Kenneth A. Manning

Partner Buffalo

Ken is an accomplished litigator with notable experience in complex, bet-the-company cases including state and federal class actions, product liability defense, catastrophic personal injury actions, contract and commercial litigations.

Ken’s experience includes bet-the-company corporate and commercial litigation, dissolution proceedings, employment termination disputes and controversies involving the sale of goods and services. In addition to personal injury and wrongful death claims involving product liability, workplace accidents, negligence and environmental exposure experience, he has successfully prosecuted and defended class actions in both state and federal courts, and has experience in challenges to governmental actions, including taxes and assessments, as well as actions for declaratory relief.

Ranked Band 1 for Litigation in Chambers USA, clients describe Ken as “.. a ‘steady hand’ voice of reason and knowledge when assurance is needed. His legal guidance crosses many practice areas and emphasizes relationships and reputation management, in addition to straight (and skilled) legal advice.” Ken is also noted by clients as being “..a good strategist and is particularly gifted at building relationships with all sides. He is considerate and trustworthy. He always provides wise advice.”

Ken represents clients at the trial and appellate level in numerous jurisdictions, including three recent appeals in the New York Court of Appeals involving questions of first impression relating to cross jurisdictional tolling of class actions, pipeline condemnation rights and animal rights involving Happy the Elephant (Bronx Zoo).

On a selective basis, Ken has served as a mediator and has been successful in settling complex cases in New York State Supreme Court, Surrogate’s Court and federal court. Ken also represents clients on high-profile corporate and trust matters.


Honors & Awards

  • University at Buffalo School of Law 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award
  • Listed in Chambers USA: Americas Leading Lawyers for Business, 2016-2023
    • Top Ranked, 2019-2021
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America®
    • Named the Best Lawyers® Bet-the-Company Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” in Buffalo, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021, 2023
    • Named the Best Lawyers® Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants “Lawyer of the Year” in Buffalo, 2016
  • Selected for the Upstate New York Super Lawyers® list, 2007-2023
    • Named Top 50 Lawyer, 2011, 2020-2023
  • Selected for America’s Top 100 Civil Defense Litigators®, Upstate New York, 2018-2022
  • Recipient of Western District of New York Federal Court Pro Bono Award, 2022 
  • Named to The United States District Court for the Western District of New York Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2021
  • Recipient of the National Federation for Just Communities Citation Award, 2020
  • The New York Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Listed in Legal Elite of WNY, Business First of Buffalo and Buffalo Law Journal, 2013, 2015-2018, 2020
  • Honoree of the New York State Bar Association Empire State Counsel® Program for Pro Bono Work, 2011-2013, 2016-2018, 2020
  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America™, 2019
  • Lawyer of the Year Award, Bar Association of Erie County, 2017
  • Honored for Participation in the Joint Seminar Program of the Appellate Divisions for the First & Second Judicial Departments, 2012
  • New York State Bar Association President’s Pro Bono Service Award, Eighth Judicial District 2008
  • Recipient of the University at Buffalo Philip B. Wels Outstanding Service Award, 2005
  • Recipient of the NCCJ Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award for Outstanding Leadership in Promoting Goodwill and Understanding in Our Community, 2004
  • Recipient of the University at Buffalo Law Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus Award for Leadership by Example as a Private Practitioner, 2002
  • Selected for America’s Top 100 Attorneys® Lifetime Achievement, Upstate New York
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating
  • Recipient of the Dress For Success Buffalo Vanguard Award
Awards & Certifications

Education & Admissions

  • State University of New York at Buffalo Law School, J.D., 1977
  • State University of New York at Buffalo Engineering School, M.S., Electrical Engineering, 2009
  • State University of New York at Buffalo Engineering School, B.S., summa cum laude, 1974
Admitted to Practice
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Districts of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second and Third Circuits
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Hon. Reid S. Moule, New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, 1977-1979


