John P. Casey



  • Overview


    John Casey concentrates his practice on land use and environmental matters, with particular emphasis on coastal management, development, permitting, and littoral and riparian water rights. He is a member of Robinson+Cole’s Land Use and Real Estate + Development Groups, and the partner in charge of the firm’s New London office.

    Land Use – Zoning

    John handles planning, zoning, and wetland permits and applications. He helps his clients secure the necessary local, state and federal approvals for their projects, whether it is an industrial complex, pier, seawall, mooring field, new medical facility, private dock, shoreline bridge, or waterfront home. John regularly appears before local zoning, wetlands, and harbor management commissions, as well as the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He has represented a variety of clients, such as manufacturers, government and quasi-government agencies, hospitals, homeowners, condominium associations, retailers, waterfront property owners, and marinas, helping them make their projects a reality.

    John has successfully represented applicants in contested administrative hearings before DEEP hearing officers for coastal development projects. He has also obtained all the necessary approvals for a regional community hospital in Connecticut to build a new 40,000-square-foot cancer treatment facility, secured a permit from DEEP for an onsite community sewerage system for a client who needed it to develop a residential adult community, successfully represented a client in a controversial proposal to rebuild a pedestrian bridge between two islands off the Connecticut shore, and helped property owners save their coastal homes after they were damaged in major storms.


    John handles litigation related to land use and property rights, including appeals of zoning and permit decisions and DEEP final administrative actions. He has achieved results for clients who have had to pursue litigation over land use matters. He secured money damages and injunctive relief for a client who owns lakefront property, after a neighbor illegally maintained a mooring in his client’s littoral rights area. On behalf of a large grocer, John successfully defended an environmental intervenor’s appeals of land use boards’ approvals, allowing the construction of a new grocery store. John has also successfully defended permits issued by the DEEP in court appeals brought by project opponents.

    Previously, John was a member of Robinson+Cole's Trial and Appellate Section. He has extensive experience in all types of civil litigation, including products liability, personal injury, and insurance coverage and subrogation matters.


    As an extension of his coastal management practice, John also advises clients on admiralty and maritime matters, such as damage claims concerning vessels and land-based structures. He is one of the primary attorneys in the firm representing the Connecticut Port Authority, a quasi-public agency that is responsible for marketing and coordinating the development of the state’s ports and maritime economy.

    Pro Bono

    John has an active and diverse pro bono practice. He has represented disabled veterans in eviction actions as well as represented a non-profit entity in its efforts to allow the public to visit one of the oldest lighthouses in the nation. He is a former member of Connecticut Legal Services Inc.’s Board of Directors, where he worked on a collaborative pro bono project that provided legal assistance to low-income elderly adults faced with abusive debt collection practices and other consumer law issues.

    Before joining the firm, John was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, Judge Advocate General's Corps, fulfilling various legal duties while stationed at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, Connecticut. After completing his military service, he worked for a litigation firm in New London, Connecticut. 


  • Experience
    • Experience


      • Represented coastal property owner in application to build extension of existing dock into waters of harbor so that there was a greater depth at which to berth his boat at low tide. Approvals were required from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), as well as the Army Corps of Engineers, who had authority over the federal navigation project in the harbor. The approval from DEEP also required the recording of a shared dock agreement for the property and the neighboring property owned by the same owner.
      • Represented regional community hospital in successful application to develop a 40,000-square-foot cancer facility. Necessary approvals included site plan, inland wetland permit, and coordinated approvals from water pollution control authorities of adjacent towns.

      • Represented Rhode Island fire district in dispute with abutting property owner over access and development issues along dune. Successfully argued that abutting owner did not have rights across client's property.
      • Represented condominium developer in application to town to amend zoning regulations pertaining to gross floor area as applied in Special Flood Hazard Areas, as mapped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The new regulation provided that areas under residential buildings elevated to comply with FEMA flood-proofing requirements were not counted toward gross floor area.
      • Represented client in controversial proposal to rebuild pedestrian bridge between two islands off the Connecticut shore and in applications to obtain official authorizations for preexisting docks on the two islands. Successfully argued that, although not a typical coastal activity, the rebuilding of the bridge, which was destroyed in the 1938 hurricane, was an authorized use under the applicable coastal management statutes and a valid exercise of the client's littoral rights.
      • Represented waterfront homeowner before Connecticut DEEP and obtained permit to save house that had been damaged by storms and condemned.

