Brian McElhenny, a partner in Goldberg Segalla’s Municipal and Governmental Liability Practice Group, has more than three decades of experience defending clients in the courts on Long Island and in the New York City area in municipal liability, labor law construction, product liability, and premises cases. He has tried more than 90 cases to jury verdict and argued 80 appeals before the Appellate Division, Second Department in New York State, and he has argued five cases before the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

In one example of Brian’s municipal and governmental liability experience, he successfully defended the Town of Islip, New York, in a high-profile case involving a shooting at a town park. In Batista v. Town of Islip, the teenage plaintiff was shot by a gang member while watching a basketball game. He sustained a traumatic brain injury and blindness in one eye. The plaintiff sued, arguing that the town failed to provide adequate security and failed to take adequate measures to combat gang violence. Brian argued that the shooting was not foreseeable and that the town’s decisions concerning security were protected by the governmental immunity doctrine. The judge granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

In another example, Schacker v. Town of Huntington, the 18-year-old plaintiff was driving his car on a state road in Huntington, New York, when it slid on black ice and collided with another vehicle. He sustained a traumatic brain injury and was hospitalized for months. The plaintiff sued the town and the state of New York for failing to maintain proper drainage, which he asserted caused ice to form at the intersection; there was a history of complaints of water problems at the intersection. Brian argued that the town was not liable, as the intersection was under the control of the state and there was insufficient evidence that the town breached its duty to maintain the roadway. The town’s motion for summary judgment was granted by the Suffolk County Supreme Court.

Brian is a frequent author and presenter on topics in his areas of concentration. Recently, he authored an article on New York’s “primary assumption of risk defense” doctrine for the New York Law Journal.

He has been awarded an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and has been selected for inclusion in New York Metro Super Lawyers and as one of Long Island’s Top Legal Eagles.

  • Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating: AV Preeminent
  • Top Rated Lawyer in Litigation, American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell, 2014
  • New York Metro Super Lawyers, 2012–17
  • Long Island's 2012 Top Legal Eagles
Professional Affiliations
  • Suffolk County Bar Association
  • Nassau-Suffolk Trial Lawyers Association
Admitted to Practice
  • New York
  • U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Community Involvement
  • President, Head of the Bay Club, Inc.
  • St. John's University School of Law, J.D., 1980
  • Colgate University, B.A., 1977
  • Presenter, "Labor Law Claims, Coverage and Litigation," New York State Bar Association CLE, New York, NY, December 16, 2016
  • Presenter, "Handling and Defending Depositions," New York State Bar Association, October 2016
  • Presenter, "Negligent Security and Intruder Cases," New York State Bar Association, March 12, 2015
  • Presenter, "Legal Issues in Recreational Activity and Sporting Activity Claims," New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal and New York School Insurance Reciprocal, May 11, 2015 
  • Author, “Court of Appeals Decisions Clarify Primary Assumption of Risk Defense in Tort Actions,” The Defendant, Defense Association of New York, Summer 2013
  • Author, “Court of Appeals Decisions Clarify Primary Assumption of Risk Defense,” New York Law Journal, May 10, 2013
  • Presenter, “Handling the Police Liability Claim,” National Business Institute, March 5, 2013
  • Author, “Recent Developments in the Primary Assumption of Risk Defense,” New York State Bar Association Torts, Insurance & Compensation Law Section Journal, Winter 2011
  • Author, "Recent Developments in the Primary Assumption of Risk Defense," The Defense Association of New York, Spring/Summer 2011; The Suffolk Lawyer, March 2011
  • Author, "Court of Appeals Rejects Estoppel Claim Against Municipality," The Suffolk Lawyer, November 2009
  • Author, "Appellate Rulings on Collateral Source Reduction of Jury Verdicts," Defendant Magazine, Summer 2008; Torts Insurance and Compensation Law Journal, Winter 2009