Past News:

June 2020


 Link to Interview:

Nassau County Police Department Pattern of Discrimination in Issuance of Pistol Licenses As a Result of the Lack of the “Shall Issue” Home Premises Pistol License

Two cases are now pending in Federal Court, which challenge the discretionary standard for the issuance and revocation of pistol licenses by the Nassau County Police Department Pistol License Section.

The legal battle for recognition of the Second Amendment as an individual right post Heller v. District of Columbia continues for African Americans. In McDonald v. City of Chicago, which followed Heller, Mr. Otis McDonald, a child of sharecroppers went toe to toe with Mayor Richard Daley from 2008 until his landmark case went to the Supreme Court. He prevailed against decades of gun control in Chicago.

When interviewed later, Mr. McDonald felt strongly that he had a duty to stand up for the rights that had been taken away from African-Americans during slavery. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune after winning the suit, Mr. McDonald said the journey had been a lesson in history. He had come to understand more about his ancestors and the "slave codes" enacted in Southern states during the Civil War that prohibited slaves from owning guns. After slavery was abolished, states adopted "black codes" that kept guns out of the hands of freed blacks.

Mr. McDonald stated, "There was a wrong done a long time ago that dates back to slavery time," he said in the interview. "I could feel the spirit of those people running through me as I sat in the Supreme Court." (

It is significant that in the infamous U.S. Supreme Court case of Dred Scott v. Sandford, which many believe to be a principal cause of the civil war, Dred and his wife Harriet Scott tried for a decade to peacefully use the courts to effectuate their freedom from slavery. From 1846 to 1853 they prosecuted their case, appealed and finally went to the Supreme Court to seek justice. In its infamous decision upholding slavery, on March 6, 1857, the Supreme Court held that all people of African American descent, free or slave, were not United States citizens and had no right to sue in Federal Court. The Court feared that if African Americans were considered to be citizens, they should enjoy all of the Bill of Rights freedoms, including the right “to keep and carry arms wherever they went.” (Scott v. Sanford, 60 U.S. 393, 417 (1856))

In New York in 2020, the struggle for full empowerment of African Americans on the issue of the Second Amendment continues despite the Heller and McDonald decisions. In New York State, a vague “proper cause” standard exists for the issuance of full carry pistol licenses compared to the “shall issue” standard for pistols which are restricted to the home. The former places the burden on the applicant, the latter places the burden on the police to find a reason not to issue a license. Nassau County does not allow for the “shall issue” home premises license, so to obtain a license, the burden is on the applicant to prove themselves worthy. No other freedom in the Bill of Rights places the burden on the citizen to exercise the right. Even the City of New York allows for the “shall issue” home premises license.

There are two Federal cases brought by this law firm now pending which follow in the footsteps of Otis McDonald.   

Lambert Henry v. County of Nassau (Index No. 17-cv-06545 (DRH) (AKT) U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D.N.Y.)

Lambert Henry is a retired New York City Corrections Officer, Veteran and an African-American resident of Nassau County.

On October 20, 2014, Lambert Henry had a verbal argument with his daughter regarding her school grades. The following day, she commenced a Family Court action, which resulted in the issuance of an Ex Parte Temporary Order of Protection. The Family Court determined that the Ex Parte Order did not rise to such a level as to require seizure of Henry’s firearms. Disregarding the order, the Nassau County Sheriff entered Henry’s home and confiscated his firearms without legal authority. Later, the NCPD revoked Henry’s pistol license.   

On November 9, 2017, a Federal complaint was filed in the Eastern District of New York, alleging violations of Henry’s Second Amendment rights. It was discovered that Nassau County Pistol License Division had far lower number of legal pistol licenses per person in the minority communities of Nassau County than adjoining white communities.  (See Long Island Herald, “Getting to know Nassau’s Legal Gun Owners”  May 31, 2018,103588)

The County went on to admit it had modified its policy to revoke all firearms rights  upon a loss of a pistol license under the SAFE Act.  Even with this admission, the lower court dismissed the case. The matter is now on appeal to the Second Circuit.

Russell Davenport v. County of Nassau (Index No. 2:19-cv-05097 (FB) (SMG) U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D.N.Y.)

Archbishop Russell Davenport is a retired Corrections Officer, Veteran and African-American resident of Nassau County. 

On January 13, 2017, at 4:20am, Archbishop Davenport was surprised by an intruder trespassing on his property in his yard. Davenport observed the individual peeking into the bedroom window where his grand-daughter was asleep. He approached the individual with his licensed Glock. A struggle ensued, and the firearm was accidentally discharged once into the ground, which caused the white intruder to lay on the ground.  When the Nassau County Police Department arrived, the white trespasser was allowed to leave the scene and instead, it was Archbishop Davenport who was arrested. Davenport successfully battled the criminal charges against him and on January 14, 2019 (two years later) all charges against Davenport were dismissed. Days later, the Nassau County Pistol License Division revoked Davenport’s firearms license anyway.

