Megan R. Naughton, co-chair of Robinson+Cole’s Immigration Group, has joined Connecticut’s Statewide Legal Services (SLS) Board of Directors. SLS empowers low-income people in Connecticut to obtain justice by providing tools and information to address their civil legal needs. The nonprofit legal aid advice and referral center, available by phone to low-income people throughout Connecticut, helps clients solve their legal problems for free. Read more in the news release.
Robinson+Cole recognized its commitment to diversity, education, and community at a private reception prior to the Hartford Stage performance of The Pianist of Willesden Lane on April 7, 2015. Robinson+Cole, a longtime supporter of Hartford Stage, was a production sponsor for The Pianist of Willesden Lane.
During the reception, Managing Partner John B. Lynch Jr. presented a check for $2,500 to Rie Poirier-Campbell, executive director of Hartford Performs. The donation will help support Hartford Performs in its mission to provide quality arts education programs to Hartford Public School students through arts integration, in-school arts instruction, and out-of-school arts programming. Robinson+Cole construction lawyer Lisa B. Andrzejewski is a member of the Board of Directors of Hartford Performs. Read more in the news release.
The Hartford Preservation Alliance (HPA) has elected Robinson+Cole lawyer Alexander W. Judd to its board of directors. The mission of HPA is to revitalize the historic fabric of Hartford, connect its citizens to the city's heritage, and collaborate to impact community economic development.
Mr. Judd is a member of Robinson+Cole's Environmental and Utilities Group, representing clients in the areas of energy, utilities, and telecommunications law. While attending the University of Connecticut School of Law, he received the CALI Award for Excellence for Renewable Energy and Green Building, International Environmental Law, Land Use, and Historic Preservation Law and Public Policy.
Connecticut Senate Minority Leader Leonard Fasano has reappointed Robinson+Cole lawyer Patrick M. Birney to the Connecticut Lottery Corporation's (CLC) Board of Directors, and the board unanimously elected him vice chair at its most recent board meeting. Mr. Birney has been a member of the CLC Board of Directors since October 2007 and previously served as chair of its Finance Committee. Read more in the press release here.
Robinson+Cole construction lawyer Lisa B. Andrzejewski has been elected to the Board of Directors of Hartford Performs. Hartford Performs is a collaborative network of Hartford Public Schools, arts providers, community organizations, funders, and other supporters working together to deliver quality arts education programs to Hartford Public School students. As of the 2014-2015 school year, Hartford Performs supports arts integration programming for students in 28 Hartford public elementary schools. Read more in the press release.
The American College of Mortgage Attorneys (ACMA) has elected Robinson+Cole lawyer Candace M. Cunningham to its membership as a Fellow. Ms. Cunningham will be welcomed at the ACMA's annual meeting in October 2015.ACMA fellowship is by invitation only. Fellows include in-house and government lawyers and private practitioners, who are experienced in preparing real estate mortgages and lending transactions secured by real estate and related practice areas, as well as prominent members of the academic community from each state. Read more in the news release.
Robinson+Cole welcomes Linn Foster Freedman to its Business Litigation Group as a partner, where she will chair the firm's Privacy and Data Security Team. Ms. Freedman joins the firm from Nixon Peabody LLP, where she led its Privacy and Data Protection Group and HIPAA Compliance Team. Additionally, Kathryn M. Sylvia has joined the firm's Privacy and Data Security Team as an associate. Ms. Freedman and Ms. Sylvia regularly practice out of the firm's Providence and Boston offices.
Ms. Freedman focuses her practice on compliance with all state and federal privacy and security laws and regulations, as well as emergency databreach response and mitigation. She also authors the blog Data Privacy and Security Insider, www.dataprivacyandsecurityinsider.com, offering insights into the tightly controlled and constantly changing industry. Read more in the news release.
Robinson+Cole lawyer Eric D. Daniels is co-chairing Interval House's third Breakfast with Champions scheduled for April 2, 2015. The event, taking place at The Riverview in Simsbury, is honoring Dr. William A. Petit Jr. of the Petit Family Foundation for his work with Interval House as a member of Men Make a Difference, Men Against Domestic Violence. The event will benefit Interval House in its mission to end domestic violence. Read more in the press release here.
Insurance litigation lawyer Wystan M. Ackerman's article "The Next Big Wave Of Insurance Class Actions" was published in Law360 on April 13, 2015. In the article, Mr. Ackerman discusses whether an insurer may apply depreciation to the labor component of the replacement cost estimate. Specifically, he examines the labor depreciation issue, recent decisions, and the next moves. Please click here to read the full article.
Mr. Ackerman chairs Robinson+Cole's Class Action Team and writes the blog Insurance Class Actions Insider. Law360 is a newswire for business lawyers and other professionals that provides coverage of breaking news and legal developments.
