James E. Nelson - Van DeWater & Van DeWater - Poughkeepsie NY

James E. Nelson | Partner

Phone: 845-452-5900 | 800-817-2918
Fax: 845-452-5848
Email: Email Me

Jim Nelson has practiced litigation, municipal , commercial and media law for over thirty-five years. As counsel to commercial and not-for-profit organizations, municipalities and media outlets, he regularly handles their matters from consultation through completion. In addition, he consistently uses techniques to avoid unnecessary litigation and control costs, all while assuring that the results sought by his clients are achieved.

Jim is an active community volunteer, and graduated from Union College with honors in Economics, and from Albany Law School, where he was a member of the Editorial Board for the Albany Law Review. Before returning to his hometown of Poughkeepsie, Jim worked for the major New York law firm of Cahill, Gordon and Reindel.

Practices Areas
Municipal Law | Commercial & Not-for-Profit | Litigation & Media Law

Bar Admissions
U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
U.S. District Court Northern District of New York
U.S. District Court Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court Western District of New York

Education
Albany Law School of Union University, Albany, New York
J.D. – 1973
Law Review: Editorial Board of the Albany Law Review, Member

Union College, Schenectady, New York
B.A. – 1970
summa cum laude
Major: Economics

Professional Associations and Memberships
Dutchess County Planning Advisory Board, Member
New York State Bar Association, Member
Dutchess County Bar Association, Member
American Bar Association, Member

Gerard J. Comatos, Jr. - Van DeWater & Van DeWater - Poughkeepsie NY

Gerard J. Comatos, Jr. | Partner

Phone: 845-452-5900 | 800-817-2918
Fax: 845-452-5848
Email: Email Me

Gerard J. Comatos, Jr. graduated magna cum laude from Union College in 1975. He achieved the distinction of Research Editor of the New York University Review of Law & Social Change at the New York University School of Law, from which he graduated in 1978. Immediately following his graduation from law school, Mr. Comatos joined Van DeWater and Van DeWater LLP.

Mr. Comatos practices primarily in the areas of commercial transactions, real estate, secured transactions and enforcement of creditors’ rights. He has extensive experience in real estate acquisition, development and financing and represents numerous developers and lenders in this field, including The Community Preservation Corporation and M & T Bank. Mr. Comatos has also prepared condominium, homeowners’ association and cooperative offering plans for developers.

Significantly experienced in the area of municipal law, he has represented the Arlington Fire District since 1981. He also currently represents the Fire Districts of Beekman, North Highlands, and Philipstown.

In addition, he handles financial matters for a number of Hudson Valley Towns and Fire Districts.

Practices Areas
Corporate Law | Business Transactions | Creditors’ Rights | Real Estate | Municipal Law

Bar Admissions
New York, 1979

Education
New York University School of Law, New York, New York
J.D. – 1978
Law Review: New York University Review of Law & Social Change, Research Editor

Union College, Schenectady, New York
B.A. magna cum laude – 1975

Kyle W. Barnett - Van DeWater & Van DeWater - Poughkeepsie NY

Kyle W. Barnett | Partner

Phone: 845-452-5900 | 800-817-2918
Fax: 845-452-5848
Email: Email Me

Mr. Barnett has more than 16 years of extensive trial experience. Mr. Barnett’s practice focuses on litigation with an emphasis on matrimonial and family law, real property tax challenges (tax certiorari), criminal defense, personal injury and construction disputes.

Mr. Barnett is also an accomplished matrimonial and family law trial attorney who has appeared in courts throughout the State and has tried cases involving custody, distribution of property, (including high net worth and complex assets), support and enforcement of court orders.

In the area of tax certiorari Mr. Barnett has experience with just about every type of property available. A skilled tax certiorari trial attorney, he has not only tried tax certiorari matters for private commercial properties but also represents several municipalities as tax counsel. If your property taxes are too high because of an over assessment or denied exemption, Mr. Barnett will be able to guide you through the legal process to get your assessment corrected.

As a former prosecutor, Mr. Barnett knows what to look for when representing someone accused of a crime or driving while intoxicated. He served in the felony bureau as Senior Assistant District Attorney in Dutchess County before coming to VanDeWater & VanDeWater, LLP. Mr. Barnett always prepares his cases for trial while trying to negotiate the best result possible for his client.

Mr. Barnett earned his Juris Doctor from Quinnipiac University School of Law, where he was a member of the Moot Court Honor Society, a finalist in the National Appellate Advocacy Competition, received a distinguished academic achievement award, and was awarded a financial scholarship from his law school for demonstrating excellent potential in the field of litigation. He is a past president of the Dutchess County Bar Association, a member of the Esopus Business Alliance, and presently serves on the Town Board for the Town of Esopus as Councilman. Mr. Barnett also served as an adjunct professor at Marist College in the area of Civil Litigation and Administrative Law.

