John M. Flannery Partner



John Flannery is a member of Wilson Elser’s Executive Committee and the managing partner of the White Plains office. His practice focuses on civil litigation, including claims involving toxic torts, commercial disputes, civil rights, municipal and product liability, and employment litigation.

John is adept at devising successful legal strategies. He uses his problem-solving skills to anticipate where an adversary is going and generally gets there first with a winning solution. He has tried numerous cases in both state and federal court, with an excellent record of favorable verdicts. John has held the position of co-chair of the Trial Lawyers Committee of the Westchester County Bar Association for many years. During law school, John completed an internship with the District Attorney’s Office in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.

John served 12 years on the board of trustees of the New York State Interest on Lawyer Account Fund (IOLA), which helps low-income people with civil legal problems that affect their most basic needs. In addition, he is active in Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, a like-minded organization with similar objectives, where he served on the board for six years.

Areas of Focus

Special Appointment
Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York named John the Defendants’ Co-liaison Counsel for the personal injury claim brought by off-site workers injured during the clean-up of lower Manhattan following the World Trade Center terrorist attacks. In this role, John is responsible for coordinating the handling and administration of cases before the court and with the Plaintiffs’ Co-liaison Counsel. Nearly 1,500 plaintiffs have claims pending for injuries related to the clean-up effort.

Toxic Tort
John’s position as Defendants’ Co-liaison Counsel in the aftermath of the World Trade Center terrorist attack has provided him with a wealth of knowledge about the law and the science surrounding toxic exposure. He has represented land owners, businesses and municipalities involving individual and mass tort claims for contamination of sites by toxic substances. John is currently lead attorney on numerous toxic tort cases filed against two clients as a result of the 9/11 attacks. John filed a motion to dismiss and nearly 1,000 of the cases were dismissed for plaintiffs’ failure to serve a notice of claim. Significantly, the dismissal resulted in the amendment of General Municipal Law § 50-I, extending a one-year time period for the filing of 9/11 claims.

Municipal Litigation
John handles municipal matters surrounding allegations of violations of the Civil Rights Act, charges of police brutality, false arrest and false imprisonment. In regular, ongoing government business matters, John has handled zoning and land use, claims involving tort liability, discrimination in employment, wrongful discharge, failure to provide adequate police protection, malicious prosecution, RICO and sexual harassment.

General Commercial
John represents clients in matters involving business disputes and breach of contract, and has assisted in drafting appropriate land use ordinances and regulations. He also represents clients before state and federal courts on zoning and land use controversies, as well as environmental and real estate matters.

John has successfully litigated cases defending companies and management against a variety of claims arising out of the employer/employee relationship. He has defended companies and governmental entities in the areas of discrimination for sex, age, race, disability, religious beliefs and sexual orientation. He has defended cases related to a hostile work environment and statistical discrimination. John has also advised his clients on employment counseling and has conducted investigations into employer/employee misconduct. John has tried cases in both state and federal court and handled administrative hearings before the EEOC and the New York State Human Rights Commission.

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