News from Devitt Spellman Barrett, LLP


April 17 2018

Earlier in 2018, DSB won a case involving a former police officer of a town in Suffolk County who claimed that he had been fired for political reasons involving a high profile 2015 limousine accident involving multiple deaths. There, the court ruled that the police officer had been dismissed for legitimate reasons. In April 2018, the same court dismissed a different lawsuit in which the officer sought money damages in connection with his termination. The court held that the officer’s claims for money damages were barred because the officer had refused to cooperate at a municipal hearing. The decision highlighted that although the officer appeared for the hearing, he refused to meaningfully answer 49 separate questions and that more than half of the hearing consisted of his attorney’ instructions not to answer and related dialogue.

April 10, 2018

The firm successfully argued a motion for summary judgment involving a claim against a Suffolk County school district for personal injuries arising out of a wrestling practice. The infant plaintiff, an experienced inter-scholastic wrestler, was found to have assumed the risk of injuries inherent in the sport. The Court also concluded that the District’s practices and procedures did not unreasonably enhance the risk of injury to the infant plaintiff and that there was no evidence to suggest that the difference in the weight between the infant plaintiff and the other participant was a proximate cause of the injury.

April 6, 2018

DSB is proud to announce that Anne Leahey has been named contract partner of the firm. Ms. Leahey will continue to work out of the Smithtown, New York office on Municipal, Corporate and Commercial Litigation matters, including complex motions and appeals.

March 21, 2018

The firm obtained a defendant’s verdict on behalf of a Long Island school district in a premises liability case. Plaintiff alleged on the date of the incident, he was bringing his grandson to a school event and slipped and fell on ice on a walkway resulting in a significant knee injury. Plaintiff alleged that there was ice present on the walkway causing him to fall. Two first responders both testified that they observed ice on the walkway and slipped themselves as they approached the plaintiff. Plaintiff produced a meteorologist who testified that the ice had formed earlier in the morning and per climatological data he opined that the school failed to apply salt or sand throughout the day which resulted in the ice being present at the time of the incident. Our attorney crossed examined the expert calling into doubt his opinions and brought out that there was a late day ice/storm event which undercut the plaintiff’s theory. The custodian at the school stated that there was no ice on the walkway. After a four day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the school district finding no negligence on the part of the school district.

March 19, 2018

The firm successfully defeated a challenge to the Village of Southampton’s Code which permitted 4×4’s and SUV vehicles to park on a 2,000 foot stretch of beach, known as the “Picnic Area” in the Village. The challenge brought by one of the nine homeowners along this stretch of beach alleged that the Code provision constituted an impermissible taking of their property under the 5th Amendment, violated the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment and constituted a public nuisance.

The firm moved for immediate dismissal of plaintiff’s Constitutional claims. In a significant decision impacting the public’s right to beach access, Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Santorelli granted the Village’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed plaintiff’s Constitutional claims.

March 5, 2018

In a Queens County action by a tenant for money damages and specific performance, DSB successfully argued that Plaintiff breached the terms of a prior settlement agreement with Defendant by failing to provide Defendant access to Plaintiff’s property for repair of alleged property damage, and that this refusal to provide access nullified Defendant’s obligation to make any such repairs under the prior settlement agreement. The Court found judgment in favor of Defendant and dismissed the case.

February 22, 2018

DSB won a motion for summary judgment on behalf of a school district on Long Island in an action commenced by a student who fell down stairs in a school and suffered a concussion and brain bleed requiring surgery. The Court determined that the student’s injuries were not caused by a lack of supervision. The Court further ruled that plaintiffs’ other claims could not be interposed to avoid summary judgment inasmuch as they were not included in the Notice of Claim served on the School District.

February 20, 2018

Partner Nick Brino and his wife Janine proudly announce the birth of their twin baby boys, Austin Drew and Cole Ryan. The boys join their brother, Logan, to make up the future starting line-up for the Knicks.

February 16, 2018

DSB is proud to announce that Jesse Rutter has been named Contract Partner of the firm. Jesse will continue to handle special school district and municipal defense matters in state and federal court as well as general liability defense matters for the firm.


The law firm is further proud to announce that John Sommers will be joining the firm as an Associate working in Insurance Defense Litigation. John comes to the firm with more than 25 years of experience in personal injury and property damage litigation.

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