Represented clients include Towns of Poughkeepsie, Fishkill, LaGrange, Washington, Ulster, Kingston, Shandaken, the Cities of Kingston and Poughkeepsie, the Village of Millbrook, and the Pearl River School District.

He is admitted to practice in the New York State Courts, Southern and Eastern Federal District Courts.

Practices Areas
Litigation | Criminal Law | Municipal Law | Matrimonial Law

Bar Admissions
New York
U.S. District Court Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York

Education
Quinnipiac University School of Law, Hamden, Connecticut
J.D. – 1996
Honors: Member, Moot Court Honor Society
Honors: Finalist in the National Appellate Advocacy Competition
Honors: Academic Achievement Award
Honors: Financial Scholarship for Demonstrating Excellent Potential in the Field of Litigation

Richard Stockton College, New Jersey
B.A.
Major: Political Science

Classes/Seminars
Adjunct Professor, Civil Litigation and Administrative Law, Marist College

Professional Associations and Memberships
American Bar Association, Member
New York State Bar Association, Member
Dutchess County Bar Association, President, 2005 – 2006

Daniel F. Thomas III - Van DeWater & Van DeWater - Poughkeepsie NY

Daniel F. Thomas III | Partner

Phone: 845-452-5900 | 800-817-2918
Fax: 845-452-5848
Email: Email Me

Mr. Thomas is a Hudson Valley native who, as a partner of the firm, specializes in all aspects of commercial and residential real estate law, real estate finance, secured transactions, corporate and general business law. A significant part of Mr. Thomas’s practice involves the representation of commercial lending institutions and corporate borrowers in real estate acquisition and construction loans, re-financings and workouts, asset-based and working capital financings, CIRA and U.S. Small Business Association Section 7(a) and 504 loans. Mr. Thomas’s practice regularly involves representing individuals in the formation of business entities as well as the acquisition and sale of assets, stock and other ownerships interests in such entities. He is also well-versed in the acquisition, disposition and leasing of both commercial and residential real property.

Mr. Thomas graduated from Bucknell University with a dual B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology and from New York University with a M.A. in World History (with an area of focus in early American legal history). In 2007, he received his Juris Doctor degree from Albany Law School, where he was a senior editor of the Albany Law Review, a member of the Justinian Society and the recipient of the Dean Sponsler Honor’s Teaching Fellowship. While in law school, Mr. Thomas published a law review article, entitled Necessary Protection: An Examination of the State Farm v. Campbell Standards Test and Why Economically Efficient Rules Do Not Work at the Intersection Between Due Process and Punitive Damages, 70 ALB. L. REV. 367 (2006).

Immediately upon graduating from law school, Mr. Thomas joined the New York City office of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, where, as an associate, he specialized in real estate fund formation and investment and commercial real estate financing (including senior and subordinate facilities, construction loans, mezzanine loans, revolving facilities and credit-backed bond financings, particularly with respect to low income housing tax credits). After leaving Jones Day, and immediately prior to joining Van DeWater and Van DeWater, Mr. Thomas worked in-house, providing legal and business services to a start-up company specializing in the distribution and installation of modular in-plant offices and other commercial pre-fabricated structures throughout the U.S.

Practices Areas
Commercial Real Estate (including acquisitions and dispositions, leasing and subleasing, investment, financing and development) | Commercial Transactions | Business and Corporate Law (including entity formation and structuring, purchase and sales and contract negotiation) | Residential Real Estate

Bar Admissions
New York, 2008

Education
Albany Law School of Union University, Albany, New York
J.D., 2007; magna cum laude; Law Review Senior Editor

New York University
M.A. (World History), 2013

Bucknell University
B.A. (Philosophy and Psychology), 2002; cum laude

Representative Matters
Regularly represents large U.S. based-banks in various secured lending transactions of all sizes, including with respect to real estate acquisition and development, cash out financing, revolving credit facilities and U.S. Small Business Association Section 7(a) and 504 loans.

Represented regional building materials supplier in the sale of a forty-nine percent (49%) interest in a joint venture to the majority interest holder.
Represented target accounting firms, veterinary practices and other corporate entities in the sale of each respective business (including stock and assets sales).

Represented not-for-profit educational institution in $18,000,000 acquisition of local historical site subject to various conservation easements and other restrictions.

Represented sophisticated clients in commercial leasing and subleasing matters, including, but not limited to franchisee tenants in large shopping center leases; triple net leases and ground leases.

Formed various business entities (including, but not limited to, limited liability companies, S and C Corporations, not-for-profit corporations and professional service corporations, for various business purposes, including as (i) real estate holding companies, (ii) medical practices, (iii) marriage and family therapy practices and (iv) educational not-for-profits.
Regularly represent individuals in all manner of residential real estate transactions.

