Municipal Law in Albany, NY

municipal law

At Bailey, Johnson & Peck, P.C., we are well-versed in the representation of municipalities and public bodies. Our attorneys have held elected office and have been employed in positions such as town attorney, city attorney, and special district counsel, giving us a unique understanding of the factors that municipalities face. Over the years, we have represented numerous counties, cities, towns, and villages.

For our municipal clients, we provide general and special representation in matters of planning, zoning, ordinance drafting, and environmental law, as well as rem tax foreclosure and tax certiorari proceedings. We provide representation in the same matters for our private-sector clients before government boards and agencies.

Our municipal lawyers also handle administrative and litigated proceedings both before and on behalf of governmental units. Call 518-456-0082 for a free consultation today.

What is a Municipality?

A municipality is basically a small governing body such as a city, a township, a village, a borough, a parish, a county, etc. 

What Does a Municipality Do?

A strong and successful municipality must prioritize the basic needs of its people, promote economic development in the community, and manage and structure its finances. Most municipalities are responsible for things like:

  • Parks and recreation services
  • Local police and fire departments
  • Public transportation
  • Local, emergency medical services
  • Educational operations in schools and school districts
  • Public works services such as signs, streets, sewage, ice or snow removal, etc.
  • Housing services

What is Municipal Liability?

Municipal liability can fall under the large umbrella of personal injury law. Basically, if a municipality, its services, or its employees cause injury or wrongful death to anyone, the injured party can sue for damages. For example, it is possible to sue an entire city if they cause you harm.

But municipal liability isn’t only limited to injury and death. Other legal issues include:

  • Zoning Issues, which arise when land use isn’t regulated by the local government. For example, a common zoning issue occurs when some people want access to a piece of land for residential purposes while others want to use the same piece of land for their business.
  • Local and Property Taxes: Municipalities can collect state taxes in order to fund their local government. Some people don’t know how to navigate these kinds of taxes, such as how much you should pay or how to handle tax fraud. Municipal lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck can assist you with local taxes and so much more.
  • Law Enforcement: Criminal investigation, arrests, searches and seizures, and criminal charges are generally handled locally. If local law enforcement violates your rights in any step of this process, that can certainly turn into a municipal law issue. For example, you could potentially sue your county sheriff’s department for an illegal search and seizure. 

Common Municipal Law Issues That We Handle

The municipal lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck have handled a wide array of municipal law issues throughout the years. Listed below are common municipal law cases that our practice handles.

  • Slips and falls on government property due to unsafe conditions
  • Accidents or injustices at local schools and school districts
  • Accidents at public parks, pools, or city-owned buildings
  • Dog attacks on public or city-owned property
  • Bus, subway, or city-owned vehicle accident
  • Injustice caused by local law enforcement

Whatever the municipal issue or injustice, you can rely on our extensive knowledge and experience to defend you in any courtroom proceeding.

How to Sue a Municipality for Negligence

If a municipality or its employees cause you harm, you can certainly sue for negligence. Individuals interested in filing a lawsuit against a city, for example, must complete the following steps.

Step One: Contact Attorneys at Bailey, Johnson & Peck

Navigating a municipal lawsuit alone is not the best idea. Attorneys at Bailey, Johnson & Peck have extensive experience and knowledge of municipal law, New York State laws, and the legal theory of negligence.

Step Two: File a Notice of Claim

The next step in suing a municipality is filing a notice of claim. The purpose of this notice of claim is to basically allow the municipality to privately settle the issue before heading to the courtroom. In your notice of claim, you should include the following information:

  • Your name and contact information.
  • All names and contact information of involved parties.
  • An explanation of how your injury or injustice occurred. Include details such as how, where, and when.
  • Information about the severity of your injuries.
  • How much money you’re seeking in financial compensation.

In New York, it’s crucial to file a notice of claim against a municipality within 90 days of your accident or injury. Failure to do so may result in a case dismissal.

Step Three: Wait For the City’s Response

The next step is to wait for a response from the city or municipality. Most of the time, the city will deny the claim. If they don’t deny it, they may offer you an incredibly low settlement offer in order to get you to drop the issue. In either scenario, you can choose to move forward by filing a lawsuit.

Step Four: File a Lawsuit

The next step is actually filing a lawsuit against the municipality. One of our attorneys can handle this for you. Once the lawsuit is filed, we’ll begin investigating and gathering evidence to support your claim. For example, if you were injured in an accident caused by a city-owned bus, we’ll gather evidence such as traffic camera footage, witness statements, medical records, etc. Additionally, we’ll calculate how much the city owes you in damages and prepare to fight for that compensation in the courtroom.

Step Five: Go To Trial

In most cases, municipalities will do what they can to settle legal issues outside of the courtroom. They generally do this through a settlement check. If their settlement check is too low or they fail to offer a settlement at all, they’ll have to attend the trial in order to settle the matter. 

During the trial, we’ll present sufficient evidence that proves the city’s negligence towards you. Additionally, we’ll fight for fair compensation on your behalf. If the trial ends in your favor, you could win more than enough compensation to cover the damages incurred by the city.

municipal law

Contact Municipal Lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck Today

Municipal law is incredibly complex and therefore requires strong legal representation. Our law firm is proud to protect the rights of both municipalities and individuals with our extensive knowledge of New York State laws. If you don’t know how to navigate through the complex world of municipal law, give Bailey, Johnson & Peck a call at 518-456-0082 today. We’ll advocate for you and provide the best legal outcome possible.

Practice Areas

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Our attorneys have extensive experience in personal injury law, including car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. If you have questions about insurance coverage and how to get the financial compensation you need, contact us today to see how we can help.

We have represented many clients on both sides of personal injury and insurance disputes. Let us use our depth of knowledge and experience to help you and your family get the medical care and financial compensation you need and deserve.