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Judge Silbert Helps Church Street South Residents, Northland Reach $18.75 Million Settlement

Mar 6 2020

Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C. Of Counsel Judge Jonathan E. Silbert (ret.) is credited for helping reach a compromise in the Church Street South Litigation, Noble et al v. Northland, et al.

The case was originally filed in December 2016 and potentially could have continued for years without Judge Silbert’s intervention. According to the complaint, after purchasing the Church Street South complex property in 2008, Northland allowed conditions at the Church Street South complex “to become uninhabitable beyond repair.”

The corporation will pay $18.75 million to settle the class action suit benefiting an estimated 1,000 former residents of the now destroyed Church Street South housing project in the Hill. Northland will also be required to pay up to $200,000 for administrative fees and expenses for guardians ad litem for minors and disabled tenants. Payouts are likely to begin at the end of the summer.

Judge Silbert’s practice is devoted exclusively to mediation and arbitration. As a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, his experience includes three years as a legal services attorney and seventeen years in private practice. Over his 21-year judicial career, he served in courthouses in New London, Norwich, Willimantic, Meriden, Middletown and New Haven, presiding over civil, criminal, and juvenile matters.

As a Presiding Civil Judge, Judge Silbert developed an interest in various forms of dispute resolution, earning a reputation for his skills not only in deciding cases at trial but also in mediating cases to a successful conclusion without trial. He has lectured on mediation in Connecticut, as well as in the Russian Federation and Ecuador. In 2012, after 21 years as a judge, he returned to Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C., the successor of the law firm he helped to found in 1977, with a practice devoted exclusively to Mediation and Arbitration.

In an interview with The New Haven Register, Judge Silbert explains, “it was a very difficult case … the variety of factual, legal and procedural hurdles for both sides was immense.” Both parties credited Judge Silbert for his guidance in the compromise after he was called in as a Mediator 15 months ago. Before Silbert came in, “it was unsupervised combat,” said Attorney David Rosen, who represented an estimated 300 of the former tenants.” The hard fought litigation could have gone on for many more years, except for his intervention, Rosen and Henry Sullivan, the attorney for Northland, agreed in a press conference Thursday in Rosen’s office.

Barbara Goren, Rosen’s legal partner and spouse, added that without Silbert’s “persistence, his wisdom, his patience and his guidance, without that I am not sure we would be where we are today.”

For more information about Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C., call (203) 777-4425.

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