Robinson+Cole real estate lawyers Andrew L. Kramer, Matthew J. Lawlor, Jerome L. Garciano, and Katherine C. Bailey represented a national bank in its role as a lender for the Cambridge Housing Authority's (CHA) first four Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) conversion deals. In April 2015, the bank closed the tax-exempt bond financing for 511 units of public housing conversions under HUD's RAD program. The RAD program was created to give public housing authorities a tool to preserve and improve public housing properties by restructuring HUD subsidies into long-term contracts that facilitate the private financing of improvements. These first four transactions are part of a long-term project to convert all 2,129 of CHA's public housing units to RAD. The bank is the top affordable housing finance provider in the country, lending $3.2 billion in 2014.
Land use lawyer Dwight H. Merriam, FAICP, co-moderated with Professor Daniel R. Mandelker, FAICP, of the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, the webinar "Reengineering Our Tired Downtowns" for the International Municipal Lawyers Association on March 8, 2015. The panelists were Mark White of White & Smith, LLC, in Lee's Summit, Missouri; and Victor Dover, FAICP, of Dover, Kohl & Partners in Coral Gables, Florida. Please click here to view the presentation and here to view the resource materials.
In addition, Mr. Merriam moderated a panel discussion "Eminent Domain and Economic Development" on March 20, 2015, at the annual Gallivan Conference at the University of Connecticut School of Law, whose theme was Kelo: A Decade Later. Panelists included Nicole Stelle Garnett, John P. Murphy Foundation professor at Notre Dame Law School; David Kooris, director of the Office of Planning & Economic Development for Bridgeport, Connecticut; Anita Singh Lemar, clinical associate professor at Yale Law School; and Thomas Miceli, professor at the Department of Economics at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut. Mr. Merriam is the co-editor of Eminent Domain Use and Abuse: Kelo in the Context (ABA 2006). Click here for information on the book.
The Connecticut Turnaround Management Association (CTTMA) recently elected business transactions lawyer Kristen M. Bandura to a three-year term on its Board of Directors. In this position, Ms. Bandura will also serve as chair of the association's Network of Women (NOW) Committee.
The CTTMA, the Connecticut Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association (TMA), is the state's leading association of corporate renewal professionals. The TMA is a global nonprofit organization with more than 9,300 members in 49 chapters. Serving as a forum for professionals from all disciplines, the TMA promotes high standards of practice, fosters professional development, and enhances the image of its members. Its members come from many backgrounds and include interim corporate managers; financial, operating, and legal advisors; investment and commercial bankers; private equity executives and venture capitalists; and many other related professionals.
Patrick M. Birney authored the article "Perfecting Security Interests in a Debtor's Insurance Policy,” published in the April 2014 issue of the American Bankruptcy Institute Journal (ABI Journal). In the article, Mr. Birney outlines the provisions of UCC Article 9 that were the focus of a decision by the First Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel and an order by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maine. He goes on to examine those decisions and then concludes with practical tips for secured creditors intending to perfect a security interest in a debtor's insurance proceeds. Please click here to view the article.
Mr. Birney, a finance and business litigation partner in the Hartford office, serves as a contributing editor of the ABI Journal.
Real estate and development lawyers Brian W. Blaesser and Timothy C. Twardowski published an article in the Spring 2015 issue of the International Council of Shopping Centers publication Retail Law Strategist entitled "Energy Benchmarking Ordinances: Coping with the New Mandate on Retail Owners and Tenants." Their article discusses the underlying rationale for building energy benchmarking and the competing perspectives of proponents and opponents of government-mandated energy benchmarking programs. It also discusses several common elements of energy benchmarking ordinances and offers practical tips for retail owners and tenants when their local government is contemplating adopting an energy benchmarking ordinance. Mr. Blaesser is a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP B+C). To read the article, please click here.
Sorell E. Negro, land use lawyer in the Hartford office, organized and moderated a national webinar for the American Planning Association, held on March 31, 2015, entitled "Lessons from the Sage Grouse: Impacts of the Endangered Species Act on Local Land Use Planning." This webcast discussed what an Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing may mean for local governments, how local or regional efforts can be incentivized to cooperate with state or federal policy, how to break down the 'sue-settle' model for the betterment of the species, and whether the ESA requires an overhaul and if that is possible. Speakers included Fred Jarman, director of the Building & Planning Department for Garfield County, Colorado; Dr. Rob Roy Ramey, president of Wildlife Science International, Inc.; and Damien M. Schiff, an environmental and land use litigator of Alston & Bird, who argued and won Sackett v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 132 S. Ct. 1367 (2012).
Health law lawyer Brian D. Nichols recently co-authored the book Clinical Integration: Population Health and Accountable Care, third edition. The book, a comprehensive compilation of current understanding of the evolution of clinically integrated networks (CINs) and accountable care organizations (ACOs) across the US health care system, looks into the early results of the Affordable Care Act and updates its chapters on financial management, quality, primary care, regulatory, leadership, network evolution, health information technology, and comparative effectiveness research. To find out more about the book, please click here.
Employee benefits lawyer Virginia E. McGarrity presented a continuing education session sponsored by ConnectiCare to a group of approximately 40 large group brokers on March 2, 2015. The session, "Advising Your Clients on Health Care Reform," covered common issues and questions brokers will face from large employers concerning control group rules, employer mandate penalties, and the Cadillac tax.
