News

Michael McClaren appointed to the Board of Directors of the East Aurora Cooperative Market

On March 15, 2018 Partner Michael McClaren was appointed to the Board of Directors of the East Aurora Cooperative Market in East Aurora, New York. The East Aurora Cooperative Market was founded in 2010 and opened its doors to customers in 2016.  The co-op was founded to increase access to local health foods, and to support WNY farms and producers.  It has approximately 1,700 members who support a 4,450’ retail store.  The co-op market is located at 591 Main Street, East Aurora, New...

Webster Szanyi obtains termination award against tenured teacher in Section 3020-a proceeding

Ryan Smith, a partner at the firm, represented a school district at a hearing pursuant to New York Education Law § 3020-a, and successfully proved that the disciplinary charges warranted termination of a long-term tenured teacher.   The charges were based on a number of instances where the teacher interacted with students and staff in a negative manner.  The alleged misconduct included, for example, directing a student to sit at a desk facing the blackboard during class; denying a student permission to use the bathroom because the student asked the teacher aide, and not the teacher, for permission; and ignoring a consultant teacher’s questions in front of a class.  The teacher had no formal disciplinary history when the charges were filed.  However, the teacher had received counseling memoranda over the years that related to the conduct at issue. The district relied upon the written counseling to demonstrate notice and, in some circumstances, to demonstrate directives with which the teacher failed to comply, in support of insubordination charges.  The district presented testimony from several students involved in the underlying incidents, as well as testimony from staff and administrators, in support of the charges.  Ultimately, the hearing officer agreed that the teacher could not be remediated and awarded termination....

Charlie Roberts and Brittany Jones present CLE to Niagara Corporate Counsel Association

Webster Szanyi LLP attorneys Charlie Roberts and Brittany Jones presented a one hour CLE, The Attorney Client Privilege & In-House Counsel, to the Niagara Frontier Corporate Counsel Association on January 24, 2018 at the Buffalo Club.  The presentation focused on the numerous challenges in-house counsel face with respect to the attorney-client privilege, including the dual role as business partner and counsel many in-house counsel serve, as well as a number of practical tips on preserving the privilege of communication of legal...

Jeremy A. Colby obtains a decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirming dismissal of claims against Highway Superintendent

On January 23, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a decision dismissing claims against a Highway Superintendent arising from efforts to rebuild a road that a resident later claimed to have been abandoned by the town.  After the resident attempted to block construction vehicles, she was arrested and asserted claims for false arrest and abuse of process against the Highway Superintendent.  Partner Jeremy A. Colby defended the case in the Western District of New York, which granted summary judgment dismissing the claims.  Mr. Colby also appeared before the Court of Appeals, which affirmed dismissal because the plaintiff had conceded that probable cause existed to arrest...

Webster Szanyi obtained a favorable decision that resulted in $6 million of insurance coverage for an insured

In a declaratory judgment action venued in the United States District Court in Rochester, Webster Szanyi obtained a favorable decision that resulted in $6 million of insurance coverage for an insured defending a catastrophic personal injury action in New York State Supreme Court.  Harleysville Worcester Insurance Company had disclaimed coverage for its insured, MGB Building, contending that its coverage did not extend to a permissive driver of a vehicle that had been “borrowed” by MGB, because the vehicle was not being used in MGB’s business at the time of the accident.  Arguing that the policy did not clearly specify that only borrowed vehicles being used in MGB’s business would be covered, Webster Szanyi’s managing partner Kevin Szanyi convinced the Court that, as the drafter of the policy, it was Harleysville’s obligation to exclude coverage for such situations if that was the insurance company’s intention.  Here, however, there was no such limitation in the policy.  As Mr. Szanyi noted, at best, the policy was ambiguous and, in such situations, ambiguities must be resolved in an insured’s favor.  The Court agreed.  See Harleysville Worcester Insurance Company v. MGB Building, Inc., et al., 16-cv-6135-CJS-JWF (W.D.N.Y....

Heather Dechert obtains a favorable finding from the Division of Human Rights for County

Webster Szanyi LLP recently represented a county wherein a county employee alleged that she was the subject of discrimination based on her age and that she was not promoted to a higher position in her department due to her age.  In October, 2017, the firm received a favorable finding from the New York State Division of Human Rights (“SDHR”).  Based on its investigation, the SDHR issued a “No Probable Cause” finding in its Determination and Order After Investigation.  The investigation did not reveal sufficient evidence to support a conclusion that the employee was denied equal terms, conditions and privileges of employment based on her...

