Justin D. Santagata, Esq., LLM

Justin Santagata, Esq. became a partner at Kaufman Semeraro & Leibman, LLP in 2019. 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, and the Federal Bankruptcy Court for New Jersey. He has tried approximately 20 cases in these forums, including federal court and bankruptcy court.

Representative results: nearly 2 million dollar settlement for plaintiffs in discrimination litigation; $100,000 settlement for a plaintiff in civil rights litigation; $83,000 settlement for the plaintiffs in wage/hour litigation; $600,000 settlement for a plaintiff in contract litigation; and $50,000 settlement for the plaintiff in discrimination 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 and has negotiated a unique fiber optic lease with the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey on behalf of a corporate client.

Mr. Santagata has extensive appellate experience. He has argued at New Jersey’s Appellate Division, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. He has been lead counsel in over fifteen appeals at New Jersey’s Appellate Division and Supreme Court (petition only), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals (four appeals), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (one appeal), and the United States Supreme Court (petitions only).

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 Masters 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.

Bar Admissions

  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • New York/New Jersey
  • Federal District of New Jersey
  • Southern District of New York
  • Eastern District of New York
  • Third Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Second Circuit Court of Appeals


  • LL.M., Cardozo School of Law, New York, New York
  • J.D., Catholic University, Washington, DC
  • B.A., English, George Washington University, Washington, DC

Representative Clients and Cases

  • 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, 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
  • Negotiation of 20-year fiber optic lease with the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey

Professional Associations

  • New York State Bar Association
  • New Jersey State Bar Association
  • Third Circuit Pro Bono Counsel List
Kaufman, Semeraro and Leibman, LLP