The Firm’s client, an importer, wholesaler, and distributor of paper products, was the subject of a transhipment audit by US Customs and Border Protection that threatened the imposition of penalties representing an existential threat to its business. We helped to assemble, coordinate, and lead a team of lawyers from Greenberg Traurig and Venable with customs investigations expertise, and directed responses to document summonses issued by the government. The investigation concluded without the assessment of any penalties. Jim Riley and Wyatt Jansen handled the matter.
Harry E. Peden and Kathryn O’Neill represented a long operating veterinarian practice, with two locations in New York, in the sale of its assets to a national veterinary group. As part of the sale, Harry and Katie assisted the Sellers with evaluating many purchase offers from a variety of potential buyers. The transaction involved the assignment of real estate leases, commercial contracts, and employment agreements for the principal veterinarians. In recent years, Harry and Katie have represented many veterinary groups in the buying and selling of practices.
The Firm successfully moved to dismiss a case on behalf of a client in a trust and estates dispute. The Connecticut Superior Court held that, despite the settlor of a revocable trust being conserved, the remainder beneficiary of an inter-vivos trust lacked standing to challenge the settlor’s amendment of the trust and appointment of a successor trustee. Luke Tashjian handled the matter.
The Firm is pleased to announce that Giovanni D’Amico has joined the Firm as an associate in the Business Law Department. Giovanni represents clients in connection with corporate formation and dissolution, commercial transactions, regulatory compliance, and trademark protection. Prior to joining Whitman Breed, Giovanni represented clients in New Haven County with regard to commercial transactions and civil litigation, especially with respect to healthcare practices and practitioners and in the employment context.
Luke Tashjian spoke to the National Business Institute on the topic of “The Ultimate Guide to Probate.”
Rod Saggese was elected Second Vice President of the Greenwich Old Timers Athletic Association. The Old Timers raise money for college scholarships and youth sports programs in Greenwich. Rod has been on the Board of Directors of the Old Timers since March, 2012.
Luke Tashjian spoke to the Federal Tax Institute of New England on the topic of “Connecticut Domicile & Residency Audits.”
Kevin Walsh and Kathryn O’Neill represented a group of affiliated insurance brokers in the simultaneous sale of their assets to a national insurance agency. The transaction involved the transfer of client accounts, office space leases, goodwill and employment agreements for the principals of the selling parties.
Rod Saggese was elected to the Board of Directors of the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce. Established in 1917, the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit business organization that is an advocate for the interests of the business community and maintaining the town’s quality of life and its residential integrity. The Chamber provides informative and educational programs as well as networking opportunities, which are open to all businesses and residents.
Charlie Pieterse spoke at the National Business Institute’s seminar, “The Ultimate Guide to Probate.” Charlie’s topic was the “Ethical Practice Considerations and Concerns in Probate Court.”
Harry E. Peden III and Kathryn O’Neill represented a regional process serving company that had been family owned for decades in the sale of its assets to a national company. As part of the transaction, the selling parties received an equity ownership interest in the buying entity, and Harry and Katie successfully negotiated an employment agreement for the principals of sellers.
Luke Tashjian spoke to the Tax Section of the Connecticut Bar Association on the topic of “Internal Revenue Service’s Section 2704 Proposed Regulations.”
Whitman Breed Partners and Associates have been named “Connecticut Super Lawyers®” for 2016. Connecticut selection information at http://www.superlawyers.com/connecticut/selection_details.html
Terry Coates (Estate Planning & Probate), Charles Pieterse (Trusts & Estates Litigation), Jim Riley (Business Litigation), Rod Saggese (General Litigation), Thomas O’Connor (Rising Star – Civil Litigation/Defense), Luke Tashjian (Rising Star – Estate Planning & Administration) and Kathryn O’Neill (Rising Star – Business/Corporate) were named Connecticut Super Lawyers.
The Firm is pleased to announce that it is the winner of the Connecticut Law Tribune’s 2016 Litigation Department of the Year award in the general litigation, small firm category. The general litigation award honors the top overall litigation departments in Connecticut. The announcement of this award by the Connecticut Law Tribune can be accessed through this link: http://www.ctlawtribune.com/home/id=1202767599429/Litigation-Department-of-the-Year-Winners-Announced?mcode=1202617073650&curindex=4
Rod Saggese obtained a complete dismissal of a competitor’s claims against the Firm’s client, a Westchester-based carpet and flooring business that had expanded into Massachusetts. In expanding, the client hired employees away from the competitor, which sued the client based on claims stemming from the employees’ alleged breach of confidentiality and non-solicitation agreements. Rod was successful in vindicating the client and having all of the claims dismissed on summary judgment, which was later affirmed by the Appeals Court of Massachusetts. Carpets Plus, Inc. v. New Rochelle Carpet, Inc., 90 Mass. App. Ct. 1103 (2016).
Tom O’Connor and Wyatt Jansen were published in the Connecticut Law Tribune for their article, “Strategic Removal & the Voluntary-Involuntary Rule.”
Charlie Pieterse was recognized in the 23rd Edition of The Best Lawyers in America for the practice area of Litigation – Trust & Estates. See selection methodology at https://www.bestlawyers.com/Methodology
The Firm is pleased to announce that Rosanna Rosenthal has joined the Firm as an associate in the Trusts & Estates Department. Rosanna, a Greenwich native, represents individual clients in estate planning matters. Prior to joining the Firm, Rosanna practiced litigation and family law at a mid-sized firm in Stamford.
Margaret Conboy spoke on WGCH radio with Tony Savino on his morning show about the Salvation Army’s 11th Annual food drive, which benefits Neighbor to Neighbor and the Greenwich Social Services emergency food pantry. Margaret is the Chairwoman of the Salvation Army’s Greenwich Service Unit. She coordinated this year’s food drive which was held on July 7, 2016 at the Greenwich Town Hall.
Rod Saggese was elected President of the Fairfield County Bar Association for 2016-2017. The FCBA is over sixty years old, sponsors more than sixty seminars annually for its membership of over 850 legal professionals, is active in the legislative process for the betterment of the judicial system, and provides service to the community through volunteer action and philanthropy. Rod previously held the positions of Vice President (2015-2016), Treasurer (2013-2014) and Secretary (2014-2015), and has served on the Board of Directors since 2010.
Luke Tashjian spoke at the Annual Meeting of the Connecticut Bar Association on the topic of “Cancellation of Indebtedness Income.”
The Superior Court entered judgment in favor of four Stamford homeowners who claimed that their real property tax assessments were excessive. Jim Fulton represented the successful homeowners, who had their assessments reduced by the court by 20%, 19%, 25% and 22%, respectively. Lanier v. City of Stamford, 2016 WL 3392154 (Conn. Super. June 1, 2016).
John Shaban was nominated as the Republican Candidate for U.S. Congress in Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District. He will be running against incumbent Jim Himes (D) in November. John is currently a member of the Connecticut General Assembly, serving as a State Representative for the 135th Assembly District representing the communities of Easton, Redding and Weston since November 2010. He is the Ranking House Member of the legislature’s Environment Committee, and a member of the Judiciary Committee and Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee.
Jim Fulton successfully represented a commercial building owner in downtown Greenwich who appealed a ruling of the zoning enforcement officer. The officer had ruled that the owner could not lease additional building space to a tenant in her building because the tenant’s use was a nonconforming one. After oral argument, the Greenwich Planning & Zoning Board of Appeals ruled in the client’s favor and overturned the ruling of the zoning enforcement officer.
The Firm recently obtained a favorable decision on behalf of a municipal pension fund in a lawsuit brought by the estate of a pension fund participant. In February 2016, the Connecticut Superior Court granted summary judgment in favor of the pension fund and its trustees, dismissing all of the plaintiffs’ claims for pension benefits and other relief. The Court agreed with the client’s construction of the City Charter provisions governing the award of benefits to beneficiaries of deceased pension plan participants. The plaintiffs appealed that decision. In May 2016, the Connecticut Appellate Court granted the client’s motion to dismiss the appeal. Tony Macleod and Jim Riley represented the pension fund and its board of trustees in the trial court and on appeal.
