Brian is a co-founder of the firm and has spent more than a decade focusing his practice on representing the interests of Vermont municipalities. In that time, he has served Vermont’s largest and smallest municipalities, and many in between. He has a wide range of experience in litigating contested matters before boards, commissions, and courts, and advising municipalities, corporations, and individuals in land use matters, constitutional claims, and employment disputes. He continues to focus his practice primarily on Vermont cities, towns, villages, and other municipal entities.
Brian approaches each matter he works on with a comprehensive understanding of the landscape, combining his understanding of government and business with a healthy dose of pragmatism. In his time working for local governments, he has come to understand that the typical Vermont municipality has a broad spectrum of issues to contend with, from procuring the rights for a new bike path, to dealing with a difficult employment matter, to defending the actions of the municipality in a court of law. He understands the dynamics of local governing bodies and the realities of local government, and uses this understanding to help his municipal clients achieve their goals.
In addition to his work for local governments, Brian devotes much of his practice to helping small and medium-sized businesses navigate the complex issues of the workplace. He counsels management in preventing legal claims before they become issues, by drafting effective workplace policies and providing a guiding hand to employers as they work through hiring, leave issues, and the challenges of separation from employment.
Local bar associations and trade organizations frequently call upon Brian to present on issues of current interest to their members, including discussions on effective tax appeals, current issues in environmental law, liability issues for purchasers of contaminated properties, and the state of the law on real property covenants and restrictions.
Brian honed his skills as a law clerk at the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, in Montpelier. Upon graduation from law school, he became a staff attorney at the League, and worked there until entering private practice in 2006. Following his time at the League, he worked as a litigation attorney at another prominent Burlington municipal law firm. In 2008, Brian and a former law partner formed Walsh & Monaghan, LLP. Upon Mr. Walsh’s appointment in 2011 to the Environmental Division of the Vermont Judiciary, the firm became Monaghan Safar Dwight PLLC, then Monaghan Safar Ducham PLLC and is now known as Monaghan Safar PLLC.
Brian is a devoted husband and father of two. He lives in Williston, and enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, and spending time with his family.
Examples of Brian's Work
- Obtained favorable ruling at trial for municipality in water trespass and takings claim
- Obtained favorable settlement in breach of contract subrogation case where contractor and subcontractor damaged homeowner waterlines.
- Represented municipal seller in conveyance of historic properties to logistics and shipping concern.
- Represented municipal seller in conveyance of industrial park property for compressed natural gas facility.
- Obtained favorable settlement for municipality in claimed slip and fall
- Represented one of Vermont’s largest municipalities in supporting real property reappraisal; including administrative appeals in Superior Court, before Vermont State Appraiser, and Vermont Supreme Court.
- Obtained favorable ruling from Vermont Supreme Court for one of Vermont’s largest municipalities in precedent-setting tax appeal.
- Obtained favorable ruling in U.S. District Court where plaintiff alleged municipality violated plaintiff’s rights to Due Process under United States Constitution.
- Obtained favorable ruling from Vermont Supreme Court that Vermont municipality was entitled to require utility franchisees to install electric and cable lines underground, to assist in promoting economic development.
- Vermont Law School
- Castleton State College
Bachelor of Science
Areas of Practice
- Civil litigation – employment, civil rights, insurance coverage and defense
- Human Resources and Employment
- Local Governments
- Commercial Real Estate and Financing
- Northwest Regional Planning Commission Brownfields Commission, Commission Member
- Easement Amendment Working Group, Vermont Legislative Study Committee, 2012
- Vermont Bar Association, Chair, Municipal Law Section, 2012-
- Leadership Development Northwest, Committee Member
Town’s appraisal authority to appraise camps on leased land at fair market value upheld.
Authority of City of Burlington to require underground relocation of utility poles upheld.
Department of Taxes’ methodology upheld.
Established primacy of municipal charter.
Employee’s claim for asbestosis denied under Occupational Disease Act.
Affirmation of tax appeal.
Motion to dismiss granted as to defendants’ request for dismissal from civil rights claim.
Partial dismissal of defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings.
Dismissal of Town of Newfane from civil rights claim.