      • After client was served with a notice of violation from the Connecticut DEEP for maintaining what it considered an unauthorized marina, negotiated a resolution that allowed the client to operate the property as a fully licensed marina, without penalties or fines. Also drafted cross easements to allow the marina to operate in the littoral area of an abutting waterfront residential property and to allow the residential property owner to use one of the marina's slips.

      • Successfully represented marina before Connecticut DEEP to oppose proposed expansion of neighboring marina that would have impeded access to client's marina.

      • Assisted client with residential dock approval that was derailed by the presence of a mooring near his shoreline. Convinced the state commission responsible for management of the waterway to relocate the mooring and support the client's dock proposal. Also garnered support of the Army Corps of Engineers.
      • Represented developer of 127-unit active adult residential community on 10 acres of waterfront land in contested hearing before Connecticut DEEP on the issuance of a permit to allow on-site community sewerage system using alternative wastewater treatment technology, ultimately securing the necessary permit in the end.

      • Represented waterfront homeowner in negotiating and drafting a littoral boundary line agreement with a neighboring marina.
      • Represented shorefront property owner in application for variance to rebuild house destroyed by Hurricane Irene. Provided expert testimony before zoning board of appeals on issues concerning impact of variance to town's participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.
      • Represented a cellular telephone tower company in a real property partition action. The client had a leasehold interest and right of first refusal on property that was the subject of litigation between family members to force the sale of multiple tracts of land owned by many family members. Preserved client's interests and avoided unnecessary entanglement in the litigation.

      • Representation of Mianus Marine, Inc., landlord/seller, in ground lease with preset purchase price after 10 years for valuable waterfront marina and boatyard in Greenwich, Connecticut. The lease included ground rent resets and step ups in price for earlier purchase after five years. This format was necessary to adjust corporate status of client (ground landlord) for tax treatment on capital gain. The value was in excess of $10 million. The scope is primarily local water-dependent land use approvals with State of Connecticut coastal management by the Department of Environmental Protection and federal channel management and tidal regulations by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
      • Defended marina owners and operator from Notice of Violation issued by the Connecticut DEEP and successfully negotiated resolution that permitted all existing structures.

      • Successfully assisted waterfront homeowner in effort to have Connecticut DEEP reverse its position and allow a longer dock at homeowner's property.

      • Negotiated directly with a neighbor who installed a fence that was partially on our client’s property and the local zoning official to have the fence relocated and in compliance with zoning regulations.
      • Successfully represented homeowners in application to obtain zoning variance on the grounds that addition to home was necessary to comply with adoption regulations and that inability to have children naturally was a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act, thus requiring a reasonable accommodation in the town application of its zoning ordinance.
      • Represented condominium association in its successful application for a special use permit to enlarge the condominium by adding new buildings and units.

      • Represented potential home purchasers in breach of contract action against homebuilder. Succeeded in obtaining speedy resolution to matter, which included a full refund of the clients' deposit.
      • Represented large grocery retailer in actions brought by an environmental intervenor appealing the issuance of inland wetlands and planning and zoning approvals that allowed the construction of a new store. Drafted briefs in both appeals. Appeals were eventually withdrawn by intervenor prior to trial.
      • Represented residential property owner in successful application to the Connecticut DEEP for new and maintenance dredging off his property along the Connecticut River. Also represented client in application for new dock at his property. Approval of the new dredging was required to gain access to dock in area of river that has silted in over the last decades.

      • Represented property owner in successful application for a use variance to reconstruct a historic mill on his residential property. The use variance was required to allow the use of the reconstructed mill to hold the client's musical instrument manufacturing business.
      • Represented owner of land along tidal creek bordered by deteriorating wooden bulkhead. Small tidal wetlands area with limited ecological value had developed behind the bulkhead in areas where the land had eroded due to stormwater runoff and tidal-influenced erosion. Client obtained permit from Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to reconstruct bulkhead, fill tidal wetlands behind bulkhead, and plant a new wetland area, which would allow the property to be subdivided into two buildable lots.
      • Represented shorefront property owner in application to the Connecticut DEEP for a permit to rebuild house damaged by Hurricane Irene. Successfully argued that client's house had predated the passage of coastal management statutes in Connecticut and was thus eligible for the permit under the simpler certificate of permission program.

