Tal Rappleyea

Municipal Law


About Tal Rappleyea

As a municipal lawyer, Tal Rappleyea gets asked this question all the time: What is a municipality?

A municipality is actually just a technical term for a county or city. Although municipalities are mainly responsible for creating their laws, they hire municipal lawyers that are responsible for enforcing those laws. Tal Rappleyea covers the following municipal law issues to reflect the needs of area residents:

  • Education policies, which governs the safety and standards of education in public schools, accommodating students with disabilities, and job security for teachers.
  • Property taxes, which outlines how taxed income from residents can be used to benefit the community.
  • Police power, which oversees how police officers monitor resident behavior.
  • Zoning, which determines how land in the municipality is used.

Some municipal lawyers work internally for one municipality, while others practice law individually for multiple municipalities. Tal practices law individually in his own private practice and serves several counties in the Albany metro area in New York state.

Tal Rappleyea was admitted to the New York State Bar Association in January 1989. This chapter of the bar association is actually the largest voluntary state bar organization in the nation with a membership of more than 74,000 lawyers. Tal is proud to be a member, considering former presidents Grover Cleveland and Chester A. Arthur were members of the New York State chapter as well.

With nearly three decades of experience and a Juris Doctorate from Hamline State University, Tal Rappleyea has explored municipal law in several roles as an attorney, ranging from positions as Attorney for the Town and Attorney for the Village of several municipalities. Currently, Tal is a solo practitioner in his own Law Offices of Tal G. Rappleyea in Valatie, New York and lists municipal law as one of his main concentrations.

Tal is a supporter the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials (NYCOM), which is an organization that trains municipal officials and operates as a general support group for municipal officials in each state. He is also very active in his community, as he is a member of the Capital District Trial Lawyers Association and holds a position in the County Bar Association of New York State.

Although Tal Rappleyea maintains an active lifestyle by volunteering in his community and maintaining memberships in his field of practice, he still makes time for one of his pastimes, golf, by on the range.

  • “Deal of the Year” Award from the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY)
  • Named one of the three new inductees to the Ethics Committee of REBNY
  • Named to the Executive Board of New York Residential Specialists (NYRS).
What Are Common Reasons for Towns to Get Sued?

What Are Common Reasons for Towns to Get Sued?

Communities get sued just like any other business entity, as there is no particular designation of immunity for a town only because they are authorized to form a government. All community governments are responsible to its residents regarding standard safety and reasonable duty of care that is consistent with civil law precedent. However, there are some instances where cities are sued similarly to a company and other times when they may be sued based on overuse of governmental authority or failure to perform a particular act.

Personal Injury

The first and most apparent legal action against a city is usually for personal injury. Injuries can occur in many ways such as public transportation auto accidents and slip-and-fall incidents when a property is not adequately maintained. Many cities even have a designated policy regarding the handling of injury claims, which sometimes can shorten the time a claimant has to submit a filing. These types of injury claims increase during the winter months because of inclement weather, but they typically happen on a regular basis.

Unlawful Detainment and Police Brutality

Many small towns employ police officers who are not necessarily trained well on arrest protocol. Officers are restricted from arresting whomever they please and must find probable cause while conducting a legal investigation. Many times charges are dismissed when the evidence was gathered unlawfully or does not amount to probable cause. Anyone arrested without probable cause is being illegally detained and could have the standing to sue.

Employee Lawsuits

Towns are required to comply with the workers’ compensation insurance law just like companies and employees are injured commonly. However, this does not mean that cities will always agree with claims of employees regarding how an injury may have happened, often resulting in a lawsuit when compensation is denied. In addition, discrimination suits can be filed against towns for a variety of reasons that also include employment-related issues.

Zoning Actions

One of the most controversial actions of local governments involves zoning a town into business and residential districts. As cities grow and city management officials look at facilitating the growth, many residents in the rezoned areas do not always like the business district coming to their neighborhood. These problems arise more commonly than people realize and can quickly lead to a very contentious situation resulting in legal action requesting a restraining order.