Justin is an associate in the Litigation Practice Group. He assists businesses, institutions and individuals in identifying and managing litigation risk, resolving disputes and achieving their objectives. Justin has a thorough understanding of the litigation process and is able to successfully navigate challenges on behalf of his clients.
Justin maintains a broad general commercial litigation practice where he assists clients with contractual disputes and collection matters. He has considerable experience representing shareholders in a variety of business divorce matters across many different industries. Justin recognizes that every case presents a unique set of facts and circumstances. He also works on behalf of his clients in litigation involving non-compete agreements.
- Helped represent the minority member of a limited liability company in a shareholder dispute matter, resulting in a multi-million dollar settlement for the client. The majority shareholder had frozen out the client as the company reported record profits. After a two-day hearing seeking injunctive relief, a judge granted the injunction extending beyond the relief historically awarded by courts in Pennsylvania. Almost immediately after the decision, the majority member settled the matter with a significant buyout payment to the client.
- Helped represent a professional services partnership and real estate partnership in a shareholder departure dispute. The departing shareholder filed an emergency petition for a special relief in the York County Court of Common Pleas, seeking a preliminary injunction related to the financial affairs of the partnerships. Justin helped file preliminary objections, citing several provisions of the shareholder’s agreements that were contradictory to the departing shareholder’s claims. After a hearing on the preliminary objections, the court dismissed the petition seeking a preliminary injunction.
- Represented a company against a claim that it owed a manufacturer $130,000 for inventory it allegedly purchased. Based on the evidence and counterclaims presented at the arbitration hearing, his client was awarded judgment in its favor and the arbitrator actually awarded his client a monetary judgment against the manufacturer.
Real Estate Litigation
Justin represents design professionals (including architects and engineers), builders, contractors and subcontractors in contract disputes, tax assessment appeals and land use appeals. He also represents landlords in both commercial and residential real estate litigation.
- Part of a Barley Snyder team that represented a nonprofit regional healthcare system in pursuing a real estate tax exemption for one of its hospitals. The local school district challenged the exemption on the basis that the healthcare system did not meet the statutory requirements for a charitable real estate tax exemption under Pennsylvania law. In response, Justin and the team cited the extensive charitable care provided by the healthcare system as well as its compliance with the highly complex statutory requirements for a charitable exemption. After a two day trial, the York County Court of Common Pleas granted a full exemption for the property and confirmed the system’s positive contributions to community health. The school district has appealed the decision to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. The decision resulted in millions of dollars of tax savings.
- Helped represent the owner of one of the most valuable properties in a suburban Philadelphia County in a tax assessment appeal. On the day before trial, the Barley Snyder team brokered a settlement that reduced the tax valuation of the property by nearly $12 million, amounting to considerable tax savings for the client.
- Helped represent a company before an Adams County court where a local municipality challenged the company’s zoning compliance. The municipality sought to enforce a broad and vague term of the municipality’s zoning ordinance that would have made the use of the company’s property impractical, rendering the company’s significant investment in the property worthless. The court ultimately agreed and denied the municipality’s appeal.
- Presented oral argument before the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court in support of a favorable outcome Barley Snyder obtained for a York City industrial property owner in a tax assessment appeal. The trial court’s conclusion on the value of the property represented a six-figure tax savings for the property owner over the next several years. After oral argument, the state affirmed the trial court’s tax reduction.
Justin assists trust companies, banks and individuals with guardianships and disputes involving wills, powers of attorney and estate administration.
- Represented the power of attorney agent for the incapacitated individual. The agent had been appointed by his father to watch over his financial affairs and medical care. The agent’s sister attempted to have the agent removed by the York County Court of Common Pleas-Orphans’ Court division. Justin presented a defense which included exposing the sister’s intent to have herself replaced as the agent for her father, wherein she would pay herself significant payments for her services. After an emergency hearing, the court dismissed the sister’s petition and reaffirmed Justin’s client as the valid power of attorney agent.
- Represented a commercial real estate developer in an appeal involving its attempt to construct private college housing. The developer had obtained final approval of its land development plan, only to see the municipality change the zoning ordinance and join in an appeal of neighboring landowners against the development. After successfully appealing an adverse initial trial court decision to Commonwealth Court, Justin persuaded the trial court to allow the development to be constructed with minor changes. Based on the evidence presented to the court, the judge also ruled that the municipality acted in bad faith.
- Represented the beneficiary of a trust after the trustee misappropriated nearly $200,000 in trust funds over the course of several years. Justin uncovered that the trustee was making unauthorized loans from the trust to himself and his business and was not repaying those loans. Justin successfully petitioned the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas-Orphans’ Court Division to remove the trustee and hold him in contempt of court. Justin also involved the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office’s Elder Abuse Division to conduct a parallel investigation, which resulted in a guilty plea, a restitution order, and the trustee being imprisoned.
- Represented an estate in a preliminary injunction matter brought by a beneficiary. The beneficiary of the multimillion dollar estate claimed that he was entitled to certain water rights on a property he owned neighboring the property owned by the estate. Justin defended the matter aggressively for the estate and at the preliminary injunction hearing, obtained a non-suit dismissal of the case after the presentation of the beneficiary’s evidence.
- Represented the beneficiaries of a trust for the collection of an inter-family undocumented loan in the Adams County Court of Common Pleas. Justin navigated a complex set of facts and evidentiary issues, including that the initial balance of the loan having been incurred 30 years before and that the only surviving party to the loan with capacity was the debtor himself. The debtor argued that the loan was a gift, instead of a loan. The debtor also filed a cross claim against his ex-wife, who was one of the beneficiaries of the trust, claiming that she was responsible for any loan balance. After a trial, the judge confirmed the existence of the loan and awarded Justin’s client a $72,500 judgment. The judge also dismissed the cross claim against the ex-wife beneficiary, finding that she was not liable under the loan.
- Helped represent a guardian overseeing an elderly individual with significant assets. For years, the children of the individual battled over control of their mother’s assets by challenging her incapacity finding, often resulting in monthly orphan’s court proceedings. After convincing the trial court to maintain the incapacity finding and maintain the guardianship intact, the children took the appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court. After Justin argued before the appellate panel, the decision of the trial court was affirmed.
- Represented a client in an action to recover her interest in a property she owned with her ex-husband. The ex-husband refused to sell the property or make payment to his ex-wife. His attorney raised various legal defenses to the sale or liquidation of the property. However, a trial court rejected the ex-husband’s defenses and ordered the property to be sold or the ex-wife’s interest liquidated. In response to the court’s order, the ex-husband made payment to the ex-wife in the amount of $120,000.
- Helped represent a widow in a claim to obtain a share of her deceased husband’s IRA account. The widow’s stepchildren had contested her right to receive these funds. The stepchildren appealed the trial court decision to the Pennsylvania Superior Court where Justin and a Barley Snyder team successfully defended the trial court’s decision in a case of first impression at the appellate level. The client received close to $200,000 as a result of the victory.
Justin received his J.D. from Drexel University School of Law. While at Drexel, he testified before the U.S. Department of Labor on a proposal for employee benefit reform. Justin received his Bachelor of Science from Eastern University, summa cum laude. At the school, his peers elected him student body president.
He has notable experience as a law clerk for the Delaware Attorney General’s Office where he assisted in securing a landmark settlement in a case with the mortgage financing industry. During law school, Justin clerked with the Honorable Judge Thomas H. Kelley, VI and was a summer associate at Barley Snyder.