Over forty years of experience in providing legal advice and developing strong relationships with Connecticut’s cities and towns
Our municipal practice has been a cornerstone of our Firm’s identity for over forty years. During that time, we have represented more than sixty municipalities, various regional and special purpose authorities and special services districts.
We are committed to providing excellent legal advice and to devel- oping strong working relationships with Connecticut’s cities and towns. Our municipal representation includes all facets of munici- pal and public law.
Our municipal finance practice is well-recognized in Connecticut and nationally and is among the major practice areas within the Firm. Our municipal finance attorneys are a cohesive group who devote virtually all of their time to this area of representation and have cultivated a sophisticated expertise in all aspects of municipal finance.
For over forty years, the Firm has served as bond counsel to cities, towns, authorities and special services districts. In addition, during this time, the Firm has been listed in The Bond Buyer’s Municipal Marketplace Directory (the “Red Book”) in the section entitled “Municipal Bond Attorneys of the United States.”
We have served as bond counsel to a number of large municipal issuers in Connecticut, including the Cities of Hartford, Bridgeport and New Britain, as well as many smaller municipalities and special services districts.
We have issued bond counsel opinions regarding the validity and tax-exemption status in numerous financing transactions for various cities, towns and special services districts. In addition, we offer sophisticated legal advice on municipal, state and federal tax matters in connection with the State’s various tax- exempt bond programs.
We have assisted our revenue bond clients in determining strategies for the investment of bond proceeds which are consistent with applicable municipal, state and federal law. Our attention has frequently been concentrated on the investment of reserve funds as the portion of proceeds which will be invested for the longest period of time without benefit of arbitrage rebate exceptions.
Town Attorney Services
The Firm advises municipal legislative bodies and operating departments in legal strategy and compliance on a daily basis. The Firm has considerable experience representing and advising municipalities on a wide variety of matters including charter revision, charter interpretation, contract generation and reviews, statutory interpretation, preparation of town ordinances, drafting and adoption of a municipal Code of Ethics, freedom of information requests and appeals, budget questions, election and referendum matters, trial litigation and appeals, tax appeals, appeals from planning and zoning commission decisions, appeals from inland wetlands commission decisions and appeals from conservation commission decisions.
Regrettably, municipalities and their counterparts are increasingly the targets of litigation on many different issues. While insurance defense counsel generally covers such litigation, there is a significant volume of lawsuits not covered by most municipal insurance policies. Therefore, municipalities must turn to special counsel for representation in this area. We have one of the strongest municipal litigation law practice in the state.
Currently, the Firm represents over twenty Connecticut municipalities as special counsel for insurance defense matters. This is in addition to representing other political subdivisions, authorities and districts as special counsel for a variety of complex legal issues. The scope of these matters run the gamut of litigation issues faced by Connecticut municipal entities. Our ability to provide the best service to our municipal clients is a result of the Firm’s large and varied litigation practice which involves representation of diverse clients, including municipalities and similar public entities, banks, real estate syndications, small and medium-sized businesses, Fortune 500 corporations and entrepreneurs, before all of the Connecticut courts and the First and Second Circuit Courts of Appeal.
We have represented municipalities and similar public entities in numerous matters, including employee discharge claims, employee discipline claims, claims before the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, personal injury claims, condemnation proceedings, civil rights claims, zoning and wetlands enforcement issues and playground injury cases.
The Firm also has experience representing municipal clients in financial and commercial claims, including traditional contract disputes, real estate claims, zoning disputes, foreclosures, code of ethics cases, bidding disputes, mechanic’s liens, sale and purchase agreement disputes and various claims arising out of commercial leases. We have successfully represented municipal clients involved in state and federal antitrust actions, RICO claims, Uniform Commercial Code actions and securities litigation. In each representation, we are proactive and take pride in aggressively pursuing our municipal and similar public entities’ claims.
Municipal Liability Defense Counsel
Connecticut municipalities, their officers and employees are often the target of litigation under Section 1983, where there is punitive damage exposure, there are no damage caps and attorneys’ fees are available to prevailing plaintiffs. Our attorneys have extensive experience defending against these constitutional claims and against claims under the Connecticut common law.
We have tried numerous civil rights actions to successful verdicts, including claims of excessive force, false arrest, unlawful search and seizure, wrongful death, First Amendment retaliation, discrimination and Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claims.
The Firm’s municipal liability defense team regularly represents cities, towns, school boards, zoning commissions and other municipal agencies, as well as mayors, first selectmen, police chiefs, school superintendents and other supervisory officials, in state and federal litigation.
We have also represented land use officials, teachers, police officers, and a variety of other public officials against constitutional and civil rights claims. We have handled several cases in which claimants died in police custody, and we are sensitive to the potentially explosive issues that are sometimes joined in legal actions involving public entities.
Among our litigators are a former mayor, a deputy mayor and several attorneys who have served on Town Councils and in other governmental positions. The breadth of our experience in the public sector makes us unique among Connecticut law firms.
Appellate Law Counsel
We recognize the important benefits that specialization in appellate advocacy can provide to municipalities and other municipal agencies. Members of the Firm’s dedicated Appellate
law practice have substantial experience identifying issues appro- priate for appeal on behalf of municipalities, as well as preparing appellate briefs and arguing before appellate courts.
Our attorneys were successful in what has been noted as the first time that a Connecticut court applied the doctrine of latches in a case involving a referendum contest. The case involved a munici- pal referendum challenge concerning a $47 million bond issue for construction of a new high school, conversion of the existing high school into a middle school and conversion of the existing middle school into an elementary school. Upon appeal, the application of the doctrine of latches was upheld by the appellate court.
The benefits to the town were numerous, saving the town the cost and time of an additional referendum, allowing the bond issue to go forward and the subsequent school projects to begin.
Land Use/Environmental Counsel
The Firm has extensive experience in municipal zoning and land use matters, including drafting and interpreting zoning and subdivision ordinances and regulations. We also work closely with municipal officials in the course of representation of private clients.
In the course of our representation of CIGNA in connection with a 600 acre master-planned, multi-use development, we worked with municipal officials of the Town of Bloomfield to rewrite the entire design development zone regulation to reflect the current desires and needs of the Town.
When administrative appeals were brought challenging decisions of the Bloomfield Inland Wetlands Commission and Planning and Zoning Commission regarding the CIGNA project, the Firm pre- pared the record on appeal and briefs on behalf of CIGNA and the Town of Bloomfield, successfully defending the wetlands mat- ter and achieved a settlement of the planning and zoning matter.
In Waterbury, the Firm similarly worked with City officials to revise the zoning regulations to allow development of the Brass Mill project while at the same time protecting the City’s interests.
When Wethersfield undertook to revamp its zoning regulations, the Firm attended the relevant workshops on behalf of an interested client and provided input on the practical ramification of the regulations under consideration by the Town.