of community issues, broaden their vision and enhance their ability to lead....

Michael P. McClaren named Managing Partner

Webster Szanyi LLP is pleased to announce that Partner Michael P. McClaren has been elected Managing Partner of the firm.      Mr. McClaren, a resident of East Aurora, is a founding partner of Webster Szanyi LLP and is a full time litigator, handling Civil Rights, employment, construction, commercial and personal injury...

Webster Szanyi LLP obtains favorable decision in Capizzi v. Brown Chiari LLP, et al.

Kevin Szanyi recently obtained a favorable decision on behalf of Samuel Capizzi in the first phase of his lawsuit against Brown Chiari LLP and partners James Brown and Donald Chiari.  Mr. Capizzi was a partner in Brown Chiari LLP until he withdrew from the partnership in January 2016.  Pursuant to New York Partnership Law, Mr. Capizzi’s withdrawal from the firm results in a dissolution of the firm.  Mr. Brown and Mr. Chiari, however, denied that Mr. Capizzi was an equity partner and asserted that, as a result, the firm was not dissolved.  By his lawsuit, Mr. Capizzi requested an order declaring the firm Brown Chiari LLP was dissolved effective January 8, 2016 and that defendants are required to wind up the affairs of the firm and provide a complete accounting of firm assets, liabilities, income and expenses to Mr. Capizzi.  The case is pending before Honorable Timothy J. Walker, who bifurcated the trial and limited the first phase to the sole question of whether Mr. Capizzi was an equity partner in the firm at the time of his withdrawal.  Following a non-jury trial over the course of 20 days, Justice Walker ruled in favor of Mr. Capizzi and ordered and declared that as of the date of his resignation from Brown Chiari LLP, Mr. Capizzi was an equity partner in the...

Webster Szanyi obtains dismissal of False Claims Act action

Charlie Roberts recently obtained the dismissal of a False Claims Act lawsuit filed by the United States against Kenneth Carter.  The Government alleged Mr. Carter, who has since passed, was part of a fraudulent scheme with Lee Strock, Cynthia Ann Golde, and Strock Contracting to set up a company, Veteran Enterprises Company, Inc. (“VECO”), as a service-disabled veteran owned small business (“SDVOSB”) in order to obtain and profit from construction contracts set aside for SDVOSBs.  The Government alleged VECO was a sham and Mr. Strock, who is not a disabled veteran, controlled the day-to-day and long-term business operations.  Mr. Roberts filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against Mr. Carter on the grounds that the Government failed to sufficiently allege a False Claim Act claim against Mr. Carter.  Judge Geraci, Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, agreed and dismissed the claims against Mr. Carter.  Judge Geraci found the government’s general group allegations against the “defendants” were insufficient to show that Mr. Carter personally knew that any representations as to VECO’s SDVSOB status were false.  Judge Geraci also agreed the government did not allege Mr. Carter obtained any financial benefits from contracts performed by VECO – an allegation that might suggest a motive for committing...

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

The New York State Division of Human Rights (“SDHR”) issued a “no probable cause” finding on a claim that a County employee was discriminated and retaliated against because he had a disability.  Heather Dechert represented the County against allegations that the employee was harassed, treated differently than similarly situated employees, and denied a reasonable accommodation for his disability.  The Complainant also claimed that he was retaliated against by being given unwanted or dangerous assignments, being subject to unwarranted disciplinary action and being constructively discharged.  Based on its investigation, the SDHR determined that the evidence did not support Complainant’s allegations of harassment, disparate treatment and denial of a reasonable accommodation.  The SDHR further found that the record did not support Complainant’s contention that he was constructively...

Webster Szanyi attorneys recognized by Best Lawyers

Webster Szanyi LLP congratulates Thomas S. Lane, Michael P. McClaren, and Kevin A. Szanyi on having been selected by their peers for inclusion in the 26th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America.  Mr. Lane was selected in the areas of Commercial Litigation and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, Mr. McClaren in the area of Commercial Litigation, and Mr. Szanyi in the areas Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants. We are also pleased to share that due to the extremely high feedback Best Lawyers received, Mr. Szanyi has also been recognized by his peers as one of the 2020 “Lawyer of the Year” award recipients for his work in Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants in Buffalo.  Only a single lawyer in each practice area and community is honored with a “Lawyer of the Year” award. For more information on this prestigious award, please visit...