Publications
An Examination of the State Farm v. Campbell Standards Test and Why Economically Efficient Rules Do Not Work at the Intersection Between Due Process and Punitive Damages, 70 ALB. L. REV. 367 (2006)

Professional Associations and Memberships
New York State Bar Association
Dutchess County Bar Association
Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union – Supervisory Committee

John K. Gifford - Van DeWater & Van DeWater - Poughkeepsie NY

John K. Gifford | Counsel

Phone: 845-452-5900 | 800-817-2918
Fax: 845-452-5848
Email: Email Me

John Gifford’s experience in the planning and administration of estates and trusts extends over forty years. Having been the attorney for the Town of Washington and all of its boards for over twenty-five years, he is equally experienced in all areas of municipal law, from attending and advising the Town Board at its monthly meetings to giving legal advice to the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals. In addition, he has extensive experience in drafting local laws, environmental issues, and planning and zoning problems.

Having been involved in virtually every aspect of commercial and residential lending, Mr. Gifford has served as general counsel in the field of banking law for the past twenty-eight years. He has also served as general counsel to the Town of Carmel Industrial Development Agency.

A graduate of St. Lawrence University in 1967, Mr. Gifford earned his degree in law from New York Law School in 1970, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review. First associated with the prominent New York law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom from 1970 to 1973, he has been with Van DeWater and Van DeWater LLP since 1973.

Mr. Gifford lectures regularly on corporate law and estate planning for various organizations, including the New York State Bar Association.

He is admitted to practice in all the courts of the State of New York, the federal courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Practices Areas
Estates & Trusts | Municipal Law | Corporate & Banking Law

Bar Admissions
New York, 1971
U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court Northern District of New York
U.S. District Court Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court Western District of New York
U.S. Supreme Court

Education
New York Law School, New York, New York
LL.B. – 1970

St Lawrence University, Canton, New York
A.B. – 1967

Representative Matters
Regularly represents large U.S. based-banks in various secured lending transactions of all sizes, including with respect to real estate acquisition and development, cash out financing, revolving credit facilities and U.S. Small Business Association Section 7(a) and 504 loans.

Represented regional building materials supplier in the sale of a forty-nine percent (49%) interest in a joint venture to the majority interest holder.
Represented target accounting firms, veterinary practices and other corporate entities in the sale of each respective business (including stock and assets sales).

Represented not-for-profit educational institution in $18,000,000 acquisition of local historical site subject to various conservation easements and other restrictions.

Represented sophisticated clients in commercial leasing and subleasing matters, including, but not limited to franchisee tenants in large shopping center leases; triple net leases and ground leases.

Formed various business entities (including, but not limited to, limited liability companies, S and C Corporations, not-for-profit corporations and professional service corporations, for various business purposes, including as (i) real estate holding companies, (ii) medical practices, (iii) marriage and family therapy practices and (iv) educational not-for-profits.
Regularly represent individuals in all manner of residential real estate transactions.

Publications
An Examination of the State Farm v. Campbell Standards Test and Why Economically Efficient Rules Do Not Work at the Intersection Between Due Process and Punitive Damages, 70 ALB. L. REV. 367 (2006)

Professional Associations and Memberships
American Bar Association, Member
New York State Bar Association, Member
Dutchess County Bar Association, Former President, 1989 – 1990
Dutchess County Bar Association, Member
Town of Washington, Town Attorney

Jeffrey S. Battistoni - Van DeWater & Van DeWater - Poughkeepsie NY

Jeffrey S. Battistoni | Counsel

Phone: 845-452-5900 | 800-817-2918
Fax: 845-452-5848
Email: Email Me

Mr. Battistoni was born in Poughkeepsie and now resides in the Town of Pleasant Valley with his wife, Christi. They have four children. He was an associate at Guernsey, Butts & Walsh in Poughkeepsie for over four years before opening his own practice in November of 1990. He was a partner in Battistoni & MacKenzie for five years and has joined Van De Water and Van De Water, LLP as counsel.

He is currently the President – elect of the Dutchess County Bar Association and also serves on the Board of Directors of Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union. He is the President of the Pleasant Valley United Soccer Club, Inc. and has coached the Pleasant Valley Cobras since 2007. The Cobras are currently a BU18 premier elite team and play in leagues and tournaments throughout the east coast.

He served as Supervisor of the Town of Pleasant Valley from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2007 and as a councilman from January, 1997 through December 31, 2005. Prior to that, he served as chairman of the Pleasant Valley Planning Board for six years and as chairman of the Comprehensive Plan Committee for three years.

He is a former President and Vice-President of the Board of Directors of ARC, DC.

