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"I have had the great benefit of a varied legal career resulting in a diverse practice with interesting, often unique work."



A former judge advocate, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation regional attorney, and private practitioner with over 30 years of legal experience, Tom primarily concentrates his practice on environmental law, including due diligence, permitting, compliance, and enforcement issues; environmental and land-use litigation before state and federal courts; and administrative legal practice before various state agencies.

Tom has substantial experience litigating Article 78 challenges to determinations by public bodies, including in environmental and land-use disputes. He guides developers and municipalities through the SEQRA process and related right-to-build issues and represents private entities in CERCLA and Navigation Law (oil spill) litigation. He conducts environmental due diligence on behalf of applicants, developers, and lenders, relying on his extensive background in regulatory and compliance issues.

Tom is also experienced at representing Class 1 railroads in all aspects of environmental legal practice, including litigation and regulatory and permitting issues such as preemption. He also represents petroleum-distribution companies in bulk-storage and oil spill issues and has represented permittees with respect to NYS Liquor Authority licensing and enforcement issues.

Bar Associations

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

Selected Memberships & Affiliations

  • Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow

Representative Experience

  • Representing a zoning board in a pending Article 78 proceeding challenging its action to annul a previously granted variance.
  • Performed numerous due diligence reviews on behalf of applicants and lenders with respect to the acquisition and permitting of alternative energy projects including wind and solar energy.
  • Successfully appealed numerous hazardous-waste program fees assessed by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, obtaining full refunds for clients.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a Class 1 railroad, dismissing all CERCLA contribution claims brought against it in a third-party action. The claim was based upon contamination that had migrated onto rail property from an adjoining former manufactured gas-plant site.
  • Successfully negotiated settlements with the USEPA in two separate CERCLA cases, obtaining favorable resolutions against corporate clients while obtaining the removal of alleged claims against corporate officers.
  • Assisted a client's wholly owned subsidiary in submitting a NY Department of Agriculture & Markets, Plant Industry Division application for authorization to process hemp, resulting in successful licensure.
  • Successfully moved to reopen a default judgment that had been taken against a rigging company in a NYSDEC enforcement proceeding and then obtained the voluntary dismissal of the complaint by the agency at the close of discovery.  
  • Successfully represented numerous municipal bodies in Article 78 Proceedings challenging SEQRA approvals.
  • Assisted numerous municipal bodies as special counsel regarding SEQRA compliance.
  • Represented numerous land use applicants before municipal bodies.
  • Represented numerous municipal bodies in Article 78 proceedings challenging administrative approvals.

Prior Experience

  • Menter, Rudin & Trivelpiece, P.C., Shareholder
  • NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Region 7, Regional Attorney
  • NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Region 6, Assistant Regional Attorney
  • US Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG), Judge Advocate

Selected Community Activities

  • Onondaga Cycling Club, Board of Directors Member
  • Camillus Youth Hockey Association, Former Board Member and Coach

Selected Honors

  • The Best Lawyers in America® Litigation—Environmental, 2008-2020
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Syracuse Lawyer of the Year: Litigation—Environmental, 2014, 2018, and 2020
  • Selected to Super Lawyers Upstate New York: Environmental, 2013-2019
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated for Very High to Preeminent Ethical Standards and Legal Ability

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Frequently presents in CLE programs and to client groups on lender liability, all appropriate inquiry, SEQRA, environmental easements, the NYS Navigation Law, and the interplay of environmental law and bankruptcy law.

Selected Publications & Media

  • Environmental Law in New York, “Petroleum Discharges and the NYS Navigation Law”

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