Contact Information

email: bmonaghan@msdvt.com
phone: (802) 660-4735
LinkedIn: View LinkedIn Profile

Education

  • Vermont Law School
    Juris Doctor
  • Castleton State College
    Bachelor of Science

Practice Areas

Community Service

  • Northwest Regional Planning Commission Brownfields Commission, Commission Member
  • Easement Amendment Working Group, Vermont Legislative Study Committee, 2012
  • Vermont Bar Association, Chair, Municipal Law Section, 2012-
  • Leadership Development Northwest, Committee Member

Brian P. Monaghan

Brian is a co-founder of the firm and has spent more than a decade focusing his practice on representing the interests of Vermont municipalities.  In that time, he has served Vermont’s largest and smallest municipalities, and many in between.  He has a wide range of experience in litigating contested matters before boards, commissions, and courts, and advising municipalities, corporations, and individuals in land use matters, constitutional claims, and employment disputes.  He continues to focus his practice primarily on Vermont cities, towns, villages, and other municipal entities. 

Brian approaches each matter he works on with a comprehensive understanding of the landscape, combining his understanding of government and business with a healthy dose of pragmatism.  In his time working for local governments, he has come to understand that the typical Vermont municipality has a broad spectrum of issues to contend with, from procuring the rights for a new bike path, to dealing with a difficult employment matter, to defending the actions of the municipality in a court of law.  He understands the dynamics of local governing bodies and the realities of local government, and uses this understanding to help his municipal clients achieve their goals. 

In addition to his work for local governments, Brian devotes much of his practice to helping small and medium-sized businesses navigate the complex issues of the workplace.  He counsels management in preventing legal claims before they become issues, by drafting effective workplace policies and providing a guiding hand to employers as they work through hiring, leave issues, and the challenges of separation from employment.  

Local bar associations and trade organizations frequently call upon Brian to present on issues of current interest to their members, including discussions on effective tax appeals, current issues in environmental law, liability issues for purchasers of contaminated properties, and the state of the law on real property covenants and restrictions. 

Brian honed his skills as a law clerk at the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, in Montpelier.  Upon graduation from law school, he became a staff attorney at the League, and worked there until entering private practice in 2006.  Following his time at the League, he worked as a litigation attorney at another prominent Burlington municipal law firm.  In 2008, Brian and a former law partner formed Walsh & Monaghan, LLP.  Upon Mr. Walsh’s appointment in 2011 to the Environmental Division of the Vermont Judiciary, the firm became Monaghan Safar Dwight PLLC, and is now known as Monaghan Safar Ducham PLLC. 

Brian is a devoted husband and father of two.  He lives in Williston, and enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, and spending time with his family. 

Examples of Brian's Work

Local Governments

  • Obtained favorable ruling at trial for municipality in water trespass and takings claim
  • Obtained favorable settlement in breach of contract subrogation case where contractor and subcontractor damaged homeowner waterlines.
  • Represented municipal seller in conveyance of historic properties to logistics and shipping concern.
  • Represented municipal seller in conveyance of industrial park property for compressed natural gas facility.
  • Obtained favorable settlement for municipality in claimed slip and fall
  • Represented one of Vermont’s largest municipalities in supporting real property reappraisal; including administrative appeals in Superior Court, before Vermont State Appraiser, and Vermont Supreme Court.
  • Obtained favorable ruling from Vermont Supreme Court for one of Vermont’s largest municipalities in precedent-setting tax appeal.
  • Obtained favorable ruling in U.S. District Court where plaintiff alleged municipality violated plaintiff’s rights to Due Process under United States Constitution.
  • Obtained favorable ruling from Vermont Supreme Court that Vermont municipality was entitled to require utility franchisees to install electric and cable lines underground, to assist in promoting economic development.  

Land Use, Environmental and Energy

  • Obtained favorable ruling, after five day trial, for private developer from Environmental Division for planned unit development to construct industrial and light manufacturing facility in Chittenden County 
  • Represented consortium of electric utilities in negotiation of power purchase agreement and permitting process for renewable hydroelectric power.
  • Obtained favorable financial settlement for landowner where adjoining neighbor trespassed and cut or topped more than fifty trees to improve his view.
  • Represented purchaser of property for redevelopment after contamination by petroleum.
  • Represented consortium of eleven electric utilities in negotiation of power purchase agreement for stably-priced nuclear power.
  • Member of team assisting landowner in procuring Act 250, Agency of Natural Resources, and zoning permits for off-road driving school.

Employment

  • Represented municipal employer in negotiating law enforcement labor relations agreement
  • Conducted sexual harassment and racial discrimination investigations for higher learning institution
  • Obtained favorable arbitrator’s ruling for municipality in grievance concerning union benefits under collective bargaining agreement
  • Obtained favorable ruling for employer at Vermont Supreme Court that Occupational Disease Act precluded employee’s asbestos injury claim.
  • Provided ongoing employment counseling for leading Vermont medical device manufacturer.
  • Obtained favorable settlement for employer where employee alleged wrongful termination
  • Obtained financially favorable settlement on behalf of employer where plaintiff alleged wrongful termination on the basis of her gender.
  • Procured favorable settlement for employer where former employee alleged wrongful termination and libel.

Businesses

  • Represented professional services corporation in successful acquisition of competitor corporation.
  • Assisted leading provider of online human resource services in procuring service mark at United States Patent & Trade Office.
  • Served as purchaser’s counsel in acquisition of $19 million Class-A office space in Chittenden County.
  • Served as borrower’s counsel in $24.75 million bond financing for construction of renewable energy generation facility.
  • Served as borrower’s counsel in $6.7 million loan for construction of Class-A office space in Chittenden County. 
  • Represented seller in condominiumization and sales of units of landmark Burlington property.

Reported Cases

  • Lesage, McNeil and Mostrom v. Colchester, Marchelewicz v. Colchester, in re Colchester Leased Lands, 2013 VT 48 (Town’s appraisal authority to appraise camps on leased land at fair market value upheld)
  • City of Burlington v. Fairpoint Communications, 186 Vt. 332, 980 A.2d 226 (2009) (authority of City of Burlington to require underground relocation of utility poles upheld)
  • Town of Killington v. Department of Taxes, 176 Vt. 70, 838 A.2d 91 (2003) (Department of Taxes’ methodology upheld)
  • Town of Brattleboro v. Garfield, 180 Vt. 90, 904 A.2d 1157 (2006) (established primacy of municipal charter)
  • Stoll v. Burlington Electric Department, 186 Vt. 127, 977 A.2d 1282 (2009) (employee’s claim for asbestosis denied under Occupational Disease Act)
  • Petrie v. Town of Colchester, 2012 WL 7022069 (memorandum decision) (affirmation of tax appeal)
  • Shatney v. LaPorte, et. al, 2012 2923235 (motion to dismiss granted as to defendants’ request for dismissal from civil rights claim)
  • Wyatt v. City of Barre, et. al, 885 F.Supp.2d 682 (partial dismissal of defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings)
  • Chandler v. Sorrell, et. al, 2008 WL 2166058 (dismissal of Town of Newfane from civil rights claim)