In addition, Ms. McGarrity co-conducted with Tim Harlan from Express Scripts an in-house training session, "Large Group Health Care Reform and Pharmacy Trends," for ConnectiCare on February 4. 2015. Participants included large group sales staff, actuaries, and benefits managers as well as account managers, underwriters, product management staff, and medical analytics staff.
Robinson+Cole partner Brian E. Moran received the Bridgeport Reentry Collaborative's Urdang-Torres Community Impact Award on March 27, 2015, at the Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, Connecticut, for his book The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked the American Dream. This award honors a person, agency, or advocate who has worked tirelessly to promote the betterment of those reentering society from incarceration. Please click here to view a photo from the event.
In The Justice Imperative, Mr. Moran and the Malta Justice Initiative tackle the problem of the rapidly growing prison population in the United States. The book outlines 30 specific reforms for Connecticut's legislative and executive branches to consider that look to less costly, more effective, and more humane alternatives. In an editorial published on March 2, 2015, the Connecticut Law Tribune endorsed the reforms presented by The Justice Imperative, stating that "[n]ot everyone in prison deserves to be there. Not all offenders are dangerous, and the longer they remain in prison, the less likely they are to successfully re-enter society after paying their debt."
Also, in connection with The Justice Imperative, Mr. Moran was part of a panel discussion on Focus on Connecticut, a News 12 Connecticut program that aired on February 7, 2015. He, along attorney Philip Russell and Redding Police Chief Doug Fuchs, were interviewed by host Tom Appleby. Please click here to view the broadcast.
Robinson+Cole was a Silver Sponsor of the Downtown Hartford YMCA's Mission in Motion Cycle-a-Thon. Irina Sirovskaya, a paralegal in the Hartford office, was the firm organizer for this annual fundraiser, held on March 21, 2015, in the XL Center Atrium. Mission in Motion is an indoor cycling event made up of teams that ride a total of four hours to raise money in support of the Downtown Y annual campaign. It supports many causes, such as Read to Succeed, Livestrong, the Footlights performing arts and education program, and other innovative life-changing programs. These programs are available to youth, families, and adults, regardless of their ability to pay.
Many Robinson+Cole employees contributed to the effort, including everyone who paid $5 to wear jeans on two Fridays in March and those who paid $10 for a vintage R+C sports bag. Ms. Sirovskaya assembled two bike teams, Livestrong YMCA and Livestrong R+C. Ms. Gizzi, the captain of the R+C Livestrong Cycling Team, and her family set their wheels in motion by cycling the whole four hours.
Thanks to all who supported the cause in one way or another. Your participation made it possible for the firm to raise a total of $1,025. Way to go, team Robinson+Cole!
Matthew J. Lawlor, real estate lawyer in the Boston office, wrote the article "Getting down to specifics for Boston's growth zones," which appeared in the March 2015 issue of REBA News, a publication of the Real Estate Bar Association for Massachusetts. In response to the prediction of strong population growth in Boston over the next 15 years, requiring almost 53,000 new housing units—senior, student, workforce, and affordable—the idea of growth zones, starting with areas along two major transit lines, has emerged. Mr. Lawlor outlines four critical regulatory questions that need to be answered for the growth zones to have a positive effect: as of right residential density, inclusionary affordable housing requirements, off-street parking requirements, and large project review. To find out more, please click here.
Robinson+Cole represented Vineyard Vines, a Stamford-based clothing and accessory retailer, in all aspects of its lease to relocate its national headquarters. Real estate lawyer April F. Condon took the lead on the deal to ensure that the move was realized. Also involved in the project were real estate lawyers Steven L. Elbaum and Charles F. Martin III.
Each year, the board of NAIOP Connecticut & Suburban New York, a chapter of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, recognizes outstanding real estate stars for their positive impact on the community. Honored at NAIOP's annual Night of the Stars Awards Gala on March 10, 2015, Vineyard Vines was the winner in the Connecticut Lease category. The company's 91,000-square-foot new space at Shippan Landing on the Stamford Harbor Waterfront will enable it to hire up to 200 more employees over the next five years, positively influencing the economy in southwestern Connecticut and beyond.
Norman H. Roos, chair of Robinson+Cole's Finance Group, is the long-standing editor of The Abstract, the semiannual publication of the American College of Mortgage Attorneys (ACMA). In that capacity, Mr. Roos edits and provides a summary overview of the articles contained in each issue of The Abstract. The "Editor's Notes" section of the Spring 2015 Abstract covers such topics as tips for lawyers delivering opinion letters in commercial mortgage loan transactions, whether a bad securitization constitutes a good defense to a foreclosure, and the implications of the departure of U.S. retailer Target from the Canadian marketplace, among others.
Fellowship in the ACMA is by nomination only. Its members work together to "shape and enhance the skills and professional responsibility of lawyers who practice commercial real estate finance law." Mr. Roos previously served as Connecticut state chair of the ACMA and as a member of its Board of Regents.
