Brian McElhenny, a partner in Goldberg Segalla's Municipal and Governmental Liability Practice Group, has more than three decades of experience defending clients in the courts on Long Island and in the New York City area in municipal liability, labor law construction, product liability, and premises cases. He has tried more than 90 cases to jury verdict and argued 80 appeals before the Appellate Division, Second Department in New York State, and he has argued five cases before the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
In one example of Brian's municipal and governmental liability experience, he successfully defended the Town of Islip, New York, in a high-profile case involving a shooting at a town park. In Batista v. Town of Islip, the teenage plaintiff was shot by a gang member while watching a basketball game. He sustained a traumatic brain injury and blindness in one eye. The plaintiff sued, arguing that the town failed to provide adequate security and failed to take adequate measures to combat gang violence. Brian argued that the shooting was not foreseeable and that the town's decisions concerning security were protected by the governmental immunity doctrine. The judge granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment.
In another example, Schacker v. Town of Huntington, the 18-year-old plaintiff was driving his car on a state road in Huntington, New York, when it slid on black ice and collided with another vehicle. He sustained a traumatic brain injury and was hospitalized for months. The plaintiff sued the town and the state of New York for failing to maintain proper drainage, which he asserted caused ice to form at the intersection; there was a history of complaints of water problems at the intersection. Brian argued that the town was not liable, as the intersection was under the control of the state and there was insufficient evidence that the town breached its duty to maintain the roadway. The town's motion for summary judgment was granted by the Suffolk County Supreme Court.
Brian is a frequent author and presenter on topics in his areas of concentration. Recently, he authored an article on New York's “primary assumption of risk defense” doctrine for the New York Law Journal.
He has been awarded an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and has been selected for inclusion in New York Metro Super Lawyers and as one of Long Island's Top Legal Eagles.
•Author, “Court of Appeals Decisions Clarify Primary Assumption of Risk Defense in Tort Actions,” The Defendant, Defense Association of New York, Summer 2013
•Author, “Court of Appeals Decisions Clarify Primary Assumption of Risk Defense,” New York Law Journal, May 10, 2013
•Presenter, “Handling the Police Liability Claim,” National Business Institute, March 5, 2013
•Author, “Recent Developments in the Primary Assumption of Risk Defense,” New York State Bar Association Torts, Insurance & Compensation Law Section Journal, Winter 2011
•Author, Recent Developments in the Primary Assumption of Risk Defense, The Defense Association of New York, Spring/Summer 2011; The Suffolk Lawyer, March 2011
•Author, Court of Appeals Rejects Estoppel Claim Against Municipality, The Suffolk Lawyer, November 2009
•Author, Appellate Rulings on Collateral Source Reduction of Jury Verdicts, Defendant Magazine, Summer 2008; Torts Insurance and Compensation Law Journal, Winter 2009
•Author, Liability of Dog Owners Revisited, The Suffolk Lawyer, June 2007
•Presenter, Liability for Sporting and Social Activities, New York State Bar Association Update and Overview on Premises Liability Seminar, 2005
•Presenter, Defenses: The Firefighter's Rule, New York State Bar Association Premises Liability Seminar, 1996
•Author, The Police Officer Plaintiff: Santangelo Revisited, New York Negligence Reporter, April 1994
•Author, Injured in the Line of Duty, the Policeman's Rule, The Nassau Lawyer, October 1989
•Twenty-Six Goldberg Segalla Attorneys Listed in 2014 New York Metro Super Lawyers
•Vice President of The Bay Club, Inc.
•Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating: AV Preeminent
•Top Rated Lawyer in Litigation, American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell, 2014
•New York Metro Super Lawyers (Personal Injury Defense: General)
•Long Island's 2012 Top Legal Eagles
•Summary Judgment Win for Municipality in Highway Design and Maintenance Case
•Municipality Successfully Defended in High-Profile Shooting Case
•Public Insurer Successfully Defended in an Underinsured Motorist Claim
•Jury Verdict for Town in Sanitation Truck Accident Case
January 10, 2013
•Appellate Victory for Town Ends Nine Years of Litigation Over Spinal Cord Injury
May 23, 2012
•Wrongful Death Action Against Municipalities, Police Departments Dismissed in Federal Court
November 2, 2011
•Appellate Victory in Premises Liability Case a Landmark Decision for Out-of-Possession Landlords
September 16, 2011
•Successful Appeal in a Contentious Coverage Dispute
March 29, 2011
•Recovery of $785,000 in Contractual Indemnity Claim after Successful Appeal to Appellate Division Second Department
•Sixteen Goldberg Segalla Attorneys Listed in 2013 New York Metro Super Lawyers
•Five Goldberg Segalla Attorneys Listed in Metro/Westchester New York Super Lawyers
•Goldberg Segalla Attorneys Rated Long Island's Top Legal Eagles
September 1, 2010