Erie County Attorney's Office
Michael A. Siragusa, Erie County Attorney
The Erie County Department of Law is headed by Erie County Attorney, Michael A. Siragusa. Mr. Siragusa's appointment to the position of Erie County Attorney was made by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz on January 1, 2012 and was unanimously confirmed by the Erie County Legislature. Mr. Siragusa is a Buffalo native and graduated cum laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He went on to receive the degree of Juris Doctor from Rutgers School of Law in 1992. He practiced as a commercial litigator in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, until returning home to Buffalo to join the New York State Attorney General's Office. Mr. Siragusa served as an Assistant Attorney General and then as the Deputy Assistant Attoreny General in-Charge of the Buffalo Regional Office through December 31, 2011.
The Department of Law consists of three major practice areas – litigation, general counsel and family court. It provides all legal services to the County of Erie, as mandated by law. Such services are of a broad nature and encompass many areas of the law; they include the negotiation, preparation and review of contracts, the completion of comprehensive legal research projects, the drafting of Local Laws and Resolutions and the preparation of all necessary documents in connection therewith, and the crafting of many opinion letters for the various departments, divisions and other administrative units of the County.
The Department of Law prosecutes and defends all civil matters brought by or against the County, including negligence, civil rights, discrimination, harassment, insurance coverage, labor law, property recovery, medical malpractice claims, article 78 proceedings, in rem proceedings, applications for poor person status, administrative hearings, arbitrations involving either the interpretation of various collective bargaining agreements or the discipline of employees, representation of the Erie County Board of Elections in all matters involving the interpretation and application of the New York State Election Law, and any other civil matter involving the County and its various departments and functions.
Attorneys in the Department of Law appear on behalf of the County in Family Court proceedings involving juvenile delinquency, persons in need of supervision (PINS) and assists in matters relating to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act and payments that are owed to Erie County residents by persons residing out of state.
The Department of Law investigates various workers’ compensation claims and assists with the handling of workers’ compensation matters.
The Department of Law also provides legal assistance in the sale of county liens representing properties foreclosed for failure to pay back taxes. It represents the County in condemnation proceedings and other matters necessary to secure property for the public good. The Division actively represents the County’s interests in court in connection with challenges to the assessment of real property and the taxes collected thereunder.
The Department of Law also administers the Indigent Defense Program. This program provides operating funds to assure legal services to individuals who cannot afford a private attorney consistent with a strict screening process.
To provide professional, efficient and thorough legal representation to the County, its elected officials, officers, boards, departments and agencies with regard to County operations, including all legal matters related to such operations and compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws.