Goldberg Segalla is proud to offer comprehensive counsel to a wide range of municipal entities and to defend them in state and federal courts, as well as in all types of alternative dispute resolution. Whether our clients need day-to-day advice on issues affecting municipalities, or representation in litigation or investigations, our team has the depth and experience to help. Our experience includes:
- Administrative investigations and proceedings
- Civil Service law and administration
- Collective bargaining and contract administration
- Constitutional claims
- Construction and development matters
- Employment matters, including discrimination, harassment, termination, and retaliation claims
- Excessive force allegations
- Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)
- Insurance coverage analysis and counsel
- Legislative proceedings and resolutions
- Open Meetings Law
- Premises liability claims, motor vehicle claims, and other torts
- Sexual abuse claims
- Title VII and Title IX actions
Our team draws on the invaluable insight of former government attorneys, as well as experience from serving on numerous municipal councils, boards, and committees across our national footprint.
Our attorneys work closely with our clients to share the wealth of experience we have in the municipal field, providing alerts, news, and commentary on current issues and developments that could affect them, and offering in-house training on subjects spanning employment policies, risk management, insurance, and civil rights, as well as emerging issues like data breaches and cyber liability and the use of body cameras in law enforcement. We are able to offer these educational opportunities because many of Goldberg Segalla’s municipal attorneys hold leadership positions in both state and national municipal associations, including:
- Association of Towns
- County Attorneys Association of New York (CAASNY)
- Defense Research Institute (DRI) Governmental Liability Committee and Law Enforcement Sub-Committee—including the current chair, Jonathan M. Bernstein
- International Municipal Lawyers Association
- National Public Employer Labor Relations Association
- New York State Bar Association, Local and State Government Law Section
- New York State Public Employer Labor Relations Association (NYSPERLA)
- Organization of Public Employer Negotiators
As trusted counselors to a vast number of public employers, large and small, we can help our clients avoid unnecessary litigation involving the workplace issues facing public employers with a unionized workforce. At Goldberg Segalla, we represent numerous employers, offering assistance with:
- Civil Service administration
- Conducting mandatory sexual harassment training
- Conducting workplace violence training, as well as counseling on investigations
- Contract negotiations and disputes
- Creating a workplace free from any violations of any state and/or federal codes
- Developing and updating employment policies
- Discrimination and civil rights claims
- Hiring and termination under collective bargaining agreements or Civil Service Law § 75
- Representing employers before PERB on management placement petitions, interest arbitration, and unfair labor practice charges
- Requests for reasonable accommodations, FMLA administration and leave administration
- Social media, cloud computing, and other technology policies
- Workers’ compensation
Goldberg Segalla also provides full representation in any Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or State Division of Human Rights (DHR) claims. We aggressively defend any charges brought against employers in all administrative proceedings and judicial forums. Our team of knowledgeable litigators has had great success in defending claims based on alleged age, sex, and race discrimination, as well as claims based upon alleged retaliation. Of course, our defense of these claims also includes training our clients so that they may avoid claims and litigation in the future.
Working closely with our Constitutional and Civil Rights and Appellate practices, our municipal attorneys have defended numerous government agencies, elected officials, police officers, corrections officers, and counties and local governments in civil rights suits in federal and state courts. We’ve successfully defended free speech claims, allegations of police misconduct, and general municipal liability claims.
Our attorneys proactively counsel on policies and matters related to:
- First Amendment
- Fourth Amendment
- Due process and equal protection clauses
- Excessive use of force
- False arrest
- Malicious prosecution
- 42 U.S.C. § 1981, 1983, and 1985
- State constitutions and local ordinances
Our capabilities range from cases involving state-specific human rights laws to the codes. Our team has extensive experience representing governments facing challenges in state court arising out of government decision making, whether through enacting local laws, or through other agency action. We also have extensive experience bringing and defending proceedings to vacate and confirm arbitration awards.
With a roster stacked with seasoned litigators, Goldberg Segalla brings exceptional strength and savvy to the defense of a wide range of liability claims brought against municipalities and public entities. We have developed strong practices—with proven results in critical areas including:
We defend cases involving personal injuries occurring to individuals while on the property of the owner or municipality, as well as in the workplace. We represent numerous municipalities and public entities in claims connected to public parks and facilities, public and government buildings, and other places where the public is accommodated.
Goldberg Segalla has defended numerous municipalities and public entities in diverse property damage claims, including claims in the multimillion-dollar range. Our experience includes cases alleging property damage as the result of environmental contamination and construction.
For cases involving claims of negligent security, we offer extensive trial experience with a commitment to early dispositive motions, creative settlement resolutions, and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) wherever possible. We frequently handle cases involving alleged failure to provide reasonable security measures, allegations a security officer or other agent of the facility failed to act to prevent an attack, injuries allegedly caused by security personnel or employees, assault and other violent crimes, and catastrophic personal injuries.
We have extensive experience representing various municipalities and public entities in automobile-related personal injury accidents—including those involving cars, trucks, law enforcement vehicles, public transportation, and heavy vehicles such as waste disposal trucks and construction machinery. We work with well-known experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, biomechanical reconstruction, vehicle kinematics, and more, and we are well-versed in cases involving road and highway design. Our firm also has significant experience in matters involving uninsured, underinsured, and supplementary motorist (UM/UIM/SUM) coverage.
