Barclay Damon
Barclay Damon

Michael J. Balestra

Michael J. Balestra


p: 315.413.7110

f: 315.703.7324

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Syracuse Office

Barclay Damon Tower
125 East Jefferson Street
Syracuse, New York 13202

Michael provides strategic counsel with the aim of preventing issues first and, when necessary, he represents clients in all manner of dispute resolution including arbitration, mediation, administrative proceedings, and litigation, including appellate practice. He primarily concentrates his practice on local, state, and federal commercial litigation matters that include construction claims, complex business disputes, and employee relations and discrimination claims.

He has extensive experience in representing construction industry professionals and owners in construction claims involving defective work, breach of contract, mechanics liens, and diversion of Lien Law trust funds, among other matters. Michael regularly defends employers before the NYS Division of Human Rights, Workers' Compensation Board, Department of Labor, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He also represents employers in matters involving employee misconduct, including the enforcement of covenants not to compete and breaches of the duty of loyalty.

In addition to his construction and employment law practice, Michael has represented clients from diverse industries in cases involving breach of contract, insurance coverage, partnership disputes, and other complex business issues.

Representative Experience

  • Obtained a $1.2 million verdict for a contractor in a payment dispute with a building owner after a seven-day bench trial in NYS Supreme Court, Broome County and successfully defended an appeal from the judgment.
  • Obtained a declaratory judgment after a five-day jury trial in NYS Supreme Court, Jefferson County, that an insurer was obligated for coverage of a fire loss, and successfully proved that the insurer’s disclaimer on the basis of arson was improper.
  • Represented a hotel owner and negotiated a favorable settlement in a complex $1.1 million construction dispute with a general contractor and numerous subcontractors involving construction defect claims, mechanics liens, and diversion of trust funds.
  • Obtained numerous findings of “no probable cause” from the NYS Division of Human Rights on behalf of employers in claims alleging workplace discrimination. 
  • Obtained summary judgment for a bus distributor, dismissing a transportation company’s claims demanding $3 million in lost profits on account of alleged tortious interference with contract and business relations.

Practice Areas


  • University of Kentucky College of Law, J.D.
  • Colgate University, B.A.

Admitted To Practice

  • New York
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Northern District New York Federal Court Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Onondaga County Bar Association

Civic Activities

  • Village of Skaneateles Zoning Board of Appeals, Chairman
  • Ducks Unlimited Skaneateles Chapter Committee, Vice Chairman
  • Sons of the American Legion, Post 239, Chaplain
  • LAUNCH CNY, Former Board Member


  • Selected to Super Lawyers Upstate New York Rising Stars: Construction Litigation, 2016-2018

Prior Experience

  • Menter, Rudin & Trivelpiece, P.C., Shareholder