Business litigation counsel Brian J. Wheelin was a panelist for the seminar "What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About the Cybersecurity Crisis," hosted by the Fairfield County Bar Association on March 25, 2015. The seminar covered various topics that provided lawyers with an overview of data security and privacy issues, including the nine categories of cybersecurity threats, current federal and state obligations, tasks every company can implement immediately to combat threats, best practices for responding to an incident, and obtaining insurance to manage risk.
Land use lawyer Sorell E. Negro, along with Martha H. Chumbler of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt and Lawrence E. Bechler of Murphy Desmond S.C., recently co-edited Urban Agriculture: Policy, Law, Strategy, and Implementation. Urban agriculture presents myriad land use, environmental, and regulatory legal issues that affect property owners, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and neighborhood groups. As such, it is being used to meet a variety of environmental, community, and economic goals, including fostering sustainability, increasing economic vitality, repurposing abandoned or deteriorating properties, and improving public health. Urban Agriculture, published by the American Bar Association's Section of State and Local Government Law, provides a framework for lawyers, local officials, planners, and community activists to understand relevant government regulations and sets forth important tools for making urban agriculture, and urban environments, prosper.
To find out more about the book, please click here.
Litigation lawyer John F. X. Peloso Jr. hosted a Robinson+Cole–sponsored Coffee & Conversation on March 11, 2015. Held in the firm's New York City office, this CCIM Institute event featured Seth Pinsky, executive vice president and fund manager of RXR Realty. Mr. Pinsky shared his personal journey in the New York Metro real estate community and discussed RXR's emerging submarkets strategy for the outer boroughs and the suburban downtowns in the tristate area, which includes New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
The CCIM Institute provides education and networking for commercial real estate practitioners.
Brian R. Smith and Dwight H. Merriam, land use lawyers in Robinson+Cole's Hartford office, spoke at the all-day seminar "Connecticut Land Use Law for Municipal Land Use Agencies, Boards, and Commissions," sponsored by the Connecticut Bar Association's Planning and Zoning Section. The event was held at Wesleyan University on March 21, 2015, with 230 local land use officials and planners in attendance. Mr. Smith's presentation, "Special Permit and Site Plan Review," covered statutory requirements of and distinction between special permit and site plan review, and appeals from decisions on applications for special permit and site plan approval. Please click here to view the outline of his session. Mr. Merriam gave a brief presentation during lunch on the 2014 Zoning and Planning Law Report Awards. Click here to view his PowerPoint and here to view his published article in the Zoning and Planning Law Report.
Peter E. Strniste, Jr., construction partner in the Hartford office, spoke to a group of over 100 contractors and retail owners at the Retail Contractor Association's (RCA) Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, on March 14, 2015. Founded in 1990, the RCA is a national organization comprising high-caliber retail contractors united to provide a solid foundation of ethics, quality, and professionalism to the retail construction industry. Mr. Strniste, the keynote speaker, discussed strategies for avoiding and minimizing subcontractor defaults. He also reviewed best practices for selecting subcontractors, essential subcontract terms, and the proper procedure for defaulting and terminating a subcontractor. His presentation also provided a primer of pitfalls for the retail owner, landlord, and contractor when one of the parties files for bankruptcy protection as well as various strategies for protecting the owner and contractor in a construction bankruptcy.
Business litigation attorney Thomas J. Donlon of the Stamford office published an article in the Winter 2015 issue of the ABA Appellate Practice Journal. Mr. Donlon presently serves as vice chair of the Appellate Practice Committee and co-chair of the ABA Amicus Briefs Committee. His article, entitled "Winning Your Appeal At Trial," discusses how attention to appellate issues from the earliest stages of a case, continuing through trial, can lead to better outcomes on appeal. Waiting until the trial is over to begin thinking about an appeal often leads to an adverse appellate decision. Click here to view a copy of the article.
Dwight H. Merriam, land use lawyer in the Hartford office, wrote the article "The 2014 ZiPLeRs: The Twentieth Annual Zoning and Planning Law Report Land Use Decision Awards," published in the January 2015 issue of the Zoning and Planning Law Report. Mr. Merriam provides details on the winners of the 2014 land use decision awards, ranging from getting ready to celebrate the holidays with Satan and telling your friends why dogs have a legal right to fair housing to knowing what to do with a garage that is five times bigger than its house and experiencing the most thoughtful primer ever on caboose law. To view his thoughts on these topics, among many others, please click here to view the entire article.
Intellectual property and technology lawyer Alaine C. Doolan coordinated the "Pathways to Leadership for Women Lawyers" program, sponsored by the Connecticut Bar Association's (CBA) Women in the Law Section. Held in Middletown, Connecticut, on March 12, 2015, this annual event honors women in the legal industry within Connecticut. This year's keynote speaker was Fran Pastore, president and CEO of the Women's Business Development Council. The Ladder Award recipient was Diane Whitney of Pullman & Comley. The Ladder Award honors a Connecticut female attorney who has demonstrated exceptional leadership affecting women. Nuala E. Droney, Kelly A. Frye, Sandra Marin, Christie D. Jean, and Candace M. Cunningham filled the Robinson+Cole table at the event, along with clients and community contacts.