The class action lawsuit was filed on September 9, 2019, in Federal Court alleging claims for violation of Davenport’s Second Amendment rights, as well as a claim for racial discrimination against the minority community in the issuance of pistol licenses. Moreover, under the S.A.F.E. act, the county seeks to defend a policy to remove all firearms rights from anyone who has a revoked pistol license “at any time” disregarding the successful results in Criminal Court. A motion to dismiss was filed on February 13, 2020, and is currently pending.



The Bill of Rights is for every American to enjoy. Even after winning in the Supreme Court establishing an individual Second Amendment Right, New York State and local police officials are applying a discretionary “proper cause” standard with a discriminatory effect. Clearly change is required to the model of Police issuance of firearms in the County of Nassau. Nassau County must issue the home premises license under the “shall issue” standard to begin to have a more even representation of legal gun ownership in all communities.


May 2020

La Reddola, Lester & Associates recently represented two doctors, who were alleged to be investors in a corporation and were accused of diverting assets from one corporation to another in an attempt to defraud their investment partner. 
As the allegations against them were completely  false and without merit, our firm filed a motion to dismiss the complaint.  Hon. Joseph Farneti, J.S.C. found in favor of Defendants and dismissed the complaint in its entirely against Defendants.  (Rubenstein v. Bernardini, et al).


May 2020

In a recent favorable decision in Supreme Court, Bronx County wherein we represented a 50% owner in a  property in Bronx, New York.  The other 50% owner tried, through quitclaim deed, to transfer 100% of the property interest, to which she only owned 50%. 
Our clients moved the court to add, among other causes of action, fraudulent conveyance and preliminary injunction, enjoining defendants from terminating an existing tenancy at the property.
Hon. Wilma Guzman, J.S.C. granted Plaintiff both the ability to amend the complaint to add the fraudulent conveyance cause of action, as well as the preliminary injunction.
In addition, one of the defendants was ordered to pay plaintiff $77,545.50, as well as continuing to make all payments of taxes, water and insurance going forward at the property. (Randazzo v. Kovacevic, et al.)

September 2018

In a recent decision involving the New York Rising Program, the Court reversed a decision to deny a homeowners previously approved claim for damage to his home caused by Superstorm Sandy. 
    Petitioner’s State Historic Residence in Herkimer County experienced serious damage due to storm surge caused by Hurricane Sandy. Petitioner applied for assistance from New York Rising, which included funding for bulkhead repair along the Otsquago Creek.  New York Rising approved then denied the application based upon ever changing program deadlines and requirements.  The homeowner-petitioner hired La Reddola, Lester & Associates, LLP to file a CPLR Article 78 review of the denial.
    Hon. Charles C. Merrell, J.S.C. found that “Respondents’ determinations to terminate Petitioner’s appeal rights or right to seek an extension, without notice, to be arbitrary and capricious” and that “it cannot be said that Respondent followed its own policies in that the policies were either nonexistent . . . or constantly changing without adequate advance notice to applicants (e.g. permit deadlines and requests for deadline extensions)”.   The decision stated that judgment be entered in favor of homeowner-petitioner and that “Respondent is to provide funding for bulkhead repair/replacement as approved and permitted by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, subject to petitioner meeting all other deadlines set by Respondent. . .”
     Robert La Reddola, attorney for Petitioner stated, “This decision confirms the supremacy of the Administrative Review Process by the Courts and serves as a reminder that administrative agencies must follow their own policies and procedures to accomplish program goals, rather than set unreasonable burdens to frustrate homeowners”.   (Snyder v. New York Rising Housing Recovery Program)


October 2017 

The Firm obtained victory on a motion to dismiss under the doctrine of forum non conveniens.   The Court ruled that since all named parties were located in either the State of Florida or the Dominican Republic, and the the actions complained of occurred in either Florida or Dominican Republic, allowing this matter to proceed in New York would "unduly burden the New York Court when there is the availability of an alternative forum". Marggie Batista v. Nerquin Antigua, et al.

September 2017

LLA Wins Client Opportunity to Redeem Tax Lien and Recover Title to Valuable Commercial Property 

The Firm obtained a rare court victory that allowed its client to redeem a tax lien on a valuable commercial property after the issuance of a Treasurer’s Deed for the property to the tax lien purchaser.  The Firm obtained a preliminary injunction in March 2016 to prevent its client’s eviction from the property during the pendency of the lawsuit challenging the Treasurer’s Deed.  This allowed the Firm’s client to continue operating its gasoline service station and automobile repair business that it owned and operated at the property for over 25 years.  Once discovery was complete, the Firm’s client and the Treasurer’s Deed holder each moved for summary judgment.