Jim Fulton successfully represented a Greenwich resident who objected to a neighbor’s application for a variance to build an addition and revise the roofline on his home. After oral argument, the Greenwich Planning & Zoning Board of Appeals ruled in the client’s favor and denied the applicaton for a variance to go forward with the project.
The Connecticut Appellate Court granted a motion for review filed by the Firm on behalf of its client, a prominent businessman, in a quarter-billion dollar veil-piercing action brought against him by a major European bank. In a case of first impression, the motion successfully argued that all proceedings in the trial court, including discovery, were stayed by our client’s immediate appeal on res judicata grounds. The Appellate Court’s decision vacates the trial court’s holding that no appellate stay applied, and ensures that pretrial litigation will not continue during our client’s appeal. The case team is composed of Charles W. Pieterse, Thomas P. O’Connor, and Wyatt R. Jansen from the Firm, which acts as local counsel for Zaroff & Zaroff LLP in the action.
Richard E. Mancuso represented a leading electronics distribution and components testing company, specializing in counterfeit detection and mitigation technologies, in forming an alliance with an international electronics manufacturer. The purpose of this alliance is to develop next generation counterfeit detection technologies to be used in the public sector through military and intelligence applications, as well as in private industry. The alliance negotiations spanned over one year and resulted in a joint development agreement in which the parties each agreed to contribute their respective intellectual property, R&D, and highly specialized services to develop, test and commercialize the new technology that will be able to detect the latest counterfeit electronic components as well as clone components.
Margaret E. Conboy and Kathryn O’Neill represented a regional bank in making a construction to permanent loan to a local housing developer. As part of the transaction, Margaret and Kathryn completed extensive due diligence and also addressed title and zoning issues.
Charles W. Pieterse and Kathryn O’Neill worked closely with a group of volunteers to form Ridgefield Music Matters, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to supporting Ridgefield’s music programs. The Firm prepared and submitted organizational documents for Ridgefield Music Matters, Inc., as well as obtained 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service.
Margaret E. Conboy represented the seller of a twenty-seven acre parcel of land located in Greenwich, Connecticut. As part of the sale, Margaret assisted our clients with evaluating potential transactions.
The Firm successfully moved to dismiss three of the four grounds of an appeal taken by a major European bank in an action seeking to hold our client liable for a quarter-billion-dollar foreign judgment. The Appellate Court’s decision dismissing those grounds for appeal will prevent the bank’s attempt to obtain immediate appellate review of a favorable ruling that Turks & Caicos Islands law governs the action. The case team is composed of Charles W. Pieterse, Thomas P. O’Connor, and Wyatt R. Jansen from the Firm, which acts as local counsel for Zaroff & Zaroff LLP in the action.
The Firm is pleased to announce that Richard Lawler has joined the Firm as a partner in the Litigation Department. After many years with Winston & Strawn (WBAM’s successor firm in New York), Dick has rerturned to the Firm in Connecticut. For the last 30 years, in both Connecticut and New York, Dick has practiced in the areas of commercial litigation, business litigation and white collar criminal defense.
Margaret E. Conboy, Luke Tashjian and Kathryn O’Neill hosted a lunch and learn for the Greenwich office of Sotheby’s International Realty. During the lunch and learn, Luke and Kathryn presented on commonly encountered tax issues in real estate transactions and the benefits of using limited liability companies in commercial real estate.
Richard E. Mancuso, Thomas O’Connor and Kathryn O’Neill represented a national importer of dairy products in a series of asset sale transactions, whereby our client was able to sell each division of his company to different buyers. As part of the transaction, the Firm successfully negotiated a fifteen (15) year earn-out agreement for our client. The sale also involved the transfer of trademarks and inventory.