Our attorneys often work with municipalities and boards on applications for developmental projects. Given our experience, we can provide complete guidance to help municipalities and applicants comply with all local and state codes and statutes. Many of our lawyers have firsthand knowledge of the inner working of government agencies from past and present experience as members of zoning, planning, and town boards and city councils. We have represented developers, business owners, zoning boards of appeal, and planning and town boards in a variety of settings and contexts, including:
- Applications for variances
- Brownfield developments
- Condominium and homeowners’ association law
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Self-Audit Policy
- State environmental compliance laws and regulations
- Tax certiorari proceedings
- Title and priority issue litigation
Risk assessment and management are built into everything we do at Goldberg Segalla, where our priority is delivering cost-effective value through strategies tailored to the needs of every client. For municipal clients, that means identifying future areas of concern and taking early steps to address them—as, for example, protecting property rights and governmental interests from the very beginning of a rezoning initiative. Should litigation result out of environmental claims or other issues involving the actions of a planning or zoning board, our team of attorneys will be available to guide our clients through the process.
Goldberg Segalla leverages exceptional experience in counseling municipal clients as well as workers’ compensation litigation and claims-handling strategy to craft long-term risk- and cost-reduction plans for a wide variety of governments, agencies, and other public entities.
While we frequently litigate individual workers’ compensation claims for municipalities and public entities, these clients most often call on us for counsel that is strategic, proactive, and sustained. For example, we offer an innovative Integrated Disability and Workforce Management Program to provide our municipal and other clients with a holistic approach to related workers’ compensation, employee health care, and reasonable accommodation and leave management matters—whether in the context of compliance with state and federal regulations, litigation, or transactions.
Our municipal attorneys work seamlessly with the accomplished practitioners in the firm’s Construction practice to provide an extensive array of construction-related legal services for municipalities and school districts. Our experience includes:
- Bid documents and proposals
- Construction defect claims
- Litigation and arbitration of complex contract disputes
- Mechanic’s liens
- Minority/Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) certification
- Negotiating contracts, including subcontract agreements
- Worksite injury claims
Our attorneys are highly skilled in the defense of claims involving all construction issues from the beginning of the bidding, to the inception of the contract, throughout the building process, and to the completion and issuance of the certificate of occupancy.
When our municipal clients face issues involving environmental law or toxic exposures, our municipal and government liability attorneys draw on the insights, resources, and unmatched experience of the firm’s Toxic Tort and Environmental practices. Our team is at the forefront of toxic tort litigation nationally, and fully equipped to defend environmental contamination and personal injury actions involving exposures including:
- Carbon monoxide
- Caustic chemicals
- Lead paint
- Legionnaire’s disease
- Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE)
- Pesticides and herbicides
- Silica and mixed dust
- Teratogenic substances
- Unregulated contaminants, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and 1,4-Dioxane
Goldberg Segalla’s attorneys also have extensive experience counseling and defending municipalities and public entities—including generators, transporters, manufacturers, contractors, and property owners—in a wide range of matters involving environmental compliance, insurance, and financing of projects. That experience covers:
- Clean Water Act (CWA)
- Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
- Cost-recovery associated with environmental clean-up
- Other federal and state laws and regulations
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
- Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
High-profile ransomware and malware attacks, breaches, and leaks have brought attention to the major cyber-related risks facing individuals, companies, organizations, and governments. For governments, these risks don’t stop at data loss, disrupted services, and shaken credibility—beyond the initial breach and response lies the potentially greater risk of liability.
With the full support of Goldberg Segalla’s Cybersecurity and Data Privacy practice, our attorneys assist all types of municipal and governmental clients in matters related to cybersecurity, regulation, insurance, and litigation, including:
- Crafting training and protocols for breaches or other tech-related crises
- Data breach rapid response and crisis management
- Drafting and updating policies for data storage and security, social media use, and privacy laws and regulations
- Securing maximum cyber-risk insurance coverage and reviewing policies
- Understanding new technologies as they emerge and develop
In the unfortunate event of a breach or other crisis, our team delivers vigorous defense and a comprehensive crisis management strategy. Beyond any initial response and trial, our attorneys are also highly skilled at helping municipal bodies recover from data breaches and tech-related crises, helping them to restore credibility and craft stronger technology policies, data breach response procedures, and other protections.
Our attorneys counsel educational institutions, school and district administrators, and school district boards and boards of trustees on a wide variety of matters, including:
- Student disciplinary procedures and codes
- Tenure denial and other faculty employment issues
- Title IX administration and compliance, including training and policy development
- Compliance issues arising out of applicable state and federal laws, rules and regulations
- Disciplinary proceedings under New York Education Law § 3020-a
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and other privacy matters
- Labor, employment, and employee benefit issues, including matters involving administrators and staff
- Discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation claims
- Federal and state tax exemption
- Corporate and governance matters
With issues involving students, our experience allows us to review student disciplinary procedures and codes, assist in hearings related to student discipline, and render advice regarding search and seizures in the school, as well as drug testing. Our experienced litigators have handled numerous cases involving student injuries on campus or in the classroom, and we have the experience to assist school districts in investigating these claims.
Our team has extensive experience drafting policies under Title IX and providing advice during internal investigations of charges of harassment and discrimination. We have a strong track record representing and defending institutions during investigations conducted by state and federal agencies, including, but not limited to, the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.
Our experience and knowledge have also allowed us to successfully defend numerous school districts in claims involving sexual abuse or harassment of students by teachers, as well as claims of sexual abuse or harassment committed by one student upon another. Of course, we understand that these are often extremely sensitive issues, and we pride ourselves on handling each case with the dignity and confidentiality required by our clients as well as the courts.
When public colleges and universities call on us for help, our municipal and governmental liability attorneys team up with the attorneys in out Higher Education Practice Group — including seasoned litigators and several lawyers with experience from in-house legal and human relations roles with public educational institutions — to offer comprehensive counsel and meet the unique challenges and liability issues that those clients face.
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