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Honorable Menelaos W. Toskos, P.J. Ch. (Ret.) brings 45 years of legal experience to the firm’s Alternate Dispute Resolution and Mediation Group. For the last 13 years, he served as a N.J. Superior Court Judge sitting in the Law and Chancery Divisions. During his years on the bench, Judge Toskos authored hundreds of opinions, several of which were approved for publication. While serving in the Chancery Division, Judge Toskos was responsible for general equity, contract, real estate, business and probate cases. Generally, these matters involved requests for emergent injunctive relief. Several required appointment of receivers, special fiscal agents, special medical guardians, temporary executors and trustees. Judge Toskos aggressively case-managed all of them, leading to resolution through settlement or trial.
In 8 years in the Law Division, Judge Toskos presided over hundreds of jury and bench trials concerning personal injury claims, employment (including LAD and CEPA) disputes, condemnation, construction and environmental cases. As a designated prerogative writs judge, he tried cases challenging enactments by county government, municipalities, land use boards and administrative agencies. In 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court designated Judge Toskos as the Mount Laurel judge for Bergen County, tasking him with evaluating whether municipal zoning ordinances met the constitutional requirement to provide an opportunity for construction of low and moderate income housing. Judge Toskos was initially responsible for 59 lawsuits filed by municipalities seeking court approval of zoning ordinances. After resolving requests for temporary immunity, Judge Toskos then appointed a special master for each municipality. With their assistance, Judge Toskos was instrumental in amicable resolution of more than 30 cases prior to retiring.
Judge Toskos was a faculty member of the Morris Pashman Inns of Court for 10 years, He was responsible for developing student sessions and lectured on civil litigation. A former teacher, Judge Toskos developed a Lunch and Learn Program arranging monthly lectures for the Bergen County Vicinage. This “CLE” approved program provided each law clerk an opportunity to understand the workings of the Civil, Family and Criminal divisions of the Superior Court. An avid fan of history, Judge Toskos was recently appointed to the New Jersey Supreme Court Historical Advisory Board. Created by Chief Justice Rabner, the Board promotes and educates the public on the rich history of the New Jersey Supreme Court. A former trustee of the Bergen County Bar Association, Judge Toskos has been a frequent lecturer on real estate, land use and municipal law.
Even after his appointment to the bench, Judge Toskos made presentations for the N.J. State Bar Association, Bergen County Bar Association, the New Jersey Judicial College and various Inns of Court as a lecturer and panelist. During his years in the Chancery Division, Judge Toskos assisted in training newly appointed chancellors and incoming law clerks.
Before being appointed to the bench, Judge Toskos was an equity member in the Hackensack law firm of Herten, Burstein, Sheridan, Cevasco, Bottinelli, Litt, Toskos and Harz. In his practice, Judge Toskos represented public and private clients in real estate and commercial transactions, government matters and general litigation, as well as acting as counsel for county utility authorities, zoning and planning boards and several municipal governments. Judge Toskos handled litigation in the N.J. Superior Court Law and Appellate Divisions, United States District Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He chaired the Bergen County Bar Association Land Use Committee. which presented an annual seminar for all Bergen County municipal and land use members. In 2001, he completed NJICLE training receiving mediator certification and then served as a New Jersey Superior Court Civil Case Mediation Panelist. With the enactment of the Uniform Construction Code, Judge Toskos taught construction code officials on the procedures for code enforcement. Appointed by the County Executive, he served several years as a member of the Bergen County Solid Waste Advisory Committee. Judge Toskos is a former chair of the New Jersey Supreme Court District IIB Fee Arbitration committee. He also served as the Bergen County High School Mock Trial coordinator organizing a competition for over 30 high schools.
Judge Toskos is a graduate of Columbia University and Fordham Law School. In 2015, he was honored by the N.J. Fordham Law Alumni as its Distinguished Alumnus. For over 40 years Judge Toskos has been a member of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Wyckoff. As an attorney, he served as counsel to the Church and is a member of the Parish Council.
As Counsel to the firm, Judge Toskos will bring his extensive experience as a lawyer and judge to provide mediation and arbitration services. Judge Toskos will also be available to manage complex litigation and to act as a Special Discovery Master.