Ms. Doolan is chair of the CBA's Women in the Law Section, whose purpose is to support the role of women in the legal profession, enhancing their available opportunities; providing them with a forum to share concerns, communicate, and network; and to promote CBA participation in substantive areas of the law of particular concern to women in the profession and women who seek legal services.
The Boys & Girls Club of Stamford honored real estate lawyer Steven L. Elbaum and Robinson+Cole at its largest annual fundraiser, City Chic, on March 12, 2015, at The Palace Theatre in Stamford, Connecticut.
Robert Hartt, Stamford Boys & Girls Club's board president, presented the "Corporate Partnership Award" to Mr. Elbaum and Robinson+Cole. In presenting the award, Mr. Hartt said "Steve has served on our Executive Committee for the past ten years, including being our board president for two years. Not only does he help us by applying his business acumen, but he also exhibits a passion for our kids that is palpable and contagious. Steve has also provided us with volunteer lawyers to help us with many of our legal needs." Robinson+Cole was recognized as a generous supporter of the Boys & Girls Club fundraising efforts. Together, Mr. Elbaum and the firm helped thousands of underserved Stamford children gain access to a safe, nurturing environment in which to learn and grow. Please click here to see a photo from the event.
The City Chic event, with 80 sponsors and advertisers, raised $275,000 in net profit for the Boys & Girls Club.
Land use lawyer Dwight H. Merriam spoke at the International Academic Association on Planning Law and Property Rights (PLPR) Annual Conference in Volos, Greece, on February 27, 2015. His presentation, "The Global Spread of Private Communities," focused on a cross-cultural comparison of private residential neighborhoods and its impact on land planning, regulation, and public governance. For more details, click here to view his PowerPoint and here to view his paper.
The PLPR serves principally as an academic peer group, promoting research and scholarship in planning law and the protection of property rights. Click here to view the PLPR website.
The justices of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) have selected Kendra L. Berardi, real estate litigation lawyer in the Boston office, to serve a three-year term on the Standing Advisory Committee on Professionalism. In a rule ordered by the justices, newly admitted lawyers to the Massachusetts bar are required to take a course on professionalism. The Standing Advisory Committee on Professionalism is charged with overseeing the rule's implementation and assuming these duties, among others: selecting the course providers and approving curriculum, recommending the fees for the course, evaluating course providers, and assessing whether the program accomplishes its goals and outcomes.
Labor and employment lawyer Susan N. Masters organized the presentation "The Perils of Vine, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter: Legal Considerations of Social Media," sponsored by the CBA's Young Lawyers Section and held on February 26, 2015, at the Quinnipiac Club in New Haven. This event, which drew many attendees throughout the legal community and beyond, featured labor and employment lawyer Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson as the moderator. The panelists, David Lat, founder and managing editor of the popular legal blog Above the Law; Daniel A. Schwartz, founder of the Connecticut Employment Law Blog; and Lauri Stevens, founder of LAwS Communications, a media consultancy for law enforcement, provided their insights on issues relating to cutting-edge social media in a variety of areas affecting the legal landscape, including the employment and law enforcement arenas. The presentation focused on the unique legal challenges of new social media applications; how human resources, legal professionals, and police departments can use social media content in their investigations and in litigation; and how lawyers have faced legal trouble due to their social media activity.
Construction lawyer Todd R. Regan has been selected to serve on the Attorney Advisory Council of the National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP). Founded in 1942, the NASBP, with over 5,000 members, serves as the national association of, and resource for, surety bond producers. Its role is to engage decision makers and strategic partners; advocate for access to surety bonding, preservation of bonding requirements, and nondiscriminatory practices; advance the role of surety professionals; and empower surety professionals with grassroots efforts. The NASBP Attorney Advisory Council comprises eight lawyers with knowledge in various sectors of the industry, including, but not limited to, construction, government contracts, and surety.
Mr. Regan's practice is dedicated to the construction and surety industries. He represents the full range of construction and surety industry stakeholders in claims involving project delays and inefficiencies, defective design and construction, unfair trade practices and bad faith, and mechanic's liens and bond claims. He has argued before the First Circuit Court of Appeals and the Connecticut Supreme Court on significant legal issues concerning the construction and surety industries. He also counsels construction industry members in negotiating and drafting project-related agreements.
Providence lawyer Steven J. Boyajian wrote the article "Continued Disagreement: Use of Federal Debt Collection Laws to Expand Fraudulent Transfer Look-Back Periods," featured in the March 2015 issue of the American Bankruptcy Institute Journal. In the article, Mr. Boyajian reviews conflicting case law concerning the use, by debtors in possession and bankruptcy trustees, of expanded statutes of limitations available to governmental entities in challenging fraudulent transfers. Specifically, the article discusses (1) the statutory framework that could allow using governmental entities' expanded statutes of limitations in the bankruptcy context and (2) the differing reasoning applied by those courts that have considered whether bankruptcy trustees and debtors in possession may take advantage of these beneficial statutes of limitation. To view the article, please click here.