Webster Szanyi LLP welcomes its newest partner, Melanie J. Beardsley

Webster Szanyi is pleased to announce that Melanie Beardsley has joined the firm.  Melanie has spent the majority of her career representing management in all facets of labor and employment matters, with a focus on representing school districts, and also has substantial experience in special education matters.  Melanie worked at Hodgson Russ LLP in its education and labor and employment practice for several years and, most recently, worked in-house for Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES as an attorney and senior labor relations specialist.  She resides in East Aurora with her husband, Kevin, and three children.  Melanie will join the firm’s education and labor and employment practice...

Mike McClaren and Kevin Szanyi appointed to Federal Mediation Panel

Webster Szanyi partners Mike McClaren and Kevin Szanyi have been added to the Court approved panel of mediators for cases venued in the Western New York Federal District Courts.  Both are experienced litigators in commercial and personal injury matters and both are available for private...

Partner Charlie Roberts helping “Put Cancer on Ice” with the 11 Day Power Play

Partner Charlie Roberts participated in the 2019 11 Day Power Play Community Shift to help in the fight against cancer.  The 11-day hockey game was played in continuous shifts at the Harborcenter in Buffalo, NY.  The event raised over $1.6 million dollars this year, raising critically-needed funds for cancer research and wellness programs at Roswell Park, Camp Good Days and Make-A-Wish WNY.  While it is physically challenging to play in a marathon hockey game, it’s a walk in the park compared to what most endure in their battle against cancer.  Cancer is a disease that touches everyone, and The 11 Day Power Play continues to make an impact in our community.   The 11 Day Power Play has now raised over $4 million supporting cancer causes in Western New...

Marnie Smith to Present at Western New York Education Law Conference

Marnie Smith will be speaking at the Western New York Education Law Conference on Wednesday August 7, 2019. Marnie is co-presenting with Cheryl Cardone, the Director of Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services for the Grand Island Central School District. Their presentation will focus on Mental Health Challenges Facing Students and School Districts. Webster Szanyi is a sponsor of the conference. More information is available...

Division of Human Rights Issues No Probable Cause Finding Dismissing Failure-To-Hire Claim

The New York State Division of Human Rights (“SDHR”) issued a “no probable cause” finding on a claim that an employer refused to hire an applicant because of his sex and/or in retaliation for complaints filed by the applicant against his former employer. Marnie Smith represented the employer, which did not hire the applicant because of concerns related to the applicant’s poor performance and/or misconduct while employed by the former employer. Based on its investigation, the SDHR determined that there was not sufficient evidence to conclude that the Complainant was subject to any discrimination or retaliation. The evidence instead supported the Employer’s legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for not hiring the...

Office for Civil Rights Closes Complaint Against School District

The U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued its determination closing a complaint filed against a school district involving allegations related to student discipline. The complainant alleged that the District inappropriately issued a five-day out-of-school suspension and referred the student for a superintendent’s hearing because of the student’s race. The complainant claimed that the student’s suspension was “excessive” when compared to discipline given to white students who engaged in more serious misconduct. Marnie Smith represented the school district, presenting evidence of the school district’s legitimate and non-discriminatory reason for issuing the suspension, as well as evidence to demonstrate that the proffered reason was not a pretext for discrimination. OCR determined that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegation that the District discriminated against the student on the basis of his...

Webster Szanyi Obtains Jury Verdict of $2,500,000 in Fire Loss Case.

Thomas Lane and Andrew Miller, partners at the firm, obtained a jury verdict of $2,500,000 after a two-week trial.  Webster Szanyi represented the North Tonawanda Elks Lodge 860 after its historic fraternal lodge was destroyed by a fire.  The Lodge was custom built for the Elks in 1921.  Webster Szanyi previously prevailed on a summary judgment motion, where the Court found the building was a specialty property and the measure of damages was reproduction/replacement cost new, less depreciation.   The jury awarded $3,200,000 for the building, depreciated by 35%, $150,000 for the contents of the building, and $302,000 for the post-fire demolition costs. The Buffalo News reported on the verdict, and the article can be found...

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Kenneth J. Sodaro
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General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, HealthNow New York Inc.

Webster Szanyi is staffed with highly competent lawyers who are understanding of my company’s needs, and who work hand in hand with me to develop strategies to meet my company’s objectives, while being sensitive to legal fees.

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Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA