Kenneth L. Gartner is a commercial trial and appellate litigator. His practice includes commercial real property, corporate derivative, and business contract, tort and fraud cases; the representation of judges, lawyers and law firms in criminal, civil and disciplinary matters; and serving as an expert witness or special counsel on legal ethics issues.
For seven years, until 2006, he was a civil and criminal trial judge in the Nassau County District Court, where he earned the distinction of being the most published judge in the history of the New York State District Court. Judge Gartner has served as a Special Professor of Legal Ethics at Hofstra Law School; and an Adjunct Professor at Touro Law School, overseeing the Judicial Externship program, and teaching a seminar for judicial externs examining the judge's role, in theory and practice. Judge Gartner has for over a decade been the Chair of a national committee of judges, law professors, and practicing attorneys which annually chooses a law school Moot Court brief for recognition by Scribes - the American Association of Legal Writers. Judge Gartner was the inaugural recipient of Scribes’ Distinguished Service Award, conferred in 2017 in Oklahoma City. Judge Gartner has served as a Referee by appointment of Justices of the New York State Supreme Court, and has spoken on professional ethics and civil practice for various groups, including the Federal Bar Council, and the New York State Office of Court Administration. He has for years chaired an annual CLE program of the New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”) Committee on Professional Ethics. Judge Gartner is the Chair of the Nassau County Board of Ethics, having been appointed in 2018 by the County Executive, confirmed by the County Legislature, and elected by the other Board members.
Judge Gartner is a member of the New York City Bar Association (“City Bar”) and Federal Bar Association Professional Ethics Committees. He is a past Chair and continuing member of the NYSBA Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct (“COSAC”), and has been a two-term Chair of the Nassau County Bar Association Professional Ethics Committee. Judge Gartner received the 2016 Hon. Paul Widlitz Award from the Nassau County Jewish Lawyers Association. He is and has been for over a dozen years a member of the Diocesan Review Board of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York. Judge Gartner’s publications include “Pothole Laws, Appellate Courts, and Judicial Drift,” published in 2019 in the Journal of Appellate Practice and Process, and “Special Proceedings Against Municipalities Jeopardized; Conflict Arises Within the Second Department,” published in 2018 in NY Litigator.
Judge Gartner received both his B.A., and his J.D., cum laude, from the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he was Managing Editor of the Law Review. Prior to his election as a judge, he served as an antitrust/litigation associate of the Manhattan law firm of Breed, Abbott & Morgan (a predecessor to the current Winston & Strawn), and, subsequently, 17 years as first an associate and then a partner, in the law firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. Judge Gartner previously attended the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where, as was subsequently the case at Buffalo, he was a member of the school’s NCAA varsity soccer team.
Judge Gartner’s appellate matters have included: Sedacca v. Mangano, 18 N.Y.3d 609 (2012) (reversing Appellate Division, and holding that the statute authorizing Nassau County to establish an Assessment Review Commission did not permit the County Executive to remove assessment review commissioners prior to the expiration of their terms); In Re McCann v. Scaduto, 71 N.Y.2d 164 (1987) (reversing Appellate Division and holding unconstitutional the procedure for selling tax liens and deeds based upon real property tax defaults); Carrefour U.S.A. Properties Inc. v. 110 Sand Co., 918 F.2d 345 (2d Cir. 1990) (reversing federal district court after trial, and determining that defendant was a holder in due course of a check whose proceeds the defendant had applied to the account of the plaintiff’s now-bankrupt contractor); Key International Manufacturing, Inc. v. Stillman, 103 A.D.2d 475 (2d Dep’t 1984), aff’d, 66 N.Y.2d 924 (1985) (reversing trial court and permitting exercise of acceleration clause and draw-down of security for multi-million dollar debt 10 years before due date, due to failure to have timely replaced expiring [but not yet expired] letter of credit); Granata v. City of White Plains, 162 A.D.3d 641 (2d Dep’t 2018), lv. to app. den’d, 32 N.Y.3d 918 (2019) (upholding determination that municipality was acting in proprietary capacity in operation of commercial parking facility, and so was liable for multi-million dollar verdict when plaintiffs’ decedent was stabbed to death due to lack of security); In Re Lamb v. Egan, 150 A.D.3d 854 (2d Dep’t 2017) (reversing trial court, and holding that statutory language is required to be applied identically in criminal cases and administrative proceedings); In Re Wydra v. Brach, 144 A.D.3d 932 (2d Dep’t 2016) (reversing trial court, and reinstating multi-million dollar award by Jewish rabbinical tribunal); In Re Brummel v. Town of North Hempstead Town Board, 145 A.D.3d 880 (2d Dep’t 2016), lv. to app. den’d, 29 N.Y.3d 903, cert. den’d, 138 S.Ct. 516 (2017) (holding that park users lacked standing to raise alleged State Environmental Quality Review Act violations); Snyder Fulton Street , LLC v. Fulton Interest, LLC, 57 AD3d 511 (2d Dep’t 2008), lv. to app. dsmsd., 12 NY3d 755 (2009) (reversing trial court order to physically partition a downtown Brooklyn former department store building, and instead ordering auction sale of the property and partition of the proceeds); J.W. Mays, Inc. v. Snyder Fulton Street, LLC, 69 A.D.3d 572 (2d Dep’t 2010) (reversing dismissal of $50 million claim by property owner against long term net-net-net lessee for, inter alia, costs of curing structural defects and abatement of hazardous materials in former downtown Brooklyn department store property); Shovak v. Long Island Commercial Bank, 35 A.D.3d 857 (2d Dep’t 2006) (reversing trial court’s certification of class action based upon broker bank’s omission to disclose yield spread premiums received from mortgage lender); Shovak v. Long Island Commercial Bank, 50 A.D.3d 1118 (2d Dep’t ), lv. to app.den’d, 11 N.Y.3d 762 (2008) (reversing trial court and dismissing action, and denying leave to amend to assert fraud); Salvatore v Kumar, 45 A.D.3d 560 (2d Dep’t 2007), lv. to app. den’d, 10 N.Y. 703 (2008) (dismissing action against former chief executive of multinational corporation for defamation and wrongful termination); Rosenberg v. Trazzera, 147 A.D.3d 1099 (2d Dep’t 2017) (reversing trial court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s trespass and interference action against adjoining landowner on jurisdictional grounds); People v. Koszko, 57 Misc.3d 47 (App. Term, 2d Dep’t 2017) (upholding suppression of evidence upon determination that probable cause to arrest defendant for driving while impaired by drugs was absent without indicia that defendant had ingested a drug specified in the Public Health Law); In Re Roslyn Jane Holdings, LLC v. Jefferson, 144 A.D.3d 1041 (2d Dep’t 2016) (sustaining issuance of tax deed by Nassau County Treasurer to tax lien holder); Scott v. North Bellmore Public School District, 153 A.D.3d 569 (2d Dep’t 2017) (affirming denial of summary judgment in plaintiff’s action based upon slip and fall on ice in school parking lot); Kidd v. Delta Funding Corporation, 270 A.D.2d 81 (1st Dep’t 2000) (reversing trial court and granting motion to change venue of putative class action against bank based upon allegedly improper charging of processing fee); Greater New York Savings Bank v. Delco Development Co. of Roslyn, 252 A.D.2d 570 (2d Dep’t 1998) (determining that net proceeds of real property tax refunds belonged to plaintiff mortgagee rather than new owner of commercial property); Standardbred Owners Association, Inc. v. Yonkers Racing Corporation, 239 A.D.2d 491 (2d Dep’t 1997) (upholding injunction barring Yonkers harness racetrack from simulcasting races from Saratoga harness racing track without an agreement by the Standardbred Owners Association); Gugleotti v. Lincoln Security Life Insurance Co., 234 A.D.2d 514 (2d Dep’t 1996) (reversing trial court and granting life insurer summary judgment of dismissal of life insurance beneficiary’s action for proceeds, based upon material misrepresentations made in the life insurance application of the CEO, who was also a deep sea diver who perished during a salvage and recovery operation); Grumman Aerospace Corp. v. Rice, 196 A.D.2d 572 (2d Dep’t 1993) (affirming denial of motion to dismiss fraud action against seller of allegedly counterfeit aerospace fasteners); Rice Aircraft, Inc. v. Grumman Aerospace Corporation, 196 A.D.2d 583 (2d Dep’t 1993) (affirming denial of motion for summary judgment by seller of allegedly counterfeit aerospace fasteners, seeking payment,); In Re Mercy Hospital v. Board of Zoning Appeals of the Town of Hempstead, 127 A.D.2d 659 (2d Dep’t 1987) (reversing trial court’s refusal to overturn local zoning board’s denial of special use permit to allow hospital to provide out-patient mental health services); Colonie Hill, Ltd. v. Duffy, 114 A.D.2d 879 (2d Dep’t 1985) (affirming vacatur of settlement entered into by trial counsel on behalf of pension fund, on basis of lack of authority).