Land use lawyers Hiram B. Carey, Karla L. Chaffee, and Evan J. Seeman were the featured speakers at the Touro Law Center's Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Institute's inaugural Bagels with the Boards CLE on February 27, 2015. The program, "RLUIPA Defense: Avoiding and Defending RLUIPA Claims," was largely attended by local government lawyers, who learned about techniques that local governments may use to avoid, mitigate, and defend against claims taken under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). Mr. Carey, Ms. Chaffee, and Mr. Seeman also discussed the basic claims that can be brought under RLUIPA; the state of religious land use litigation since RLUIPA's enactment in 2000; the courts' varying interpretations and treatment of the act across the country, particularly in the Second Circuit; recent cases of interest; and how the Supreme Court's decisions in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Holt v. Hobbs could affect the landscape of religious land use litigation. A copy of their PowerPoint presentation is available here.
Robinson+Cole event coordinator Michele A. Sexton was a finalist for Best Campaign Coordinator at the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut's Best of Awards, held at the Hartford Marriott Downtown on February 20, 2015. Nearly 400 people from Hartford-area workplaces came out to celebrate and support the event, which honors workplaces in central and northeastern Connecticut for their dedication and outstanding performance in the United Way Campaign as well as throughout the year. The Best of Awards places considerable emphasis on meaningful, lasting changes in the community. Please click here to view a photo of Ms. Sexton at the awards ceremony, along with her colleagues who supported her.
Environmental lawyer W. Richard Smith spoke on the permitting challenges for offshore marine aquaculture facilities at the Aquaculture America 2015 meeting in New Orleans on February 21, 2015. The presentation was part of the Regulatory Barriers and Opportunities Session of the meeting and reviewed the advances and limitations of federal efforts to authorize large-scale fish production in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. The discussion included a review of the proposed Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council regulations now under consideration by NOAA at the Department of Commerce.
Linnea C. McCaffrey, AICP, land use analyst in the Hartford office, moderated and presented the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) workshop "The Returns on Investment in Planning: How Planning and Planners Add Value to the Municipal Team," held on February 26, 2015, at the Hamden Public Library. Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson welcomed an audience of 35 municipal officials, commissioners, and planners from 31 Connecticut towns and cities. Ms. McCaffrey discussed the certified planners' code of ethics and reasons to use professional planners in an era of budgetary constraints. Panelists Michael Goman of Goman+York Property Advisors; Barry Feldman, associate professor of public policy at Trinity College and former town manager of West Hartford; environmental and land use attorney Diane Whitney of Pullman & Comley; and Mark Pellegrini, AICP, director of planning and economic development for the Town of Manchester presented their various perspectives on the benefits of having professional planning staff, the changing role of the municipal planner and municipal government, and what it takes to attract capital and development.
Ms. McCaffrey is Program Committee co-chair of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association. Click here to see the PowerPoint of the presentation.
James A. Merrifield, manager of Records and Information Governance (IG), presented the session "Become an Information Governance Superhero in 2015" at an event for the Connecticut Chapter of ARMA International on February 23, 2015, in New Haven, Connecticut. Speaking to records and information management professionals, Mr. Merrifield discussed how to develop necessary skills to sell IG to C-level executives and how to gain insight from organizations that already apply IG. He also provided practical tips on how to start the process.
The Connecticut Chapter of ARMA International is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 1976, that provides education, research, and networking opportunities to records and information management professionals. It works to help members use their skills and experiences to promote records, information, and knowledge as corporate assets and as contributors to organizational success.
Hartford environmental lawyers Peter R. Knight and Alexander W. Judd wrote the article "Mass Tort Claims Administration and Handling: Lessons from Deepwater Horizon," which appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of Environmental Litigation, a publication of the American Bar Association. In the context of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Mr. Knight and Mr. Judd discuss how a fast and fair claims process in mass-casualty and toxic-tort litigation can avoid costly and drawn-out tort litigation. After the Deepwater Horizon spill, both British Petroleum (BP) and the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee quickly established a claims process, resulting in BP making thousands of payments that totaled billions of dollars. Even though BP voluntarily launched the claims process, the company now disputes its implementation. Although the Deepwater Horizon claims process is an extreme case, it provides important lessons for parties managing claims after any mass casualty. To find out more, please click here to view the entire article.
Mr. Knight focuses on environmental litigation, defense of agency enforcement actions, and regulatory matters. Mr. Judd represents clients in energy, utilities, and telecommunications law.
A Banker & Tradesman editorial, published on February 15, 2015, draws on real estate lawyer Clive D. Martin's knowledge of condo law, specifically involving a majority-minority owner dispute case in Boston. The article discusses how current condo law does not give majority owners unilateral power nor does it offer protection to the minority under the Civil Rights Act. As quoted by the editorial, according to Mr. Martin, who co-chairs the Condominium Law and Practice Committee of the Real Estate Bar Association, two contradictory things can happen when all the units in a condo except one are owned by a single person, family, or entity: "The minority owner can give in to pressure to sell to the majority at the majority owners' offering price….Or, the minority owner can hold out for a higher price because the majority owners are the most plausible buyers of the unit." Either way, according to Mr. Martin, the Massachusetts condo statute offers very little protection to minority owners and is without any mechanism for keeping the condo playing field level for all unit owners in a situation like this.