Harry E. Peden, III, Kevin A. Walsh and Kathryn O’Neill represented a national healthcare company in obtaining a $200,000,000 loan. As part of the transaction, the Firm negotiated loan documents, and addressed a series of tax considerations.
Tom O’Connor and Rod Saggese obtained complete dismissal of a former employee’s claims – seeking more than $300,000 – on behalf of a Fairfield County-based oil tanker brokerage and its principals. The initial proceedings took place before the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (“CHRO”), and subsequently litigated to judgment before Connecticut’s Superior, Appellate, and Supreme Courts. After the CHRO declined to pursue the employee’s claims, she and her husband brought a thirteen-count complaint in the Superior Court against the brokerage and four of its current and former principals. Tom and Rod obtained an order striking eleven of the thirteen counts, and secured a judgment dismissing all claims against three of the principals. Their subsequent motion for summary judgment successfully disposed of the remaining counts, which alleged age discrimination, “statutory forgery” and loss of consortium. Benedetto v. Dietze & Assocs. LLC, 2014 WL 1814284 (Conn. Super. Apr. 10, 2014). Tom and Rod also successfully opposed the plaintiffs’ belated attempts to pursue discovery, which would have delayed a decision on summary judgment and increased the costs of litigation. After briefing and oral argument (by Tom), the Appellate Court affirmed summary judgment, Benedetto v. Dietze & Assocs. LLC, 159 Conn. App. 874 (2015), and Attorneys O’Connor and Saggese then defeated the plaintiffs’ subsequent petition for certification to Connecticut’s Supreme Court. Benedetto v. Dietze & Assocs. LLC, 320 Conn. 901 (2015).
John Shaban was honored as the November Alumni Highlight by Pace Law School: http://law.pace.edu/november-2015-alumni-highlight
The Firm is pleased to announce that Michael Battema has joined the Firm as an associate in the Litigation Department. Prior to joining the Firm, Michael was an associate at a Manhattan law firm where he represented real estate investors, developers and owners in real estate related and business disputes.
Connecticut Lawyer magazine highlighted a recent decision by the Superior Court agreeing with the Firm’s argument that claims to pierce the veil of a corporation are governed by the law of the state of incorporation. In that decision, the Superior Court held that the law of the Turks & Caicos Islands governs the veil-piercing claim brought against our clients by a major European bank, which argued that New York or Connecticut law should apply instead. The case team is composed of Charles W. Pieterse, Thomas P. O’Connor, and Wyatt R. Jansen. The Firm acts as local counsel for Zaroff & Zaroff LLP in the action.
The Superior Court of Connecticut affirmed the grant of a variance to a commercial building in downtown Greenwich, Connecticut. Jim Fulton successfully tried the case for the building owner, who is now permitted to expand her use of the second floor of the building and offer it to a broader class of tenants in the Greenwich Business Retail Zone. Street Retail, Inc. v. Zoning Baord of Appeals of the Town of Greenwich, 2015 WL 8487853 (Conn. Super. Nov. 12, 2015).
Whitman Breed Partners and Associates have been named “Connecticut Super Lawyers®” for 2015. Connecticut selection information at http://www.superlawyers.com/connecticut/selection_details.html
Terry Coates (Estate Planning & Probate), Charles Pieterse (Trusts & Estates Litigation), Jim Riley (Business Litigation), Luke Tashjian (Rising Star – Estate Planning & Administration) and Kathryn O’Neill (Rising Star – Business/Corporate) were named Connecticut Super Lawyers.
Jim Fulton successfully represented a homeowner in opposing a neighbor’s application for a variance to construct a substantial addition onto a pre-existing non-conforming dwelling. Following the presentation of witnesses and oral argument, the Greenwich Planning & Zoning Board of Appeals denied the application for a variance and barred construction of the new addition.
Jim Fulton was published in the Connecticut Lawyer Magazine for his article “Succeeding by Summary Judgment: Is it Time to Recognize the Sham Affidavit Rule in the State Courts of Connecticut.”
