Municipal and Land Use Law
Labor and Employment
Regulatory Counsel to Licensees and Regulated Entities
Ben is of counsel to E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy. He practices in the areas of litigation, appellate advocacy, regulatory compliance, corporate governance, administrative law, municipal and land use law, and labor and employment.
More About Ben
As a litigator and appellate lawyer, Ben has twenty years of experience representing corporate and individual clients in commercial and regulatory disputes. His experience encompasses breach of contract lawsuits, insurance and reinsurance coverage actions, suits challenging the constitutionality of state statutes and regulations, business tort cases involving fraud and unfair competition, labor and employment grievances, and intra-company conflicts between partners, shareholders and joint venturers. He has also prosecuted or defended numerous “Article 78” proceedings in New York State courts, seeking judicial review of determinations made by state agencies and municipal authorities. In litigation, Ben has represented interests in a wide variety of commercial settings, including clients in the health care, telecommunications, banking, energy, real estate, construction and hospitality industries.
In the realm of regulatory compliance, Ben counsels clients regarding the evolving requirements of state and federal law. He has conducted voluntary self-audits for licensed and regulated entities, to deliver compliance and “best practices” advice. He has, from time to time, served as outside regulatory counsel for insurers, insurance producers, cemeteries, not-for-profit corporations, and licensees in health and human services, hospitality, and automotive industries, among others.
Ben’s administrative law practice includes the representation of regulated entities in investigative and disciplinary proceedings before various New York State agencies, including the Division of Human Rights, Department of Labor, State Liquor Authority and State Education Department, among others. Ben represents clients in all stages of these matters, including the agency’s initial investigation, defense of the client at agency hearings and, when necessary, challenging adverse rulings before agency appeal boards and in courts of law. Ben’s administrative law practice also encompasses challenges to awards of competitively bid government contracts. He has represented both winning and protesting bidders in such matters concerning contracts awarded by numerous state agencies and municipal corporations.
In the area of municipal law, Ben has served as counsel to local planning boards, zoning boards of appeal, and other governing bodies in Upstate New York communities, and has from time to time been retained as special counsel to provide comprehensive legal analysis to municipal boards with respect to complex or novel issues of land use law. Ben also provides counsel to private clients with regard to land use approval requirements throughout New York State, and represents them before zoning boards and in courts of law.
- Secured defense award in private arbitration of a major reinsurance coverage dispute between a regional health care insurer and national reinsurer, through comprehensive argument of contract principles.
- Aided, along with coalition of challengers, in winning a preliminary injunction from New York State Supreme Court, halting enforcement, on constitutional grounds, of the Department of Health’s 2019 emergency regulations banning the sale or use of most flavored e-cigarette products.
- Won dismissal of all claims (breach of contract, fiduciary duty, negligence and fraud) by over a dozen school districts against the settlor of a N.Y. Public Health Law Article 44 health benefits trust.
- Secured defense verdict in a bench trial in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, in a breach of fiduciary duty complaint against an investment advisor by his client.
- Tried and won an administrative hearing before the New York State Office of Empire State Development, challenging its denial of woman-owned business certification to an eligible company.
- Won summary judgment dismissal of all claims (breach of contract and tort) by a national manufacturer against a subcontractor-engineer for alleged design defects, through cultivation of evidence conclusively demonstrating the lack of a “meeting of the minds” between the parties, and the plaintiff’s material deviations from the engineer’s designs.
- Secured a judgment from the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York (and affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals) decreeing a portion of the New York State Home Health Care Wage Parity Act unlawful, as preempted by ERISA.
- Secured dismissal of civil rights claims by the New York Civil Liberties Union against New York City’s oldest child welfare service provider (and a custodian of resident alien children), in litigation concerning the federal government’s controversial 2019 family separation policies.
- Prevailed in Article 78 proceeding against a County Department of Health for its misapplication of the New York State Education Law in setting practice requirements for engineers and surveyors practicing before the Department.
- Successfully defended Article 78 proceeding on behalf of a municipal planning board for its grant of a special use permit and site plan approval of controversial restaurant proposal, involving novel interpretive issues of state and local law.
- Prevailed in Article 78 proceeding on behalf of a restaurant/tavern against a town board, for its arbitrary application of its noise ordinance.
Speaking Engagements, Publications & Conferences
- Panelist, “New York Diversity Summit – Panel #1: What to Know About Doing Business in New York” (Sponsored by the publication “City & State,” New York City, Aug. 9, 2018)
- Author, “Expert Q&A on Expert Witness Practice in New York,” Practical Law – The Journal (Thomson Reuters, Winter 2018)
- Speaker, “How to Navigate the Waters of MWBE” (sponsored by the Albany Business Review, September 2016)
- Author and Panelist, “Effective File Handling, Avoiding Bad Faith Claims and the Discoverability of Your Claim File in New York” (Part of NYSBA Series: “Law School for Insurance Professionals,” September 2015)
- Author and Panelist, “Additional Insured Coverage: Interpreting New Endorsements and Applying the Old” (NYSBA CLE, May 29, 2015)
- Co-Author, “Monitoring Every Move – Constitutional Implications of GPS Searches” (New York Law Journal, Feb. 27, 2012)
- Author, “The Lesser of Two Evils: New York’s New HIV/AIDS Partner Notification Law and Why the Right of Privacy Must Yield to the Public Health” (St. John’s Law Review, Fall 1999).
- New York State Bar Association
- Juris Doctorate, cum laude, St. John’s University School of Law
- St. John’s University Law Review
- Bachelor of Arts (English and Sociology, double), cum laude, State University of New York at Albany
- New York
- United States District Court for the Northern District of New York
- United States District Court for the Western District of New York
- United States District Court for the Southern District of New York