Attorneys

Thomas A. Abbate

Thomas A. Abbate

Equity Partner

AV Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence 2020

Biography

Thomas A. Abbate is a partner at DeCotiis. He joined DeCotiis in 2002 and became a partner in 2007. He is a member of the litigation practice group.

An experienced litigator who has spent the entirety of his legal career at DeCotiis, Mr. Abbate's practice focuses on complex civil and commercial litigation on behalf of both businesses and government entities at the trial and appellate levels of the state and federal courts.

Mr. Abbate has represented businesses in a diverse array of commercial litigation matters relating to health care licensing and regulation, administrative and regulatory law, land use and real estate, insurance coverage, pharmaceutical antitrust, intellectual property, commercial and contract disputes, among others. Representative matters include experience as the lead attorney in a multi-faceted and multi-forum "bet the company" litigation amongst a series of major health care institutions which resulted in the client successfully obtaining all of the approvals necessary to open a new 128-bed acute care hospital in Westwood, New Jersey, the first such approval granted by the State Department of Health in decades.

Mr. Abbate also handles a variety of litigation matters on behalf of state and local government entities, and in this capacity also has experience working with numerous joint insurance funds and insurance carriers. He has particular experience in litigation matters relating to public entity governance, procurement and public records access, regulatory law, prerogative writ and challenges to governmental authority, labor and employment litigation, civil rights, First Amendment and constitutional law, construction litigation, law enforcement liability and excessive force, environmental litigation, legal ethics, public officials' ethics and conflict of interest law, education law and insurance coverage.

Representative public entity matters include a complex environmental litigation arising under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Mr. Abbate successfully brought to a conclusion, on summary judgment, a suit of first impression and of national import that was brought against a state transportation agency. Plaintiffs sought to advance a novel claim of liability premised upon an interpretation of federal law which would have potentially exposed the State to tens of millions of dollars in future environmental compliance costs. The federal court found that the claims had no merit, and dismissed the case.

Mr. Abbate is also an experienced appellate litigator and his practice has a particular emphasis on preparing and arguing appeals on behalf of the firm's institutional and public entity clients. He has appeared in the appellate courts numerous times, and some representative cases include:

Representative Cases:

I/M/O Certificate of Need for HUMC North Hospital, 2012 WL 6012808 (App. Div. 2012) (rejecting, in its entirety, legal challenges brought by business competitors to a certificate of need granted to HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley Hospital to open a 128-bed acute care hospital, the first such approval for a new hospital in many years).

Ciesla v. Department of Health & Senior Services, 429 N.J. Super. 127 (App. Div. 2012) (holding that draft evaluation reports prepared by Department of Health staff evaluating the certificate of need application of HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley Hospital are unqualifiedly protected by the deliberative process privilege).

Borough of Sayreville v. 35 Club, LLC, 208 N.J. 491 (2012) (holding that the First Amendment is not violated by a New Jersey municipality's identification of reasonable alternative sites, located in the State of New York, within which an unlawful sexually-oriented business might relocate if ordered to cease operation).

I/M/O Xanadu Project at the Meadowlands Complex, 415 N.J. Super. 179 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 205 N.J. 96 (2010) (holding that a private redevelopment project on property ground leased from a state agency is within the regulatory eligibility criteria for special State-issued liquor licenses).

In re Zisa, 385 N.J. Super. 188 (App. Div. 2006) (holding that a municipal official was entitled to rely in good faith upon the advice of his municipal attorney as a complete defense to an ethics complaint).

Luskey v. Carteret Board of Education, 459 N.J. Super. 150 (App. Div.), certif. denied 239 N.J. 489 (2019) (affirming the dismissal of a school district employee's complaint seeking to set aside an arbitration award granting his discharge on jurisdictional grounds, and holding that a contractual promise to grant statutory tenure required any subsequent revocation proceeding to be brought before an arbitrator appointed by the Commissioner of Education, rather than the Public Employment Relations Commission).

Mr. Abbate received a B.A. in Music with honors from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami in 1999. He received his J.D. from the Fordham University School of Law in 2002, where he was on the staff of the Fordham Urban Law Journal and a Legal Writing Teaching Assistant. Mr. Abbate is a New Jersey native. As a result of his life-long love of the performing arts and music, Mr. Abbate maintains an active performance schedule, including with the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra and the New Jersey Wind Symphony, where he also serves on the Board of Trustees.

Education

  • Fordham University School of Law, New York, New York
    • J.D. - 2002
    • Honors: Legal Writing Teaching Assistant
  • Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida
    • B.A. - 1999
    • Honors: With Honors
    • Major: Music

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey, 2002
  • U.S. District Court District of New Jersey, 2002
  • New York, 2003
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit, 2007
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2009

Practice Areas

  • Civil and Commercial Litigation

Representative Cases

  • I/M/O Certificate of Need for HUMC North Hospital, Docket No. A-3155-11T1 (App. Div.), 2012
  • Ciesla v. Department of Health & Senior Services, N.J. Super (App. Div.), 2012
  • Borough of Sayreville v. 35 Club, LLC, 208 N.J. 491, 2012
  • I/M/O Xanadu Project at the Meadowlands Complex, 415 N.J. Super. 179 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 205 N.J. 96, 2010
  • In re Zisa, 385 N.J. Super. 188 (App. Div.), 2006

Professional Associations

  • Litigation and Municipal Law Practice Group, Member