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Kenneth E. Pitcoff

Practice Areas

  • Municipal Liability
  • Civil Rights
  • Constitutional Law
  • Employment Law
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Land Use
  • Personal Injury
  • General Liability

Education

  • St. John's University School of Law, J.D.
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook, B.A. Cum Laude

Bar Admissions

  • New York

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
 
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KENNETH E. PITCOFF is the managing partner of MDAFP’s public entity department. 
He specializes in defending municipalities in high-profile civil rights, torts and
employment related cases.  He has successfully defended municipalities in excessive force
cases, several of which have involved police shootings and Taser use, as well as police false
arrest claims. Mr. Pitcoff is proficient at crisis handling and advising his clients how best to
communicate with the media.  He works closely with municipalities to limit their potential
exposure to a wide variety of lawsuits through education and training.  Mr. Pitcoff also 
specializes in defending high exposure personal injury cases where catastrophic injuries
are alleged.  He has tried more than sixty cases in the State and Federal Courts, almost all of
which have resulted in defendants’ verdicts or verdicts or settlements that were well below
the offers made prior to trial. 

Mr. Pitcoff is a frequent lecturer on immunities available to municipalities and his
articles are regularly published in the New York State Law Journal.  Mr. Pitcoff had
the honor on two occasions of being named National Attorney of the Year by insurance
companies.  

PRIOR EXPERIENCE

Robert P. Sweeney & Associates (corporation counsel for State Farm Insurance)

AWARDS

In 2017, Mr. Pitcoff was named  Attorney of the Year by Tokio Marine, Public Risk Group, for his work defending municipalities.  

In 2011, Mr. Pitcoff was named Attorney of the Year by Midwest Claims, a division of Houston Casualty Corporation, for his work defending municipalities.

REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE

  • Parker v. County of Westchester- Plaintiff sued a Westchester County Police Sergeant for
    excessive force and false arrest when a County Police Sergeant struck him in the eye and
    arrested him for disorderly conduct.  Mr. Pitcoff successfully argued that the force used was appropriate due to the Plaintiff's continued disregard of the directives of the Sergeant and
    Plaintiff making physical contact with him.  The jury rendered a defendants' verdict.  
  • Depeche v. County of Westchester- Plaintiff sued a Westchester County Police Officer for
    excessive force based on the Officer's use of a Taser on the Plaintiff.  Mr. Pitcoff successfully
    argued that the use of the Taser was reasonable under the circumstances.  Specifically, it
    was argued that Plaintiff ignored several warnings to step back away from the crime scene
    and then lunged forward at the officer, necessitating the use of the Taser.  The jury rendered
    a defendants' verdict.
  • Laroche v. Town of Mt. Pleasant- Plaintiff sued a Town of Mt. Pleasant Police Officer for
    assault and excessive force when the officer pointed his gun at the plaintiff.  Mr. Pitcoff
    successfully argued that the "force" used was reasonable under the circumstances. 
    Specifically, Mr. Pitcoff argued that it was reasonable for an officer to believe that there was
    an active shooter present at the scene and, thus, the pointing of his gun at the Plaintiff was reasonable.  The jury rendered a defendants' verdict.
  • Garcia v. County of Westchester- Plaintiff sued a County of Westchester Sergeant for excessive
    force and false arrest when the Sergeant allegedly threw him against a wall and arrested
    him for disorderly conduct without probable cause.  Mr. Pitcoff successfully argued that the
    Sergeant used only the amount of force that was reasonable under the circumstances and
    that probable cause existed for the arrest, irrespective of the fact that the criminal charges
    were ultimately dismissed.  The jury rendered a defendants' verdict.  
  • Romanick v. Town of Mt. Pleasant- Plaintiff sued a Town of Mt. Pleasant Police Officer alleging excessive force when the officer purportedly tackled the plaintiff without cause, as well as false arrest.  Mr. Pitcoff successfully argued that the force was reasonable, and that the incident
    did not occur the way the Plaintiff claimed it did.  Specifically, Mr. Pitcoff argued that Plaintiff
    refused to obey the Officer's commands and that the force used in placing the Plaintiff into
    custody was reasonable.  Mr. Pitcoff also persuasively argued that there was probable cause
    for the Plaintiff's arrest, even though the charges against him were ultimately dismissed.  The
    jury rendered a defendants' verdict.
  • Hinds v. Town of Mt. Pleasant- Plaintiff sued a Town of Mt. Pleasant Police Officer for excessive
    force and false arrest.  At trial, Mr. Pitcoff was compelled to concede that there had been a false
    arrest but argued that Plaintiff had only been in custody for a few hours.  Mr. Pitcoff further
    argued that the force used was reasonable under the circumstances and not excessive.  The
    jury rendered a verdict against the Police Officer for $50,000.  It should be noted that an Offer
    of Judgment was served pursuant to Rule 68 in the amount of $100,000 on behalf of the
    defendants on the day that the answer was served  The offer was rejected by the Plaintiff. 
    Given the same, Plaintiff was unable to recover attorney's fees which may have reached
    $1,000,000.  In addition, the defendants were able to recover a portion of their litigation
    costs from Plaintiff.
  • Gallo v. Town of Mt. Pleasant- Plaintiff sued a Town of Mt. Pleasant Police Officer for excessive
    force and assault when the Officer pointed his gun at the Plaintiff.  Plaintiff alleged to have
    suffered PTSD because of the incident.  Mr. Pitcoff successfully argued that the Police
    Officer was justified in pointing his gun at the plaintiff given the circumstances that existed. 
    The jury rendered a defendants' verdict.   
  • Monroe v. Town of Haverstraw – Plaintiff claimed that Officer Viohl used excessive force with
    respect to effectuating his arrest.  Specifically, it was claimed that the police officer
    Tasered the plaintiff five times and threw him against a police car causing physical injuries. 
    Mr. Pitcoff was able to convince a jury that the use of the Taser was necessary due to plaintiff’s
    failure to comply with the officer's commands.  He successfully argued that the officer
    had properly followed the Department’s use of force continuum.  He was also able to
    convince the jury that plaintiff’s claim of being thrown against the hood of the police vehicle
    was a fabrication.  The jury issued a defendant’s verdict.  

  • Noel v. Incorporated Village of Lake Success - Mr. Pitcoff obtained a defendant's verdict
    in a matter in which plaintiff claimed that the Village and individual defendants
    unlawfully discriminated against him in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. Section 1981, and
    Section 290 of the New York State Human Rights Law. Specifically, plaintiff alleged
    that the discrimination stemmed from a two week suspension issued by the Village as a
    result of his alleged failure to report a gasoline spill on a golf course in violation of the
    Village's rules. Plaintiff claimed that the reason for the suspension provided by the Village
    was pretextual, and that the real reason for the suspension was his race and national origin
    and that it was in retaliation for a prior discrimination complaint that he filed. Plaintiff
    sought to recover back-pay, emotional damages and punitive damages. 

  • Wall v. Town of Niskayuna - Plaintiff Police Sergeant alleged gender discrimination in
    not being promoted to lieutenant and retaliation in not being promoted to detective
    sergeant.  Mr. Pitcoff obtained a defendant's verdict at trial.

  • Techon Contracting v. Village of Lynbrook - Mr. Pitcoff was lead defense counsel in a
    multi-million dollar breach of contract case which was discontinued against Mr. Pitcoff's
    client following a six week trial.
  • Kravtsov v. Town of Greenburgh - Mr. Pitcoff obtained a defendant's verdict where plaintiff
    claimed that he was discriminated against in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • DiBartolo v. Town of Yorktown - Mr. Pitcoff obtained dismissal of this defamation claim
    brought by two plaintiffs against the Town of Yorktown and Town supervisor based on
    executive privilege.
  • Croci v. Town of Haverstraw - Mr. Pitcoff obtained dismissal of this claim as against the
    Town of Haverstraw where plaintiff claimed that the Town violated the New York State
    Executive Law as a result of the Town's alleged failure to properly investigate and respond to
    plaintiff's complains of sexual harassment by a co-worker.  
  • Munoz v. Guarino  - Mr. Pitcoff successfully defended his client in a wrongful death action in
    which his client's personal assets were at risk.  At trial, Mr. Pitcoff obtained a verdict far below
    a previous  settlement offer that had been extended to plaintiff's estate. 
  • Herman v. Moore - Mr. Pitcoff obtained a defendant's verdict in a damages only case on the
    grounds that plaintiff, despite receiving years of physical therapy, did not sustain a "serious
    injury" within the meaning of the New York State Insurance Law.  
  • Casuso v. Demo Equipment Corp.Mr. Pitcoff obtained a defendant's verdict in a matter in
    which plaintiff
    alleged that he was forced to undergo three surgeries as a result of the
    accident in question, including a lumbar fusion surgery, and was left with a permanent disability. 
    Mr. Pitcoff argued that the plaintiff’s surgeries were not related to the accident, but to
    preexisting conditions.  Defendants had insurance coverage of $10,000,000 and an offer of
    $1,150,000 was extended to the plaintiff prior to trial, which was rejected.  The jury dismissed plaintiff’s claim on the grounds that plaintiff's injuries did not breach the “serious injury”
    threshold, as defined by the New York State Insurance Law. 

IMPORTANT DECISIONS

Mr. Pitcoff represented the Village of Mamaroneck in the landmark case of Groninger v. Village
of Mamaroneck
, 17 N.Y.3d 125, 927 N.Y.S.2d 304 (2011), where the Court of Appeals held that
parking lots are the "functional equivalent" of roadways within the meaning of the New York State
prior written notice statutes.

PUBLICATIONS

'Reckless Disregard' Under VTL 1103(B): Hazard Vehicles
By Kenneth E. Pitcoff and Andrea M. Alonso
New York Law Journal-November 2022 

Qualified Immunity: Hazard Vehicles Working on A Highway
By Kenneth E. Pitcoff and Andrea M. Alonso
New York Law Journal-September 2022 

"Emergency Operations" Under  VTL 1104
By Kenneth E. Pitcoff and Andrea M. Alonso
New York Law Journal-September 2022

"Serious Injury" Update
By Kenneth E. Pitcoff and Andrea M. Alonso 
New York Law Journal -August 30, 2021

Dram Shop Act: Boats, Motorcycles, ATVs, and Snowmobiles
By Kenneth E. Pitcoff and Andrea M. Alonso
New York Law Journal – February 3, 2021

A Closer Look at Qualified Immunity
By Kenneth E. Pitcoff and Andrea M. Alonso
New York Law Journal – July 23, 2020

Offer of Judgment: An Underutilized Tool in Federal Cases
By Kenneth E. Pitcoff and Andrea M. Alonso
New York Law Journal – December 23, 2019

“Rosa”: ‘Causally Related’ Is Insufficient To Establish Serious injury
By Kenneth E. Pitcoff and Andrea M. Alonso
New York Law Journal – October 24, 2019

NY Court of Appeals Continues to Expand Prior Written Notice Protections for Municipalities
By Kenneth E. Pitcoff and Kevin G. Faley
New York Law Journal – June 10, 2019

Is PTSD a 'Serious Injury' Under Insurance Law §5102(d)?
By Kenneth E. Pitcoff and Andrea M. Alonso
New York Law Journal – April 8, 2019

False Arrest/False Imprisonment and Late Notice of Claims
By Kenneth E. Pitcoff and Andrea M. Alonso
New York Law Journal – November 29, 2018

Crisis Handling in Municipal Cases
By Andrea Alonso and Kenneth Pitcoff
New York Law Journal – November 28, 2017

Update on ‘Serious Injury’
New York Law Journal – October 2, 2017

The ‘Creation Exception’ to the Pothole Law: Difficult to Prove
New York Law Journal – June 13, 2017

Hazard Vehicles: When Does Recklessness Disregard Standard Apply?
New York Law Journal – September 7, 2016

Liability and Emergency Responders: A U-Turn Around Kabir
New York Law Journal – July 15, 2016 

When Same-Sex Harassment Creates a Hostile Work Environment
New York Law Journal – June 2, 2016 

‘Kabir’ Update: ‘Worst Fears’ Realized Prompts Proposed Amendments
New York Law Journal – September 4, 2013

‘Kabir’ and Its Progeny: A Reckless Disregard for Common Sense
New York Law Journal – August 1, 2012

Car vs. Bike: Rules of the Road
New York Law Journal – December 13, 2011

Court of Appeals Holds That Conditions Involving Snow or Ice Need Not Be Immediately Created
in Order to Hold a Municipality Liable Under the Affirmative Creation Exception to the Prior
Written Notice Rule
NYSBA Torts, Insurance & Compensation Law Section Journal – Winter 2011 – Vol. 40 – No.2

Groninger v. Village of Mamaroneck: Prior Written Notice Laws Are Applicable to Municipal Parking Lots
NYSBA Torts, Insurance & Compensation Law Section Journal – Winter 2011 – Vol. 40 – No.2

Failure to Provide Police Protection and Special Relationship Exception
New York Law Journal – April 8, 2011

Motorcycle Litigation: No Easy Ride
New York Law Journal – September 3, 2010

CPLR 1601: Limiting Liability Against Public Entities?
New York Law Journal - March 24, 2008

New Definition of "Creation Exception" to Pothole Law
New York Law Journal - March 6, 2007

Proposed Amendments to the Recreational Use Statute
New York Law Journal - September 25, 2006

Liability Exemptions for Emergency Vehicles
New York Law Journal - May 3, 2005

ORGANIZATIONS

  • American Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Claims & Litigation Management Alliance.


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