Diana E. Neeves



  • Overview


    Diana Neeves focuses her practice on environmental, energy, land use, and telecommunications law.


    Diana handles litigation related to environmental and land use matters. She represents clients in disputes brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and handles litigation involving chemical contamination and exposure. Her litigation experience involves federal and state environmental enforcement actions and lawsuits between private parties. She is a regular contributor to the firm's Environmental Law + blog.

    Diana also helps defend municipalities nationwide in cases involving the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), and regularly writes on the topic for another one of the firm's blogs, RLUIPA Defense.

    Environment and Energy

    Diana regularly works with clients on the clean-up of contaminated properties, including Superfund sites. She assists clients with federal and state administrative compliance, including environmental remediation. She also helps clients evaluate, manage, and limit environmental risk associated with business and property transactions.

    Diana is part of the firm’s Utilities Group, which serves utility and energy clients on regulatory and environmental matters. She provides a range of transactional and compliance services. She helps clients navigate all local, state and federal permitting requirements, and works to ensure they are in compliance with all regulations. She has worked with clients on energy and conservation matters in hearings before the New York State Public Service Commission.

    Land Use

    Diana provides guidance to clients seeking local zoning approvals. She counsels them on meeting requirements for land development and securing necessary municipal and state permits to do so.

    Pro Bono

    She was one of several Robinson+Cole attorneys involved in pro bono projects to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking in Africa and Southeast Asia. During law school, as part of the New York State Pro Bono Scholars Program, Diana was a Pro Bono Scholar in the Criminal Law Special Litigation Unit of the Legal Aid Society.

    Prior to joining Robinson+Cole, Diana was a judicial honors extern for a United States District Judge in the Southern District of New York. She also worked as a legal intern for an organization focused on water quality and related issues. She received a fellowship grant to provide nonprofit environmental legal services.

  • Experience
    • Experience


      • Assisted with representation of manufacturing client in responding to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) citation containing multiple counts, including fall protection and machine guarding. Helped secure a favorable settlement after informal conference resulting in dismissal and significant reductions in citations and penalties.

      • Represented municipality in defending an action with Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) and federal constitutional claims.

      • Worked with team of Robinson+Cole attorneys on a pro bono project to assist Namibia's Legal Assistance Centre in improving the country’s wildlife conservation laws and strengthening their enforcement. 

      • Representing multiple parties defending contribution claims at the Passaic River Superfund Site. 

      • Advises national real estate trade association in connection with local and state planning and land use policy matters throughout the country. 

      • Advises major world-wide retailer on zoning issues arising in due diligence process as it acquires new sites throughout the country.

      • Assisting in defense of aerospace manufacturer against personal injury and property damage claims associated with groundwater contamination and vapor intrusion. 

      • Secured dismissal of all claims filed against valve manufacturer alleged to be responsible for petroleum contamination resulting from fuel oil release from on-site boiler.

      • Advised New York municipality regarding State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) issues arising in connection with sale and redevelopment of contaminated property.

      • Assisted with the defense of non-profit organization in lawsuit filed by neighboring property owner alleging violations of Inland Wetlands and Connecticut Environmental Protection Acts and common law torts. Worked with wetlands soil scientist and wetlands micro/macro-organism experts to determine that the claims were without merit. Robinson & Cole effectively steered this multi-defendant litigation to court assisted mediation and, over the course of several months, negotiated settlement involving plaintiff’s voluntary withdrawal of all claims.

      • Successfully assisted museum client with obtaining special permit from a town planning and zoning commission.

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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      American Bar Association
      Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (2016 - Present)
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Selected as a Rising Star to the Connecticut Super Lawyers list from 2019 to 2023.

    • Community Involvement

      Community Involvement

      Pace University School of Law
      Member, Alumni Association Board of Directors (2019 - Present)
    • Publications


      "Local Government Regulation of Religious Land Uses Under RLUIPA," published in Practical Law, co-authored with Karla L. Chaffee, John F. X. Peloso Jr. and Evan J. Seeman (2018)
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      "American attorneys partner to save endangered African wildlife," published in ABA Journal, co-authored with Peter R. Knight, Megan E. Baroni, Kelsey A. Cross, Emily C. Deans, Byron D. Flagg and Alec Rubenstein (July 2017)

      "'Take-Home Toxins' Expand Duty of Care," published in the American Bar Association Section of Litigation, Environmental & Energy Litigation Committee’s Spring 2017 Newsletter. (5/25/2017)
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    • Presentations


      "Trends in Managing and Minimizing Solid and Hazardous Waste from Cradle to Grave," (10/22/2021)
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      "Environmental Decisions of Interest," co-presented with Emily C. Deans (11/19/2020)
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      "Ten Easy Lessons: How Local Governments Can Successfully Defend against RLUIPA Claims," co-presented with Karla L. Chaffee and John F. X. Peloso Jr., webinar, presented by the International Municipal Lawyers Association (12/11/2017)
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      "Cultural and Religious Bias in Land Use Practice in New Jersey," at the New York City Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association’s “Hindsight 2017: Urban Planning Through the Equity Lens” event in New York City. (11/3/2017)
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    • News

      R+C in the News

      • March 11, 2019

        Diana Neeves Graduates from Environmental Law Leadership Program

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      • March 9, 2018

        Diana Neeves, John Peloso, and Evan Seeman Present Webinar and Author Practice Note for Thomson Reuters Practical Law™

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      • December 21, 2017

        Diana Neeves and John Peloso Present Webinar on RLUIPA Claims

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      • November 13, 2017

        Diana Neeves Participates in Panel Discussion on Cultural and Religious Bias in Land Use in New Jersey

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      • September 14, 2017

        Diana Neeves Tackles "Take-Home" Toxins in Article

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      • July 6, 2017

        Robinson+Cole's Namibia Pro Bono Project Featured in ABA Journal

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      • December 15, 2016

        Robinson+Cole's Namibia Pro Bono Project Featured in CLT

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      R+C News Releases

      • October 26, 2023

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized in 2023 Super Lawyers®

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      • October 11, 2022

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized in 2022 Super Lawyers®

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      • October 14, 2021

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • October 15, 2020

        47 Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized in Super Lawyers®

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      • October 19, 2019

        52 Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • January 31, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Welcomes Six New Associates

      • October 25, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Take Part in International Pro Bono Project to Combat Wildlife Crimes in Namibia

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