Justin  Santagata, Esq.

Justin Santagata, Esq.

  • Contract Partner


Justin Santagata is a Contract Partner at DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole & Giblin, LLP in 2021. Mr. Santagata has substantial experience as lead counsel in complex commercial and civil litigation, including complaints in lieu of prerogative writs, civil rights actions, labor and employment law, administrative law, public entity defense, and corporate governance and shareholder disputes, particularly in federal court. Mr. Santagata has appeared and litigated in New Jersey state court and administrative tribunals, New York state court, the Federal District Court for New Jersey, the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the Federal Bankruptcy Court for New Jersey, and multiple arbitration forums. He has tried approximately 30 cases in these forums, including federal court and bankruptcy court.

Representative results for plaintiffs: nearly 2-million-dollar settlement in discrimination litigation; $318,00 settlement in unconstitutional search litigation; $350,000 and $320,000 settlements in hostile work environment litigation; $175,000 settlement in unconstitutional search litigation; $100,000 settlement in civil rights litigation; $83,000 settlement in wage/hour litigation; $600,000 settlement breach of contract litigation.

Mr. Santagata is involved in representation of government entities and employer-clients on a day-to-day basis, such as the Borough of Ringwood and the Borough of Paramus. This representation includes compliance with statutes on municipal government, labor and employment law, construction codes, and municipal prosecution, among other things. In addition, he advises corporate clients on corporate governance and shareholder disputes.

Mr. Santagata has extensive appellate experience, including 11 of 16 successful reversals as appellant, with 25 appeals total He has argued at New Jersey's Appellate Division, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. He has filed multiple petitions for certiorari with the United States Supreme Court and the New Jersey Supreme Court. Mr. Santagata's published or noteworthy decisions include:

Est. of Roman v. City of Newark, 914 F.3d 789 (3d Cir. 2018), cert. denied sub nom. Est. of Roman v. City of Newark, New Jersey, 140 S.Ct. 82 (2019), and cert. denied, 140 S.Ct. 97 (2019): pattern/practice liability against municipality

160 W. Broadway Assocs., LP v. 1 Mem'l Drive, LLC, 248 A.3d 404 (N.J. App. Div. 2021), cert. denied [citation pending]: successor liability requires transfer of substantially all assets

Richardson v. Coverall N. Am., Inc., 811 F.App'x 100 (3d Cir. 2020), cert. denied, 141 S.Ct. 1685 (2021): incorporation of arbitrability through procedural rules

Suratwala v. Gandhi, 2020 WL 2298665 (N.J. App. Div. May 8, 2020): fraud in the factum in arbitration clause under New York law

1 Mem'l Drive LLC v. 160 W. Broadway Assocs., LP, 2021 WL 3573800 (N.J. App. Div. Aug. 13, 2021): due process in land use procedure

Manhattan Trailer Park Homeowners Ass'n, Inc. v. Manhattan Trailer Ct. & Trailer Sales, Inc., 102 A.3d 1215 (N.J. App. Div. 2014): conversion of mobile home park

Wilkes v. Passaic Cty., 2016 WL 852602 (D.N.J. Mar. 4, 2016): disqualification of counsel for representing defendants and a material witness

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Santagata served as law clerk to the Honorable Valerie Armstrong, A.J.S.C, New Jersey Superior Court, Cape May/Atlantic County Vicinage (Atlantic City, New Jersey) and at Mooney Green Baker & Saindon LLP, a union-side labor law firm in Washington, D.C. He was awarded the Papps Labor Law Fellowship by Catholic University's Columbus School of Law.

In 2014, Mr. Santagata received his Master of Law from Cardozo School of Law in Litigation, Advocacy and Dispute resolution, where he participated in the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program.

Since 2015, Mr. Santagata has taught legal research and writing at Cardozo School of Law and in 2019 he began participating as an instructor at the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program.


  • Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, Washington, District of Columbia
    • J.D. - 2008
  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York, New York
    • LL.M.
  • George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia
    • B.A. - 2005
    • Major: English

Bar Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • New York, 2010
  • New Jersey, 2009
  • U.S. District Court District of New Jersey, 2009
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit

Practice Areas

  • Labor and Employment
  • Public Entity
  • Litigation

Representative Clients

  • Borough of Ringwood: day-to-day labor representation, defense of discrimination and wrongful termination cases, challenge to ballot petition
  • Borough of Paramus: defense of case under Federal Telecommunications Act in federal bench trial and defense of inverse condemnation and civil rights cases
  • Successful defeat of a bankruptcy plan of reorganization after a bench trial
  • Defense of alleged fraudulent transfers in a 3-week bench trial

Past Positions

  • Mooney, Green, Baker & Saindon, P.C., Law Clerk, 2007 to 2008
  • NJ Assignment Judge Valerie Armstrong (Atlantic County Vicinage), Law Clerk, 2008 to 2009


  • Papps Labor Law Fellowship (Catholic University), 2007

Professional Associations

  • New York State Bar Association
  • New Jersey State Bar Association
  • Third Circuit Pro Bono Counsel List