Attorney James Cooney, who represents the Nieds, said their former attorney, Scott E. Avolio, committed legal malpractice by failing to insert any provision in the April 2013 consent decree signed by the Nieds that would have enforced the township's promise to amend the zoning ordinance so their farm could be used for commercial purposes. The consent decree limited the Nieds to conducting 11 weddings in 2013-14.
“They have no ability to use the farm for any type of commercial purpose unless the code is amended. That is simply malpractice,” Cooney said.
But Dennis J. Roman, a Pittsburgh attorney representing Avolio, Michael Korns and the Avolio Law Group of Greensburg, argued that his clients did not commit legal malpractice just because the Nieds' failed to get the necessary zoning approval. The Nieds' request to use their farm for weddings and banquets did not fit into any of the classifications of the zoning ordinance.
Although Avolio became Ligonier Township's solicitor after withdrawing from representing the Nieds in November 2013, Roman said it was not a conflict of interest because Avolio recused himself from that matter.
Cooney said Avolio's position as solicitor was “very relevant negligence” because he was “helping the other side.”
Read more: http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/9183385-74/nieds-township-farm#ixzz3nLFOwTPD
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