Clifford B. Levine

Clifford B. Levine

Director

412.297.4998
clevine@cohenlaw.com

Bar/Court Admissions

  • Pennsylvania
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (1980)
  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court (1980)
  • United States Supreme Court (1990)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1983)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (2005)

Education

  • J.D., Duke University , 1980
  • B.A., Economics (magna cum laude), State University of New York at Albany, 1977

Clifford B. Levine

Director

Cliff chairs the Firm’s Public Affairs Group, and is a member of the Litigation and Real Estate Practice Groups.  Cliff has significant trial and appellate experience in complex commercial, construction, real estate and governmental law.  He also has served as solicitor to municipal authorities and counselor to public and non-public entities.  He is an elected fellow in the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County and recently was recognized as one of the 100 most politically influential individuals in Pennsylvania.  Cliff is listed in Best Lawyers of America, as one ofPhiladelphia Magazine’s “Pennsylvania Super Lawyers,” an honor bestowed upon the top five percent of Pennsylvania lawyers, and recently as one of the top 50 attorneys in Pittsburgh.

Experience

Cliff has a diverse practice that frequently involves the interplay between law and government.  He has assisted real estate developers, independent power producers, energy companies, telecommunications firms and others in obtaining permits, contracts and governmental approvals through both negotiation and litigation.  In addition, he has extensive experience representing private litigants, particularly in the areas of commercial, real estate and construction law.

Cliff served as solicitor to the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority with annual revenues in excess of seventy million dollars.  He has served as special counsel to a number of state agencies, including the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, where he has represented the state in litigation associated with efforts to restore fiscally distressed municipalities.  He has also chaired an advisory group representing 60 municipalities and authorities in negotiating consent orders with regulatory entities to address regional sewage issues.

A significant aspect of Cliff’s practice involves his wide array of appellate litigation, including landmark cases before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the areas of land use, energy law, municipal finance and taxation, and public election law.  Cliff represented the Pennsylvania Democratic Senators before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the federal courts in successfully challenging the 2011 Reapportionment Plan.

Cliff served as President of the 57th Electoral College in Pennsylvania.  In 2012 and 2008, he was a delegate for Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, a member of Mr. Obama’s National Finance Committee and the President’s authorized statewide representative in election law matters.  In 2006, he served as counsel to the Senate Campaign of Bob Casey, Jr.

Cliff has been a faculty member for numerous PBI seminars and frequently a course planner for real estate and environmental forums.  He has been a guest lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, and Duquesne Law School, and is the author of articles involving subjects in his various practice fields.  In addition, he has participated in commercial and construction arbitrations, is qualified as an AAA Construction and Commercial Law Arbitrator, and as a court-appointed special master.  He served as a law clerk to the Honorable David W. Craig of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.

Select Recent Representative Matters

  • Represented Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus before State Supreme Court and federal courts in successfully challenging the 2011 Reapportionment Plan for the Pennsylvania General Assembly.  Holt v. 2011 Legislative Reapportionment Commission, 38 A.3d 711 (Pa. 2012); and Pileggi v. Aichele, 843 F.Supp. 2d 584 (E.D. Pa. 2012).
  • Established scope of statewide preemption associated with local regulation of gas drilling operations under the Oil & Gas Act.  Huntley & Huntley, Inc. v. Borough of Oakmont, 964 A.2d 855 (Pa. 2009).
  • Represented the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development in establishing relationship of Act 47 Recovery Plan with public labor arbitration process.  City of Scranton v. Fire Fighters Local Union No. 60, 29 A.3d 773 (Pa. 2011); Pittsburgh Fire Fighters Local No. 1 vs. Yablonsky, 867 A.2d 666 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005) (en banc).
  • Represented Washington & Jefferson College in landmark State Supreme Court case establishing real estate tax-exemption status for independent college qualifying as a “public charity” under she state constitution.  City of Washington v. Board of Appeals of Washington County and Washington & Jefferson College, 550 Pa 175, 704 A.2d 120 (1997).
  • Represented independent power producers in Pennsylvania Supreme Court cases involving interplay of federal and state law in compelling mandatory energy purchases.  See Armco Advanced Materials Corporation, et al. v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, 535 Pa. 108, 634 A.2d 207 (1993) (“Milesburg II”) Pennsylvania Supreme Court, cert. denied, 115 S. Ct. 311 (1994);Pennsylvania Electric Company v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and American Power/CMS Generation, 544 Pa. 475, 677 A.2d 831 (1996).
  • Represented developers of alternative fuel power plant in obtaining land use approvals to operate.  Erie Renewable Energy, LLC v. Zoning Hearing Board of Erie, No. 12547-2009, Court of Common Pleas of Erie County (2010).
  • Represented wireless carriers in Third Circuit cases involving interplay between Federal Telecommunications Act and state law.  Nextel West Corp. v. Unity Township, 282 F.3d 257 (3d Cir. 2002); APT Pittsburgh Limited Partnership v. Penn Township, 196 F.3d 469 (3d Cir. 1999).
  • Represented Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee in challenge to third party U.S. Senate Candidate.  In re Nomination Papers of Rogers, Pennsylvania Supreme and Commonwealth Courts, 913 A.2d 298 (Pa. Cmwlth, (2006) and 914 A.2d 457 (Pa. Cmwlth, 2006).
  • Counsel to Pennsylvania Democratic Committee and Committee to Elect Dan Onorato in federal and state court litigation involving third-party delivery of absentee ballots and related issues of jurisdiction and federal court abstention.  John Pierce and Thomas Stepnick v. Allegheny County Board of Elections, United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, C.A. No. 03-1677 (November 2003); In re: Canvass of Absentee Ballots of November 4, 2003 General Election, 843 A.2d 1223 (Pa. 2004).
  • Represented governmental entity in multi-million dollar claim involving installation of a computer billing and customer service system.  ALCOSAN vs. Deloitte Consulting, LLC and Deloitte & Touche, LLP, Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, G.D. 00-8729 (2005).
  • Defended sanitary landfill in five-week jury trial involving private nuisance claims.  Suchy et al v. Kelly Run Sanitation, Inc., Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, G.D. No. 95-14391 (1999), affirmed, 148 P.L.J. 229 (2000).
  • Represented general contractor in multi-million dollar Illinois AAA arbitration brought against its consortium partner, a German equipment supplier, in case involving contract interpretation issues and evaluation of extra work claims concerning construction of a Vacuum Degasser built in a steel mill.  Privately arbitrated AAA matter, Chicago, Illinois (1991).