The Court’s decision focused on the many vagaries contained in the Nassau County Administrative Code (NCAC) sections concerning tax lien procedures.  The Court stated: “Ironically, as a result of the thorough and well-researched legal arguments on both sides, the Court is left with more questions raised than answered.”  The Court proceeded to posit 17 questions left unanswered by the NCAC in its tax lien statute.  Thus, the Court decided that instead of “articulat[ing] new law on the novel facts of this case … the Court believes that it must be governed by principles of fairness and substantial justice.”  

Based on these principles, the Court determined that the Firm’s client had the superior right to derive the profit from the equity in the property and the long-standing business operated at the property.  The Court granted the Firm’s client’s motion to allow it to redeem the tax lien – even after issuance of the Treasurer’s Deed – within three months of the Court’s May 2017 order.  As a result of the Court’s decision, the Firm’s client has redeemed the tax lien, and title to the property has been returned to the Firm’s client.  

 Friday, July 28, 2017

Federal Appeals Court upholds decision against municipality for Fourteenth Amendment

due process violations for Unlawful Retention of Shotguns and Rifles.

            The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has just affirmed the decision of Judge Azrack requiring prompt return of firearms after dismissal of an ex parte, Temporary or Expired Order of Protection.  If the County of Nassau elects to continue to retain the firearms, they may do so only upon commencement of a civil forfeiture proceeding after the County has demonstrated a likelihood of success at a promptly held post deprivation hearing.  The burden is on the County and not the gun owner at such hearing.  See Panzella, 2015 WL 5607750 at *7; Razzano, 765 F. Supp. 2nd at 191.

            For decades under the prior unconstitutional “no return” policy, lawful gun owners in Nassau County had to sue the Nassau County Police Department or Nassau County Sherriff’s Department to have their confiscated firearms returned.  Firearms were being retained as a result of mistakes, discharged or withdrawn or expired Orders of Protection, or as in the case of Razzano, merely having his pistol license suspended.

            “The situation led to an outrageous result, where even if successful in opposing a Family Court Order of Protection brought during a divorce proceeding, the result was the same; confiscation of all firearms without return,” said Robert J. LaReddola, Esq., the attorney who successfully defended the appeal for his client Christine Panzella.  “An individual who could legally purchase a new firearm had to sue the County to have his or her property returned.”  The situation was an assault on the property rights of those involved in the Family Court system.  “This decision restores the rights of those affected.”

            The decision only affects those who could purchase a firearm lawfully.

            The decision ratifies the 2014 decision in Razzano v. County of Nassau in that it is now clear that the County must promptly return firearms upon expiration or dismissal of an order of protection or else promptly bring a forfeiture action against the individual. 

July 2017


Panzella v. Nassau County Sheriff

Nassau County's appeal of the United States District Court's order granting  Panzella an injunction that allows her a hearing to determine whether the County must return her longarms has been denied. See July Decision of United Court of Appeals

December 2016

The Firm challenged a recent resolution of the Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency to grant industrial development agency benefits under N.Y. General Municipal Law Article 18-A to a proposed 336 unit residential apartment complex.  The Article 78 proceeding was filed on behalf of six prominent Village of Hempstead residents on the ground that an industrial development agency does not have the legal authority under New York law to grant financial assistance to a residential apartment building project.  Steven M. Lester of the Firm stated: "This proceeding challenges the industrial development agencies' longstanding but unlawful practice of granting significant tax benefits to projects that do not further statute's objective of promoting commerce and industry, and creating jobs.  In fact, the specific project challenged here would grant the developer over $20 million in tax benefits for the creation of only 11 full-time jobs.  Neither the Village of Hempstead nor the Hempstead School District can afford such a large reduction in taxes for so little economic activity generated by the proposed residential apartment complex."  In the  Matter of Donald L. Ryan, et al. v. Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency, et al., Index No. 005324-2016 (Sup. Ct., Nassau).  (See Notice of Petition and Petition and Points of Law).

November 2016

On Saturday, November 12, 2016, Joseph F. Bilotto, Esq. of La Reddola, Lester & Associates, LLP attended the Flushing Immigration Fair at the Taiwan Center, located at 137-44 Northern Blvd., Flushing, New York.

New Tang Dynasty TV and The Epoch Times co-sponsored this event, which was attended by approximately 250 members of the local community.  The event was highly successful and the firm was able to connect with many individuals seeking legal representation in their business efforts in the Flushing community.  Visitors to LLA's table inquired about a wide range of matters, from business sales and asset management to real estate sales, leases and closings.  The full scope of the firm's services were advertised in both English and Chinese.  The firm has a history of representing businesses in the Flushing community.  Mr. Bilotto was able to address all questions through the use of a Chinese-language interpreter, who provided additional information about the firm and its services in the native language of the attendees.