Practices Areas
Estate Planning & Administration | Elder Law | Matrimonial & Family Law | Real Estate | Municipal Law

Bar Admissions
New York, 1985

Education
Albany Law School of Union University, Albany, New York
J.D., 1985

Siena College
B.A., 1981
magna cum laude

Professional Associations and Memberships
New York State Bar Association
Dutchess County Bar Association

Janis G. Anderson - Van DeWater & Van DeWater - Poughkeepsie NY

Janis G. Anderson | Counsel

Phone: 845-452-5900 | 800-817-2918
Fax: 845-452-5848
Email: Email Me

A native of Peekskill, Janis works with municipalities, not-for-profits, and employers. She prides herself on providing a high level of personal service, prompt and timely responses, and attention to her clients.

Practices Areas
Municipal Law | Land Use | Zoning | Planning

Education
Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, Georgia
J.D., 1997

Yale University
B.A., 1990

Professional Associations and Memberships
Mid Hudson Women’s Bar Association (President 2004-2006)
Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (Board Member 2004-2006)
Dutchess County Bar Association

Rebecca Supple Mensch, Esq. - Van DeWater & Van DeWater - Poughkeepsie NY

Rebecca Supple Mensch, Esq. | Associate

Phone: 845-452-5900 | 800-817-2918
Fax: 845-452-5848
Email: Email Me

A native of Beacon, New York, Ms. Mensch is an associate of the firm who specializes in Estate Administration and Planning as well as residential Real Estate.

Ms. Mensch graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in Classics in 1988. She received her law degree from Albany Law School of Union University in 1991.

Ms. Mensch began practicing law with Van DeWater & Van DeWater LLC in 1992. In addition, she temporarily served as Confidential Law Secretary to the Honorable Judith A. Hillery, Dutchess County Supreme Court in 1992. She was appointed Assistant City Judge for the City of Beacon in 2001 and thereafter left the firm to focus on raising her three boys. She has continuously served the City of Beacon in her capacity as City Judge, and was recently reappointed through 2023. Ms. Mensch returned to Van DeWater & Van DeWater in January 2017 as an associate attorney.

Ms. Mensch is a past Treasurer and President of the Mid-Hudson Women’s Bar Association. She previously served on the Zoning Board of the City of Beacon.

Practices Areas
Estate Planning | Estate Administration | Residential Real Estate

Bar Admissions
New York, 1992
Connecticut, 1991

Education
Albany Law School of Union University, 1991
Vassar College, 1988

Professional Associations and Memberships
New York State Bar Association
Dutchess County Bar Association
Mid-Hudson Women’s Bar Association

Danielle E. Strauch - Van DeWater & Van DeWater - Poughkeepsie NY

Danielle E. Strauch | Associate

Phone: 845-452-5900 | 800-817-2918
Fax: 845-452-5848
Email: Email Me

Upon graduating from law school, Danielle joined a small Poughkeepsie law firm and commenced her legal career by practicing a wide range of civil litigation services, including family and real estate law in the Hudson Valley and Westchester counties (2012-2015).

In July of 2015, Danielle opened her own law office in Poughkeepsie, New York and offered her clients expertise with real estate law, family law including but not limited to matrimonial, custody and child support proceedings, contract law and other civil litigation matters.

In May of 2016, Danielle joined Van De Water & Van De Water, LLP where she continues to specialize in the practice of civil litigation, family law and residential real estate transactions.

In 2007, Danielle graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a B.A. in Government. In 2011, she received her Juris Doctor degree from Widener University School of Law, where she was the Assistant Editor In Chief of the Widener University Journal of Law, Economics & Race and a recipient of Dean’s List and Pro Bono Distinction honors. Danielle also served as a judicial clerk for the Delaware Department of Justice; a judicial extern in the Delaware Court of Common Pleas; participated in the Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Law Clinic and interned with the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center.

Danielle is the VP for the MHWBA for 2018-19, and the 2018-2019 WBASNY Fundraising Committee Co-Chair.

Practices Areas
Matrimonial Law (including resolution of divorce actions; custody and child support disputes; separation and prenuptial agreements) | Civil Litigation | Residential Real Estate (including representation of lending institutions and clients purchasing or selling real property)

Bar Admissions
New Jersey, 2011
New York, 2012
U.S. District Court Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York

Education
Widener University School of Law, Wilmington, Delaware
J.D. – 2011
Dean’s List and Pro Bono Distinction
Law Review Assistant Editor In Chief

Franklin & Marshall College
B.A. (Government), 2007
Dean’s List
Presidential Scholar

Professional Associations and Memberships
New York State Bar Association, Member
Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York – Mid Hudson Chapter, President 2016-2017 and Vice President 2015-2016 & 2017-2018, Co-Chair Fundraising Committee 2019-2020
Mid-Hudson Women’s Bar Association, Membership Director 2019-2020
Dutchess County Bar Association, Member
Junior League of Poughkeepsie, President-Elect 2017-2018 & 2018-2019, President 2019-2020