Kevin A. Walsh and Kathryn O’Neill represented a national online apparel retailer in purchasing the assets of a local company. The assets included intellectual property, product inventory and international manufacturing contracts.
On behalf of a group of homeowners, Jim Fulton successfully opposed a neighbor’s application for a special exception to construct a garage and accessory building on his property within a few feet of the boundary line. Following the presentation of witnesses and oral argument, the Greenwich Planning & Zoning Board of Appeals denied the application for special exception and barred construction of the new building.
Richard Mancuso and Kathryn O’Neill represented an independent electronics broker with operations throughout Asia and the Americas in the sale of its assets to an international conglomerate based in Europe. The seller had a history in the electronic components brokerage and distribution industry that traced back over forty years. The buyer is an industry leader in equipment and electronics manufacturing with worldwide operations. The cross-border negotiations spanned six months and brought to the buyer valuable sourcing and distribution services in the electronics component industry that will enable the buyer to achieve new efficiencies in manufacturing and production. The transaction involved the transfer of worldwide assets including equipment, inventory, real estate leases, and intellectual property as well as the transfer of valuable sales and purchasing employees. As part of the transaction, Richard also negotiated an employment agreement for the principal member of the seller to provide key services to the buyer post-closing. Assisting on the transaction was Legal Assistant, Caitlin Machcinski.
Tom O’Connor was honored as one of Fairfield County’s top “40 Under 40” by the Fairfield County Business Journal, in its June 22, 2015 special issue. The honorees were selected from across Fairfield County’s diverse business community for their leadership, vision, and excellence in their professions.
Harry E. Peden, III and Kathryn O’Neill represented the shareholders of a privately-held insurance company in the sale of its stock to national insurance firm. Negotiations spanned six months and resulted in a purchase price of over $20,000,000.
Rod Saggese was elected Vice President of the Fairfield County Bar Association for 2015-2016. Rod previously held the positions of Treasurer (2013-2014) and Secretary (2014-2015), and has served on the Board of Directors since 2010.
The Supreme Court of Connecticut issued its decision and reinstated judgment for the defendant in the case of Stuart v. Freiberg, reversing an earlier decision of the Appellate Court, which had overturned the trial court’s entry of judgment for the defendant. Jim Fulton represented the successful defendant, Mr. Freiberg, who was exonerated after having been sued for accounting malpractice related to professional services he provided to the executor of a multi-million dollar estate that owned a number of original Norman Rockwell works of art. The trial court granted summary judgment in Mr. Freiberg’s favor, which was then appealed by the plaintiffs. Jim represented Mr. Freiberg at the trial court level and argued both the appeal at the Appellate Court and, after a grant of certification, at the Supreme Court. Stuart v. Freiberg, 316 Conn. 809 (2015).
The Firm is pleased to announce that Luke Tashjian has joined the Firm as an associate in the Trust & Estates, Business Law and Tax Departments. Luke previously practiced in Massachusetts and Connecticut, most recently with Stuart B. Ratner P.C. in Stamford, Connecticut.
Rod Saggese was elected to the Board of Directors of the Greenwich Point Conservancy. The organization’s mission is to work for the restoration and preservation of historic structures and other elements of Greenwich Point, for the enjoyment of current and future generations. Rod previsiously sat on the Advisory Board for the organization.
Charlie Pieterse sat on a panel for a continuing legal education seminar presented by the Connecticut Bar Association. Charlie gave a presentation entitled “Drafting Trustee Releases and Beneficiary Consents.”
Harry E. Peden, III and Kathryn O’Neill represented a veterinary hospital in the sale of its assets. The transaction involved numerous corporate governance matters, as the seller had over fifty shareholders. Harry and Kathryn also worked closely with the buyer’s counsel to successful assign material contracts at the closing, including multiple real estate leases.
The Firm is pleased to announce that Tom O’Connor has been named a partner in the Litigation Department. Tom joined the Firm in 2010 as an associate, and he represents clients in disputes involving complex commercial, professional, employment, real property and landlord-tenant issues.