La Reddola, Lester & Associates, LLP is greatly looking forward to working with its new friends and partners in the Flushing community and will be participating in similar events in different communities in the coming months.  Flushing is an up and coming neighborhood in Queens, and LLA is proud to be a part of that growth.


June 2016

Court denies Nassau County's Request for Reconsideration and Supports Prompt Return of Firearms: A decision came down today from Hon. Joan M. Azrack, U.S.D.J. in the matter of Christine Panzella v. County of Nassau, et al., denying Nassau County's  motion for reconsideration of the Court's August 26, 2015 Memorandum and Order for summary judgment, and supporting the prompt return of firearms where continued retention by Nassau County Sheriff is without any authority and County does not sue for forfeiture of the property.  Panzella v. County of Nassau.  The decision cited the cases of Krimstock v. Kelly and Razzano v. County of Nassau, another case by this firm.

March 2016

La Reddola Lester Obtains Preliminary Injunction Preventing Clients’ Eviction from Business Premises They Owned and Occupied for 25 Years Pending Resolution of Dispute over Validity of Treasurer’s Deed

The Firm’s clients were faced with imminent eviction and the loss of its gasoline service station business and the commercial property on which they owned and operated for 25 years after it lost the property to a Treasurer’s Deed for the failure to redeem a real estate tax lien.  In granting the Firm’s clients’ motion for a preliminary injunction to stay the eviction proceeding against them, the Court found that the “clearest factor in favor of Petitioners is the irreparable injury that will result to the gasoline and car repair business that has been built up over the years if Petitioners are evicted.”  On the Firm’s clients’ likelihood of success on the merits that two of the occupants of the property were not served with the notice to redeem the tax lien as required by law, the Court noted that the tax lien holder “admits that he did not serve [two property occupants], despite the requirement of Nassau County Administrative Code § 5-51.0(a) that “occupant(s)” be served.”  Konstantinos Paliogiannis, et al. v. Yousef Habibian, d/b/a Frontpage Investments, et al., Index No. 8931/2015 (Sup. Ct. Nassau).

January 2016

LLA  Preserves Client's Breach of Contract Claim Against Successor Corporate Entity:  The Firm's client was faced with a motion to dismiss its breach of contract claim based on an alleged general release and a claim that the Defendant was not the corporation that entered into the agreement with the Firm's client.  The Court denied Defendant's motion, holding that the release proffered by Defendant listed only four of 12 job sites at issue, and that the Defendant's website promoted that it had over 25 years; of experience, when Defendant claimed in its court papers that it was incorporated only three years ago.  DRDC, Inc. v. Canido Basonas Construction Corp., f/k/a Basonas Construction Corp., Index No. 60522/2015 (Sup. Ct. Nassau).

October 2015

In a fraudulent conveyance lawsuit involving the sale of a car wash business, the firm obtained a rare ex parte temporary restraining order to freeze Defendants’ bank accounts containing the fraudulently transferred funds.  Through relentless discovery and from a series of bank subpoenas, the firm was able to obtain the bank records proving the fraudulent conveyances at the outset of the lawsuit.  Once the Defendants’ bank accounts were restrained, the Defendants were forced to settle the law firm’s client’s claims on terms favorable to our client within three weeks of commencing the lawsuit.   Middle Country Autospa, LLC v. Keith Kaplan and Flossboy Detail, Inc., Index No. 006852-2015 (Sup. Ct. Nassau)

September 1, 2015

 New York Law Journal Article:

 August 2015

County ordered to commence, within 30 days, a due process hearing on the return of confiscated rifles and shotguns; burden is on the County and not on the gunowner.  See Panzella v. County of Nassau

August 2015

Reform to Anonymous 311: There is an effort to enact reform to the anonymous 311 complaint process in NYC to screen out repeated anonymous unfounded complaints. The Legislation is sponsored by Minority Leader Steven Matteo and deserves the support of both owners and builders. A location may be designated as "harassed" on the 311 database, if the property is the subject of three or more unfounded complaints in six months. This would assist the Building Department in accessing the merits of the complaint prior to assigning investigators, and would be a great help at OATH review. While 311 is the world all contractors now live in, it would be a help to recognize that some complaints can be misused to harass.

July 2015

Recently, New York State has released records to the FBI for inclusion in their National Instant Background Check System used for firearms purchases.  Numerous individuals had information that might be erroneous transmitted, and are now unable to purchase a firearm, shotgun or rifle.  There is a procedure to correct this information.  If you were affected by the release of records, please contact this firm to discuss your options.


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