Following more than four years of litigation, the Firm obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of a client it represented on a pro bono basis. In 2016, at the request of the United States District Court, the Firm agreed to represent a former employee of the East Haven Police Department (the “Town”), who had filed an age discrimination lawsuit in connection with events culminating in the termination of her employment two years earlier. In late 2017, following discovery and extensive briefing, the District Court entered summary judgment in favor of the Town, finding that plaintiff’s voluntary retirement shortly before a scheduled disciplinary hearing in December 2014 precluded any claim that plaintiff had been constructively discharged, notwithstanding the questionable nature of the charge and statements made to the plaintiff by an Internal Affairs Officer regarding the likely outcome of the hearing. Green v East Haven Police Dep’t, 2017 WL 6498144 (D. Conn. Dec. 19, 2017). The Firm appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and, working with appellate counsel at Paul Weiss, obtained a reversal of the District Court’s decision in March 2020. In a lengthy decision, the Court of Appeals concluded that questions of fact existed as to whether plaintiff had been constructively discharged, and that based on the record, a factfinder applying the correct legal standard could rationally find that an employee in plaintiff’s position would have felt compelled to submit her resignation stating that she was retiring, rather than face nearly certain termination. Green v. Town of East Haven, 952 F.3d 394 (2020). The case was thereupon remanded to the District Court and, following a mediation before Magistrate Judge Robert Spector, the Firm obtained a settlement resulting in a six figure payment to its client. Jim Riley acted as lead counsel, and was assisted by Michael Battema.
Whitman Breed Partners and Associates have been named “Connecticut Super Lawyers®” for 2020. Connecticut selection information at http://www.superlawyers.com/connecticut/selection_details.html
Charles Pieterse (Trusts & Estates Litigation), Jim Riley (Business Litigation), George Smith (Estate Planning & Probate), Rod Saggese (General Litigation), Thomas O’Connor (Rising Star – Civil Litigation), Luke Tashjian (Rising Star – Estate Planning & Probate), Kathryn O’Neill (Rising Star – Business/Corporate), and Wyatt Jansen (Rising Star – Business Litigation and Trusts & Estates Litigation) were named Connecticut Super Lawyers.
Following a three-day bench trial in late 2019 and early 2020, the Firm obtained a permanent injunction on behalf of a client owning waterfront property in Greenwich, prohibiting the adjoining property owners from developing or building any structure within an area on their property in proximity to the seawall that was the subject of a reciprocal easement agreement. The Superior Court determined that the proposed project violated the terms of a 2002 agreement between the client and defendants’ predecessors-in-title, and rejected defendants’ statute of limitations and other defenses. Jim Riley acted as lead trial counsel, and was assisted by Michael Battema. Ladd v. Foley, 2020 WL 5607778 (Conn. Super. Aug. 24, 2020).
The Firm represented the Greenwich Land Trust in its purchase from the Aquarion Water Company of 72 acres of unimproved real property in the Lake Avenue area of Greenwich. The acquisition was first approved by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and then closed between the parties. For the transaction, the Land Trust entered a public/private partnership with the Town of Greenwich, with the Land Trust holding title to the property and the Town having a conservation easement over the property. The Land Trust will now be able to conserve these 72 acres, protect critical habitat, enhance water quality, and preserve the community’s character. Margaret Conboy and Tony Macleod worked on the transaction for the Firm.
The Firm is proud to announce that Michael Thomason has joined the Firm as an associate in the Litigation Department. Michael represents clients in all aspects of litigation matters in state and federal court. Prior to joining Whitman Breed, Michael was a judicial law clerk for United States Magistrate Judge Thomas O. Farrish. Before his clerkship, Michael was an associate attorney at a boutique litigation firm in Greenwich.
Luke Tashjian presented at the Connecticut Legal Conference on tax provisions in the CARES Act.
The Firm is proud to announce that Trevor Larrubia have joined the Firm as an associate in the Litigation Department. Trevor represents clients in a broad range of complex commercial and business litigation matters as well as general civil litigation matters. Prior to joining Whitman Breed, Trevor served as a law clerk to the Honorable Lubbie Harper Jr., the Honorable Thomas A. Bishop, and the Honorable Stuart D. Bear of the Connecticut Appellate Court.
August 31, 2020 – Whitman Breed Abbott & Morgan LLC is excited to welcome the attorneys and staff from the Greenwich-based firm of Smith & Grant LLP to our growing team. Smith & Grant LLP was founded by attorneys George L. Smith and Elizabeth M. Grant and has provided a comprehensive array of trusts and estates services for over 15 years.
“We at Whitman Breed are very excited at the prospect of adding George and Libby, two of the pre-eminent estate planning lawyers in Fairfield County, to our team. Their arrival will add significant depth and experience to our existing trusts and estates practice and enhance our trust and estates/fiduciary litigation capabilities,” expressed Whitman Breed Co-Managing Partner, Charlie Pieterse.
A trial team led by Lynn Neuner of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Charles Pieterse from the Firm prevailed on behalf of two trustees in a litigation challenging a significant gift to a charitable trust. The decision was a complete victory for the trustees and a consortium of other interested parties supporting the gift, which is believed to be among the largest in Connecticut history, on what the Court considered an issue of first impression. The case was tried before the Complex Litigation Docket in the Connecticut Superior Court in Waterbury in January. The trial team representing the trustees also included Sara Ricciardi and Joshua Polster of Simpson Thacher and Wyatt Jansen from the Firm. Helen Z. Benjamin et al. v. Ralph P. Corasaniti et al., 2020 WL 3058149 (Conn. Super. May 1, 2020)
Luke Tashjian presented at the National Business Institute on The Probate Process from Start to Finish.
Richard Mancuso represented a medical equipment distributor in a cross border transaction for the acquisition of millions of pieces of PPE, including N95 respirators, sourced out of China for shipment to a consortium of Boston-area hospitals to assist in the national response to the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. The transaction involved negotiating the terms of purchase and sale, addressing export restrictions, evaluating product certification standards, advising on product source arrangements, determining import requirements and structuring product acquisition funding. The transaction is intended to be the first of many to be established regionally as the need for PPE increases across the nation. Richard regularly represents clients in the purchase and sale of goods and equipment in a wide range of businesses, both on the purchasing and the selling sides of the transactions.