Daniel E. Casagrande- Partner
Dan Casagrande has been in private practice in Connecticut since 1986. Casagrande has served as an outside Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Danbury from 1990 through present. He served as Town Attorney for the Town of New Milford in the years 1987-1989 and 1991-1995, and as Town Attorney for New Fairfield from 1998 through 2005.
Casagrande has been retained to represent Connecticut towns and land use agencies in specialized assignments, such as charter revisions, affordable housing appeals, construction projects and disputes, and high-exposure tax assessment appeals. Towns that have retained him on special counsel assignments include Ridgefield, Middlebury, Southbury, New Milford, Waterford, Cheshire, Bethany, Waterford and Beacon Falls.
His municipal work has included drafting public works construction contracts and redevelopment contracts, and representation in court in a wide variety of cases, including land use appeals, construction claims, takings disputes, condemnations, assessment appeals, and tax foreclosures. He was lead counsel for Danbury in a multi-million dollar construction claim brought by contractors working on the City’s landfill closure project, which recently settled on terms favorable to the City. Casagrande and his partners at Cramer & Anderson have tried, mediated, and arbitrated construction claims for both private and public clients.
Casagrande has extensive experience in property valuation issues, and has tried some of the most complicated property tax assessment appeals ever brought in Connecticut. In 1998, he defended the City of Danbury in an appeal by Union Carbide Corporation of the valuation for assessment purposes of its corporate world headquarters. The trial court upheld the city’s $307 million valuation after a 24-day trial, and he successfully argued the appeal of the decision before the Connecticut Supreme Court.
In 2007, he defended the Town of Waterford in its defense of an appeal by Dominium Nuclear Connecticut, Inc. of the Millstone nuclear power plant, believed to be the largest assessment appeal ever litigated in Connecticut. The trial court, in several decisions, upheld over 92 percent of the town’s valuation. Casagrande and his partners have extensive experience in litigating the valuation of other complex properties, such as nursing homes (CCRCs), manufacturing facilities, big box retail, and water utility properties.
Most recently, he successfully defended a defamation claim brought by a real estate developer who alleged that the defendant defamed him in a YouTube video when he criticized two affordable housing land use projects then pending before a local land use commission. These actions have become known as SLAPP suits – Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. The trial court granted summary judgment for his client and ruled that the statements in the video were not defamatory as a matter of law, and that they were in any event protected by the First Amendment’s Fair Comment Doctrine.
Casagrande served as president of the Connecticut Association of Municipal Attorneys from 2011 to 2013, and is an ex-officio member of its board. He has given numerous presentations at both the state and national levels on legal issues facing municipalities, including land use, tax appeals, FOI, and trials of complex valuation cases.