      • Represented developer of a subdivision that included a wind turbine as a prominent feature in an action against subdivision purchasers who reneged on promises to reconfigure subdivision open space to allow for development of the wind turbine. Successfully negotiated resolution to dispute.
      • Successfully litigated trespass and nuisance case on behalf of lakefront property owner against upland neighbor who illegally maintained mooring in client's littoral rights area, securing money damages and injunctive relief.
      • Represented private yacht club in application to the Connecticut DEEP to expand and redefine the boundaries of its mooring field.

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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut
      Energy Council

      Connecticut Bar Association (2000 - Current)

      Connecticut Bar Foundation
      James W. Cooper Fellow (2012)

      Connecticut Marine Trades Association
      Environment Committee (2005 - Current)

      Environmental Business Council of New England
      Ocean and Coastal Resources Committee Leadership Team (2023)

      Naval & Maritime Consortium
      Thames River Working Group, Offshore Wind Working Group

      Rhode Island Bar Association (2001 - Current)

      Connecticut Harbor Management Association

      Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Project on Climate Change
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Presented with the 2023 Jeanne Czel Person of the Year Award by the Connecticut Marine Trades Association

    • Community Involvement

      Community Involvement

      Ocean Community YMCA (Naik Branch)
      Board of Managers, and Property Committee

      Connecticut Legal Services, Inc.
      Treasurer and Member, Board of Directors and Executive Committee

      The Mystic & Noank Library
      Member, Board of Trustees

      Connecticut Cruise Ship Task Force
      President, Board of Directors

      New London Education Foundation
      Board Member

      Groton Mystic Lacrosse Association
      President, Board of Directors
      Coach and Member, Board of Directors

      Groton Housing Authority
      Board Member
    • Publications


      "The View from the Shore - Regulation as Far as the Eye Can See," published in New England Real Estate Journal (5/18/2012)

    • Presentations


      "EBC Ocean and Coastal Resources Virtual ‘Coffee Hour’: Recent Coastal Legal Decisions," hosted by the Environmental Business Council of New England's (EBC) Ocean and Coastal Resources Committee (5/10/2023)
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      "Keynote Panel Discussion on Dredging," as part of the CT Marine Trades Association 2023 Industry Day Conference & Annual Meeting (3/29/2023)

      "Status of Long Island Sound Dredge Disposal Litigation and Its Impacts on All Projects," as part of the virtual Environmental Business Council of New England's "16th Annual Dredging Conference: Lessons Learned for Environmental Dredging and Capping Projects" (11/3/2022)
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      "3rd Annual Connecticut Offshore Wind Conference," co-presented with Jonathan H. Schaefer and Robert S. Melvin (9/23/2022)
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      "EBC Ocean and Coastal Resources Webinar: 2nd Annual Regional Agency Update – Protecting Coastal Resources and Structures," as moderator (2/3/22)
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      "Code Series: What is the New Definition of Adaptive Reuse in Connecticut?" a moderated webinar hosted by AIA Connecticut (11/30/2021)
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      "Protecting Coastal Resources, Part 2 – Putting Law and Science into Practice," as co-chair of the Environmental Business Council of New England webinar (2/24/2021)
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      "Protecting Coastal Resources and Structures, Part 1 – The Intersection of Nature, Science and Policy," (1/27/2021)
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      "Managing Our Coastal Resources Post-Irene and Sandy: New Laws, Regulations, and Guidelines," at Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association's annual "Hot Topics in Land Use Law and Practice" program (6/21/2013)

      "Federal Flood Plain Regulation," at Lorman Education Services audio conference, co-presented with Ernest Abbott & Molly Lawrence (4/26/2013)

      "DEEP Jurisdiction - Recent Caselaw & the New Coastal Jurisdiction Line," at Connecticut Association of Land Surveyors Annual Meeting (11/2/2012)

      "Liability, Insurance & The Jones Act," at Connecticut Marine Trades Association, Marine Trades Expo (10/9/2012)

      "Coastal Permitting Considerations," at Connecticut Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Professional Practice Committee (10/2/2012)

      "Federal Flood Plain Regulation," at Lorman Education Services audio conference, co-presented with Ernest Abbott & Molly Lawrence (5/30/2012)

      "Hot Topics in Coastal Permitting," at Connecticut Marine Trades Association Annual Marine Trades Exposition (10/11/11)

      "Coastal Development and Regulatory Realities," at American Planning Association webinar (2/18/2011)

      "A Potpourri of Hot Topics: A Spicy Mix of Land Use Issues," at Connecticut Bar Association seminar on the latest topics in land use law, co-presented with Timothy D. Bates (10/22/2010)

