Image of Brian W. McElhenny
Brian W. McElhenny


With over 90 appeals under his belt, Brian is a member of the firm’s Appellate Practice Group. He also co-chairs the firm’s Municipal and Government Practice Group. His practice focuses on complex personal injury defense and insurance coverage disputes with significant emphasis on municipal liability, premises cases, New York Labor Law and product liability.

Brian has more than three decades of experience defending clients in the courts on Long Island and in the New York City area in labor law construction and premises cases. He has tried more than 90 cases to jury verdict and argued 90 appeals before the Appellate Division in New York State. He has also argued several cases before the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Brian has experience in all aspects of the defense of civil litigation from claim inception through discovery, depositions, motion practice, trial and appeal. Brian has published extensively about the primary assumption of risk defense in athletic and recreational activity injury claims.

Brian has prepared and argued appeals across New York State. He has an active mediation practice where he works with clients and their insurers to resolve claims at an early stage. His litigation skills result in clients seeking his representation in mediations and arbitration across New York. Brian was selected by the Appellate Division Second Department to be a special master to mediate civil cases on appeal.

Brian has significant experience defending retail businesses, as well as property owners, general contractors and sub-contractors against various tort claims, including New York’s onerous Labor Law statutes. He has deep experience defending serious damage claims, including traumatic brain injury. However, his litigation skills are not limited to personal injury. Brian has successfully represented clients in commercial disputes, including defamation actions and claims of prima facia tort. Brian also represents a broad spectrum of product manufacturers and distributors in product liability matters. He has unique experience representing sprinkler manufacturers in significant property damage claims, as well as ladder manufacturers for alleged product failure.

In one example of Brian’s municipal and governmental liability experience, he successfully defended the Town of Islip, New York, in a high-profile case involving a shooting at a town park. In another example, the 18-year old plaintiff was driving his car on a state road in Huntington, New York, when it slid on black ice and collided with another vehicle. He sustained a traumatic brain injury and was hospitalized for months. Brian successfully argued that the town was not liable, as the intersection was under the control of the state and there was insufficient evidence that the town breached its duty to maintain the roadway.

Brian appellate skills were evident in representation of a ladder company in a product liability suit. The client purchased the assets of the ladder manufacturer after it went out of business. After a motion for summary judgment was denied, Brian appealed the decision and the Second Department reversed it, dismissing the complaint. The court held that the successor company was not liable for the alleged ladder defect.

Brian has been awarded an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell. He has also been selected for inclusion in New York Metro Super Lawyers and as one of Long Island’s Top Legal Eagles.

He resides in Huntington, New York with his wife Kerin. Brian is active playing tennis and platform tennis at the Head of the Bay Club in Huntington Bay where he was President in 2015-2016.