Additional Roles

  • Chair, Subcommittee on Planning & Development Process, Mayor Bill Peduto’s Transition Team (2013).
  • President, Pennsylvania’s 57th Electoral College (2012)
  • Commissioner, Southwestern Planning Commission (2012-present)
  • Fellow, Allegheny County Academy of Trial Lawyers (2005-present)
  • Chair, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s Vision Team on Transit (2011)
  • Member, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato’s Transition Team, Committee of Municipal Cooperation (2004)
  • Vice Chair, City of Pittsburgh Planning Commission (1994-2006)
  • Vice Chair, City of Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment (1994-2006)
  • Board Member, American Jewish Committee (2003-2005)
  • Member, Governor Ed Rendell’s Transition Team – Committee on Judicial Issues (2003)
  • Member, Allegheny County Executive James Roddey’s Transition Team – Committee on Engineering and Public Works (1999)
  • Guest Lecturer, University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne Law School

Representative Publications & Presentations

  • “Hands off the Electoral  College,” Pittsburgh Post-GazetteForum, December 30, 2012
  • “Drilling in the Marcellus Shale: Leasing, Land Use & Environmental Issues,” PA Bar Institute’s Statewide Real Estate Conference, December 2, 2010
  • “Drilling for Marcellus Shale: The Interplay between State and Local Regulatory Oversight,” PBI Real Estate Institute, 2010-6037
  • “State and Local Regulation of Oil and Gas Operations: Drilling Through the Maze of Preemption, Severed Mineral Estates and Surface Owner Rights,” Energy & Mineral Law Institute, Vol. 29, Chapter 11, 2008
  • “A Step Towards Cleaner Rivers: Pittsburgh’s New Dye Testing Ordinance,” Real News, June 2006
  • Presenter, “Eminent Domain: For the Public Good or Private Gain?” (involving Kelo v. New London), Urban Land Institute, September 2005
  • “United Artists: Reviewing the Conscience Shocking Test Under Section 1983,”  1 Seton Hall Circuit Review 101, Spring 2005
  • “Pittsburgh — Yes, we can:  Cutting through the fiscal despair, Clifford B. Levine outlines a plan for achieving a dynamic region,” Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Forum, February 15, 2004
  • “Legal Developments Affect Charitable Tax Exemption Status,” PA CPA Journal, Winter 2003
  • “Regional Branding: The Emerging Pittsburgh,” Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Forum, December 29, 2002
  • “In the Spotlight: With Regional Sewer Initiative Looming, Lawyer Takes Post at Water and Sewer Authority,” Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Forum, May 5, 2002
  • “Post–Election Litigation in Pennsylvania,” 41 Duquesne Law Review 153, Fall 2002
  • Gulf PowerCable Broadband Defies Simple Categorization,” Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Newsletter (Pennsylvania Bar Association), Spring 2002
  • “Bush v. Gore: “Who Exactly was the Supreme Court Protecting?” Lawyers Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1, January 12, 2001