      "Brokerage Contracts & Broker's Representations," (10/5/2010)

      "Robinson & Cole Annual Review of Land Use Case Law," co-presented with Michele L. Maresca, at Connecticut Bar Association's June Meeting of the Planning and Zoning Section (6/21/2010)

      "Annual Review of Land Use Case Law," at Planning and Zoning Section of the Connecticut Bar Association, co-presented with Michele Maresca (6/21/2010)
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      "Jetties, Docks, Seawalls, Littoral Rights, Waterfront Homes, Spartina, and More," at Robinson & Cole's Coastal Considerations and Regulatory Reality Breakfast Seminar (7/14/2009)
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      "Land Sales: Docks, Seawalls, and Jetties: Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them," at luncheon seminar to a group of real estate brokers in southeast Connecticut, co-presented with Keith Neilson, P.E. (11/13/2008)
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      "Wetlands Permitting Caselaw Update," at Planning and Zoning Section of the Connecticut Bar Association (6/18/2008)
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      "Coastal Land Use Issues in Connecticut," at Lorman Education Services Seminar, co-presented with John Anderson (7/10/2007)
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      "Climate Change and Its Implications for Land Use Planning and Transportation," at University of Colorado School of Law, Natural Resources Law Center's 27th Annual Summer Conference: Climate Change and the Future of the American West (6/7/2006 )
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      "Smart Business Seminar - Contract Law," at Connecticut Marine Trades Association's Smart Business Seminar on Contract Law (3/16/2006)
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      "Due Process in Land Use Proceedings," at Town of Stonington land use boards and commissions, co-presented with Robert Sitkowski (1/26/2006)
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    • News

      R+C in the News

      • July 14, 2023

        John Casey Selected to EBC Ocean and Coastal Resources Committee Leadership Team

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      • April 6, 2023

        Robinson+Cole Named "Business of the Year" by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT

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      • April 4, 2023

        John Casey Receives Person of the Year Award at CT Marine Trades Association 2023 Industry Day Conference & Annual Meeting

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      • June 18, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Takes Part in Chamber Golf Tournament

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      • August 28, 2012

        Land Use Attorney Named Connecticut Bar Foundation James W. Cooper Fellow

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      • June 11, 2012

        John Casey’s Article on Shoreline Development in New England Real Estate Journal

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      • March 15, 2011

        John Casey Helps Forge New Pro Bono Collaboration

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      • November 3, 2010

        Attorneys Cochair Connecticut Bar Association Planning and Zoning Section Event

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      • October 26, 2010

        Land Law Attorney Presents Yacht Broker Liability Case to Connecticut Marine Trades Association

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      • July 9, 2010

        John Casey and Michele Maresca Present a Review of Land Use Case Law to the Connecticut Bar Association

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      • December 10, 2008

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Elected to Board of Directors of Nonprofit Organization

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      • July 18, 2008

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Named President of Cruise Ship Board

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      R+C News Releases

      • March 18, 2019

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Help Reopen New London Harbor Lighthouse

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      • February 1, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Forms Sustainability Cross-Practice Team

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      • December 11, 2014

        Robinson+Cole’s New London Office Moves Across Town

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      • December 4, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Elects New Partners and Counsel

      • June 21, 2013

        Local Organizations Recognize Robinson & Cole’s Pro Bono Service

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    • Legal Updates/Newsletters

      Legal Updates/Newsletters

      "New Federal Speed Regulations for Coastal Waters" co-authored with Michael S. Giaimo and Madeleine M. Laffitte (9/28/22)

      "Favorable Winds for Offshore Development – Inflation Reduction Act and Other Updates" co-authored with Peter R. Knight, blog post published on Environmental Law + (8/9/2022)

      "Long Island Sound Blue Plan" co-authored with Jessica D. Bardi (5/28/2021)

      "2013 Public Acts Amending Coastal Permitting and Management Statutes in Connecticut" (10/17/2013)

      "Coastal Permitting in Rhode Island Following Hurricane Sandy" (11/13/2012)

      "Coastal Permitting in CT Following Hurricane Sandy" (11/02/2012)

      "Proposed Legislation Affecting Coastal Properties in Connecticut" (02/17/2012)

      "Coastal Permitting in Connecticut Following Hurricane Irene" (09/01/2011)

      "Reissuance of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Programmatic General Permit for Connecticut" (08/18/2011)

      "Public Act 10-106: an Act Concerning Long Island Sound and Coastal Permitting" (06/25/2010)