Litigation partner Joseph L. Clasen has been invited to join the American Arbitration Association's (AAA) Large Case Committee (LCC). The LCC comprises approximately 10 attorneys, chosen nationally, who have litigation practices focused on large, complex disputes. The committee's role is to consider how to most effectively manage large arbitrations and what modifications to make to the AAA's rules or procedures for these cases. The LCC works to improve the arbitration and mediation process for large complex disputes so as to provide constructive and effective methods of dispute resolution.
Mr. Clasen has extensive experience litigating a wide variety of complex business disputes in state and federal trial and appellate courts, as well as in arbitrations.
The blizzard did not stop over 500 lawyers from trudging through the snow in the annual Walk to the Hill for Legal Aid on January 29, 2015. The lawyers represent bar associations from across Massachusetts in support of the Equal Justice Coalition, the sponsor of the Walk to the Hill. Participating from the Boston office of Robinson+Cole were co-captains Carla M. Moynihan, Kendra L. Berardi, and Elizabeth K. Wright, along with Larry P. Heffernan and John E. O’Brien Jr. Civil legal aid is the last resort for low-income people when they face critical civil legal problems, such as loss of housing, domestic violence, access to veterans' benefits, unemployment appeals, and wage and hour disputes. By providing lawyers and legal advice to people living at or near the federal poverty level, civil legal aid programs enhance their clients' ability to access justice and can serve as a powerful tool to combat poverty. The Walk to the Hill means literally walking up Beacon Street to the Capitol on Beacon Hill to urge state representatives and senators to preserve funding for legal aid programs.
Land use lawyer Dwight H. Merriam was the speaker at a dinner meeting of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, attended by 60 elected and appointed local officials on January 20, 2015. He spoke on "Planning and Regulating for Short-Term Residential Rentals" and addressed their benefits and burdens, planning for such rentals, permitting issues, and how they are regulated, not only by zoning but also by local housing and building codes. Please click here to view his PowerPoint and here to view his resource list.
The BRPC, the regional planning agency for Berkshire County, assists the county's 32 cities and towns by providing services in a variety of areas, including community and economic development, community planning, emergency preparedness planning, environmental and energy planning, and transportation.
Evan J. Seeman, land use lawyer in the Hartford office, served as a panelist in the program "Religious Land Use Litigation Since 2000," held at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Houston on February 5, 2015. Mr. Seeman, along with fellow panelists Daniel Dalton of Dalton & Tomich; Patricia Salkin, dean of Touro Law School; and Noel Sterett of Mauck & Baker, discussed the state of religious land use litigation under RLUIPA since its enactment in 2000 and the different approaches the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal have developed to analyze claims brought under the statute. In addition, they offered advice to both religious applicants and local governments bringing and defending against such claims, including what it takes to constitute a "substantial burden" under the statute, examples of "comparators" under the equal terms provision, the statute's "safe harbor" provision, planning for religious use, educating local officials, and how the Supreme Court's recent decisions in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Holt v. Hobbs may affect the religious land use litigation landscape. Please click here to view the PowerPoint for this session.
At the ABA Midyear Meeting in Houston on February 5, 2015, land law lawyer Sorell E. Negro spoke to the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) on the panel "Moving Up and Moving Out: Appointments, Scholarships, and Fellowships within the ABA and the YLD." Ms. Negro presented on how young lawyers can obtain and excel in leadership positions in the ABA and discussed the benefits of her experiences as a fellow for the Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section as well as CLE director and liaison for the Section of State and Local Government Law. Also on the panel were Lacy Durham, YLD chair-elect; Christina Liu, YLD treasurer; and Jacob Brennan, YLD scholar.
Kathleen M. Porter, privacy and data security lawyer in the Boston office, chaired and served as a panel member of "Privacy, Data Security, and Cyber Security Law: Understanding the Issues and Creating a Career Path," a KnowledgeNet program sponsored by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) on February 3, 2015. Hosted by the Western New England University School of Law and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the panel discussed current and emerging issues in privacy, data security, and cybersecurity law. Joining Ms. Porter in the discussion were Elena M. Gervino, vice president of Claim Legal and Specialized Services, Travelers Companies; Richard R. Reynolds, privacy counsel at Boston Scientific Corporation; and Andrew Levchuk, counsel at Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas.
Dwight H. Merriam of the Land Use Group, along with staff of the State and Local Government Section of the ABA and Martha Chumbler of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, LLP, conducted a teleconference for ABA members on how to get published on January 20, 2015. The program, "Want to be an author? Learn how you can get published by the American Bar Association!," covered these topics: submitting a proposal, how proposals are reviewed, the process of publishing a book, timelines for publication, and lessons learned from successful authors.
Robinson+Cole lawyer Brian E. Moran was interviewed by the Legal Broadcasting Network's (LBN) Scott Drake on January 16, 2015. During the program, Mr. Moran explained his views on America's prison population, emphasizing its cost to taxpayers, its failure to rehabilitate prisoners, and its general ineffectiveness. His views come directly from his book The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked the American Dream, published in 2014. To view the broadcast, please click here.
Mr. Moran is a business litigation partner in the Stamford office.
The 24th annual Black & Red, chaired by Robinson+Cole lawyer Eric D. Daniels, was a tremendous success. A sold-out house of 1,175 friends and supporters of Hartford Hospital filled The Bushnell on January 24, 2015, for dining, dancing, and entertainment by The Blues Brothers, starring Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi. The hospital's signature fund-raising event netted $1 million for the Trauma Center at Hartford Hospital. Please click here to view a photo of Eric and Pat Daniels with Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi.
Land use lawyer Karla L. Chaffee and environmental and utilities lawyer Christopher Foster participated in a panel discussion, "Environmental Risk in the Real World," on behalf of the Environmental Business Council of New England (EBC) on January 15, 2015, in Boston, Massachusetts. Ms. Chaffee co-moderated the discussion and Mr. Foster was part of the five-person panel, which included representatives of Santander Bank, Wood Partners, AIG, and Woodard & Curran, that provided perspectives on legal, finance, development, environmental insurance, and risk assessment. The discussion focused on two hypothetical (although based on experience) projects: one concerning arsenic in soils associated with historic farming activities and the other concerning PCBs in building materials discovered mid-redevelopment of a historic mill but before final financing.
Charles E. Janson, real estate lawyer in the Stamford office, spoke to approximately 180 benefactors and friends of the Dahesh Museum of Art on January 20, 2015, to celebrate its 20th anniversary and new location. In his comments, Mr. Janson told the story of the museum's journey from opening to the public with its first exhibition in 1995 to recently finding a permanent exhibition space after being "homeless" and a "museum without walls" for 7 years. The museum, which showcases academic European and American art from the 19th and 20th centuries, is now housed in a 7000-square-foot townhouse at 178 E. 64th St. on the Upper East Side in New York City. A brownstone with its original façade intact and restored, the building features two Louis XV marble fireplaces, 12-foot ceilings, and a rear patio of Italian stone. Please click here to read the coverage of the museum's new residence in the ArtsBeat blog of the New York Times.
Robinson+Cole, in representing the Dahesh Museum, closed on the purchase of the new property on January 6, 2015. Mr. Janson has represented the museum since its formation in the late 1980s and has served as a trustee on its Board of Trustees for nearly 10 years.
Dwight H. Merriam, land use lawyer in the Hartford office, wrote the article "Wetlands Wisdom" for the December 2014 issue of The Commissioner, a publication of the American Planning Association (APA). In the article, Mr. Merriam discusses the importance of wetlands, specifically covering these topics: the new ethic of wetlands, why commissioners must be knowledgeable, and the basics of wetlands law, which covers applicable laws, what is regulated, what is permitted, and what lies ahead for future generations. To read the full article, please click here.
In the article "Cautious Optimism as Lenders Look Ahead to 2015," published in The Commercial Record on January 15, 2015, finance lawyer Norman H. Roos suggests that it may be time to reassess some of the recently enacted laws governing Connecticut mortgage lending and foreclosure practices, with a view toward facilitating the recovery of the housing market. Mr. Roos warns about the difficulties facing businesses that originate and service mortgage loans in Connecticut, including the "new rules put in place in recent years that even diligent lenders may run afoul of…." He adds that it takes a long time to move foreclosures through the judicial system and that there is a need in 2015 to look at ways to streamline the foreclosure process.
Mr. Roos is chair of Robinson+Cole's Finance Group and counsel to the Connecticut Mortgage Bankers Association.
Land use lawyer Evan J. Seeman authored the article "RLUIPA Defense Tactics; How to Avoid & Defend Against RLUIPA Claims," published in the December 2014 issue of Zoning and Planning Law Report. In the article, Mr. Seeman examines how municipalities can avoid claims brought under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). He specifically focuses on steps that municipalities can take to better position themselves: regulating religious uses, creating a surplus of land for religious use, building specific mechanisms into zoning codes, avoiding a hostile atmosphere in the land use review process, educating government officials, and exploring ripeness issues, among others. To read the entire article, please click here.
Mr. Seeman represents municipalities, developers, and landowners in land use matters before administrative agencies and state and federal courts. Along with land use lawyers Dwight H. Merriam and Karla L. Chaffee, he co-authors the blog RLUIPA Defense. To read their recent blog post about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Holt v. Hobbs, 574 U.S. ___ (2015), please click here.
Joey Lee Miranda, energy and utilities lawyer in the Hartford office, has been elected president of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Power & Energy Society (CPES). Ms. Miranda has been a board member since 2009, serving as vice president from 2011 to 2014. The mission of CPES is to share the most impartial, insightful information about energy in Connecticut as well as to provide a place for energy professionals to collaborate and network.
Ms. Miranda's practice focuses on energy, telecommunications, and utilities matters, including litigation, transactional and regulatory representation, and counseling.