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MichaelBalestra

Partner

"I practice under the philosophy of pragmatism above all else."

Overview

Biography

Michael primarily concentrates his practice on local, state, and federal commercial litigation matters that include construction claims, complex business disputes, and employee relations and discrimination claims. He provides strategic counsel with the aim of preventing issues first and, when necessary, represents clients in arbitration, mediation, administrative proceedings, and litigation, including appellate practice.

Michael has extensive experience representing construction-industry professionals and owners in construction claims involving defective work, breach of contract, mechanics’ liens, and diversion of Lien Law trust funds, among other matters. He regularly defends employers before the NYS Division of Human Rights, the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board, the NYS Department of Labor, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Michael also represents employers in matters involving employee misconduct, including the enforcement of noncompetition covenants and breaches of the duty of loyalty.

In addition to his construction- and employment-law practice, Michael represents clients in cases involving breach of contract, insurance coverage, partnership disputes, and other complex business issues.

Bar Associations

  • New York State Bar Association
  • Northern District New York Federal Court Bar Association
  • Onondaga County Bar Association
Experience

Representative Experience

  • Obtained a $1.2 million verdict for a contractor in a payment dispute with a building owner after a seven-day bench trial in NYS Supreme Court, Broome County, and successfully defended an appeal from the judgment.
  • Obtained a declaratory judgment after a five-day jury trial in NYS Supreme Court, Jefferson County, that an insurer was obligated for coverage of a fire loss and successfully proved that the insurer’s disclaimer on the basis of arson was improper.
  • Represented a hotel owner and negotiated a favorable settlement in a complex $1.1 million construction dispute with a general contractor and numerous subcontractors involving construction-defect claims, mechanics liens, and diversion-of-trust funds.
  • Obtained numerous findings of “no probable cause” from the NYS Division of Human Rights on behalf of employers in claims alleging workplace discrimination.
  • Obtained summary judgment for a bus distributor, dismissing a transportation company’s claims demanding $3 million in lost profits on account of alleged tortious interference with contract and business relations.
  • Assisted a beverage company in obtaining industrial hemp processing and growing licenses for the production of CBD-infused dietary supplement drinks.
  • Directed a cannabis-processing client's application for agency approval of a capital project to construct and operate a facility in line with FDA standards for current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) for dietary supplements.
  • Led internal and external business and legal teams creating regulatory reports for hemp processing and cultivating clients.
     

Prior Experience

  • Menter, Rudin & Trivelpiece, P.C., Shareholder

Selected Community Activities

  • Village of Skaneateles, Zoning Board of Appeals Chair
  • Ducks Unlimited, Skaneateles Chapter Committee Vice Chair
  • Sons of the American Legion, Post 239, Chaplain
  • LAUNCH CNY, Former Board Member

Selected Honors

  • Selected to Super Lawyers Upstate New York Rising Stars: Construction Litigation, 2016-2020

Featured Media

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