Division of Human Rights issues finding of No Probable Cause on claim of age discrimination by substitute teacher

Webster Szanyi LLP recently obtained a “No Probable Cause” finding from the New York State Division of Human Rights (“SDHR”) on claim of age discrimination against a local school district.  Heather Dechert represented the district against a claim by a substitute teacher alleging that he was subject to discrimination based on his age and that he was removed from the district’s substitute list as a result.  In July, 2017, the firm received a favorable finding from the SDHR.  Based on its investigation, the SDHR issued a “No Probable Cause” finding as it was unable to conclude that the information obtained established a violation of any statute, and the evidence supported the district’s legitimate business reason for removing the individual from its substitute teacher...

Kevin Szanyi, Michael McClaren and Thomas Lane recognized for excellence by Best Lawyers in America

Kevin Szanyi, Michael McClaren and Thomas Lane were named to Best Lawyers in America for 2018.   Mr. Szanyi was recognized for his outstanding practice in the areas of Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury Litigation (both Defendants & Plaintiffs) and Product Liability (Defendants).  Mr. Lane was recognized for his outstanding practice in the area of Commercial Litigation and Product Liability (Defendants).  Mr. McClaren was recognized for his outstanding practice in the area of Commercial Litigation.  Congratulations to Kevin, Mike and Tom for this well-deserved...

Webster Szanyi LLP prevails in appeal before the Appellate Division, Fourth Department

Webster Szanyi represented the County of Chautauqua in a personal injury action brought by a plaintiff who was injured at a County-owned transfer station. The trial court granted the County summary judgment, finding that there was no proof that the County had any notice of the allegedly defective condition and that plaintiff’s claims were based upon mere speculation. Plaintiff appealed to the Appellate Division, Fourth Department. On appeal, Webster Szanyi prevailed on behalf of its client by obtaining an affirmance of the trial court’s order.  Brittany Jones, Esq., an associate at the firm, successfully argued the...

Seven Webster Szanyi attorneys recognized by Super Lawyers.

Partners Ted Graney, Thomas Lane, Susan McClaren, Andrew Miller, Nelson Perel, Ryan Smith and Kevin Szanyi were named to the Upstate New York Super Lawyers list for 2017. The firm’s members recognized for their excellence practice in the areas of product liability defense; business litigation; labor and employment law; education law; state, local and municipal law; construction litigation; and environmental...

Webster Szanyi Obtains Tax Exemption for Developer

On behalf of its client, a local developer, Webster Szanyi commenced an Article 78 proceeding challenging the City of Buffalo’s refusal to provide a tax exemption under  Real Property Tax Law § 485-a for the client’s redevelopment project, which involved converting an old, non-residential structure into mixed use facility.  The Court ordered a hearing regarding the City’s refusal to grant the tax exemption to the project.  At the hearing, partner Andrew Miller presented substantial evidence that the City’s failure to provide the exemption was arbitrary and capricious.  After the hearing, but before the Court rendered a decision, the parties reached a resolution, wherein the City agreed to settle the dispute by granting Webster Szanyi’s client the full tax exemption for the project, which will save the client several hundred thousand dollars in taxes....

Thomas Lane and Andrew Miller prevail in Commercial Lease Arbitration

Partners Thomas Lane and Andrew Miller recently prevailed in a commercial arbitration arising out of lease dispute.  Webster Szanyi represented a prominent local developer and landlord, and established that the client’s tenant, a national company, had breached the terms of the parties’ lease by improperly removing fixtures from the building, causing damage to the building, and otherwise leaving the property in an improper condition after vacating.  After three days of testimony, an arbitrator issued a sizeable award of damages in favor of Webster Szanyi’s client, and also ruled the client was entitled to recover its attorney’s fees....

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The team at Webster Szanyi routinely provides us with expert, practical and timely advice on a wide range of school law and labor relations matters.  Our relationship with Webster Szanyi has been a significant value add for the Hamburg Central School District.

Michael Cornell Superintendent of Hamburg Central School District

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.

Jill Safon
Associate General Counsel,
Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA