New York State Legislature Rolls Back Exorbitant Tobacco Registration Fees Saving Retailers Millions in Fees

The new state budget adopted by Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature rolls back the exorbitant tobacco registration fee hike enacted in 2009 to $300 per location. Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana LLP (the Firm), represents the Plaintiff trade associations and their approximately 10,000 members in an action that successfully stayed the implementation of the 2009 fee schedule for nearly two years. Andrew E. Curto, the lead litigator on this case, obtained two injunctions on behalf of the plaintiffs and all tobacco retailers statewide. The 2009 statute raised the flat fee from $100 per location to $1,000, $2,500 or $5,000, based on the total gross sales of a retailer. The Firm’s success in court stayed the fee at $100 pending a determination of the constitutionality of the statute.

Given that the 2009 statute has been repealed and a new $300 flat fee has been set, the ultimate goal of all the plaintiffs in the litigation has been satisfied — they were shielded from having to pay millions of dollars in unconstitutional fees, which in some cases were as high as $5000 per store. The statute had a disparate impact on similarly situated tobacco retailers as the amount of the fee was to be calculated based upon the sale of all products, not just tobacco products. In application, the statute would have had a devastating impact, potentially forcing an estimated 40 percent of the state’s tobacco retailers out of the tobacco trade.

Andrew E. Curto, Esq. concentrates his practice in complicated commercial and employment litigation. Prior to joining the firm in 1999, Mr. Curto was a partner in a Melville, New York law firm. He routinely litigates claims in both federal and state courts in a wide variety of commercial claims, such as corporate dissolution and derivative actions, contract and real estate disputes, employment and discrimination claims, estate litigations, regulatory claims and compliance issues arising out of municipal zoning and code enforcement proceedings.

Andrea Tsoukalas, Esq. concentrates her practice in zoning, land use, environmental and municipal law matters. Ms. Tsoukalas represents a wide variety of clients including national corporate chains, local developers and small business owners in the development of commercial and residential properties. Ms. Tsoukalas also has extensive experience in appellate practice and civil litigation. Ms. Tsoukalas is General Counsel to the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association (LIGRA).

Richard Goldberg, Esq. concentrates his practice in pre-litigation counseling, strategic planning and complex real estate, commercial, business organization, construction and foreclosure litigation.

Barry Feldman, Esq. concentrates his practice in tax litigation, estate and tax planning, as well as estate administration.

Danielle Gatto, Esq. concentrates her practice in the areas of litigation, bankruptcy and insolvency, and employment and labor.

Founded in 1976, Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana LLP is one of Long Island’s most acclaimed and distinguished law firms. Headquartered in Uniondale, NY, the Firm is conveniently located for clients in Nassau and Suffolk. The Firm employs nearly 50 attorneys who provide counsel to a broad range of clients, including national, regional and local businesses, major real estate developers and organizations, banks, insurance companies, municipalities, educational institutions, and individuals. Personal attention and quality representation that is both practical and cost-effective are hallmarks of the Firm’s policy towards clients.

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