  • Matter of Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v. Breheny (New York Court of Appeals): Successfully obtained affirmance from the Appellate Division, First Department and the New York Court of Appeals following dismissal of petition for writ of habeas corpus filed on behalf of an elephant residing at the Bronx Zoo. Phillips Lytle represented Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the Bronx Zoo. The five-to-two decision by the Court of Appeals established a uniform rule in New York State that nonhuman animals are not entitled to habeas corpus relief because they are not “persons.”
  • Matter of Chavez v. Occidental Chemical Corp. (New York Court of Appeals): Upon an unsettled question of law certified by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Phillips Lytle successfully argued that a putative class action against chemical manufacturer by plaintiffs claiming tortious exposure was time-barred. The decision established that New York recognizes cross-jurisdictional tolling until it is no longer objectively reasonable for absent class members to rely upon the putative class action to vindicate their rights.
  • Matter of Birjukow v. Niagara Coating Services, Inc., (Fourth Department): Successfully obtained reversal of a New York State Supreme Court decision that denied summary judgment to plaintiff in suit seeking to recover on promissory notes and guarantees. The Appellate Division rejected the defense of “economic duress” for lacking sufficient evidentiary support, and thereby reaffirmed that a defendant cannot raise a triable issue of fact through conclusory, unsubstantiated and internally inconsistent evidence.
  • Matter of Amalfi, Inc. v. 428 Co., Inc. (Fourth Department): Successfully obtained reversal of a New York State Supreme Court decision to grant summary judgment for defendant in plaintiff’s suit seeking to enforce contractual right of first refusal, and established the rule of tax estoppel, which prevents parties from taking a position in litigation that is contrary to one taken in a tax return.
  • Matter of Marathon Power LLC v. Public Service Commission (Third Department): Represented energy service company in challenge to Public Service Commission’s order for the company to re-rate customers affected by rate modification, and established the rule that the Public Service Commission does not exceed its jurisdiction by interpreting at-issue provisions in a sales agreement to determine whether a company complied with the agreement and the Uniform Business Practices.
  • Matter of P. & E. T. Foundation (Fourth Department): Represented attorney trustee in appeal of denial of preliminary injunction, obtaining preliminary injunction from Appellate Division that maintained attorney trustee’s position pending final resolution of the appeal, before decision of Surrogate’s Court was ultimately affirmed on grounds of irreparable harm with the presiding justice dissenting in favor of reversal.
Representative Cases
  • In re P. & E. T. Found., 204 A.D.3d 1460 (4th Dep’t 2022)
  • Marathon Power LLC v. Pub. Serv. Comm’n, 209 A.D.3d 1245 (3d Dep’t 2022)
  • Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v. Breheny, __ N.Y.3d __, 2022 N.Y. Slip Op. 03859 (June 14, 2022)
  • Chavez v. Occidental Chem. Corp., No. 39, __ N.Y.3d __, 2020 WL 6136351 (N.Y. Oct. 20, 2020)
  • In Defense of Animals v. N.Y.C. Dep’t Cultural Affairs, 2020 WL 2621628 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., N.Y. Cty., May 22, 2020)
  • Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v. Breheny, 2020 WL 1670735 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., Bronx Cty., Feb. 18, 2020)
  • Birjukow v. Niagara Coating Servs., Inc., 165 A.D.3d 1586 (4th Dep’t 2018)
  • Amalfi, Inc. v. 428 Co., Inc., 153 A.D.3d 1610 (4th Dep’t 2017)
  • Empire Pipeline, Inc. v. New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, State of New York Supreme Court, Niagara County, Index No. E161542/2017
  • McGee v. Menard, No. 04-cv-335, 2015 WL 6440282 (D. Vt. Oct. 22, 2015)
  • Hispanic Leadership Fund, Inc. v. Walsh, 42 F. Supp. 3d 365 (N.D.N.Y. 2014)
  • Hispanic Leadership Fund, Inc. v. Walsh, No. 12-cv-1337, 2013 WL 5423855 (N.D.N.Y. Sept. 26, 2013)
  • DiPizio Constr. Co., Inc. v. Erie Canal Harbor Dev. Corp., 120 A.D.3d 905, 991 N.Y.S.2d 683 (4th Dep’t 2014)
  • DiPizio Constr. Co., Inc. v. Erie Canal Harbor Dev. Corp., 109 A.D.3d 909, 991 N.Y.S.2d 199 (4th Dep’t 2014)
  • DiPizio Constr. Co., Inc. v. Erie Canal Harbor Dev. Corp., 120 A.D.3d 911, 990 N.Y.S.2d 426 (4th Dep’t 2014)
  • Constantine v. Stella Maris Ins. Co., Ltd., 97 A.D.3d 1129, 948 N.Y.S.2d 802 (4th Dep’t 2012)
  • Constantine v. Stella Maris Ins. Co., Ltd., 128 A.D.3d 1360, 8 N.Y.S.3d 749 (4th Dep’t 2015)
  • Nat’l Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. v. PUSH Buffalo, 104 A.D.3d 1307, 962 N.Y.S.2d 559 (4th Dep’t 2013)
  • Sorrento Lactalis, Inc. v. Polanski, 72 A.D.3d 1619, 899 N.Y.S.2d 685 (4th Dep’t 2010)
  • Held v. Workers’ Compensation Board, Declaratory Judgment Action (Supreme Court, Albany County), Index No.: 2943-08, May 20, 2010
  • Held v. Workers’ Compensation Board, Article 78 Proceeding (Supreme Court, Albany County) Index No.: 2957-08, July 7, 2008
  • Nuara v. Workers’ Compensation Board, (Supreme Court, Albany County), Index No.: 5076-08, February 11, 2010
  • Nesslin v. Medaille College (Supreme Court, Erie County), Index No.: 6446/06, November 20, 2006
  • Munabi v. Abrams (Supreme Court, Erie County), aff’d 199 A.D.2d 1037 (4th Dept. 1993)
  • People v. National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation, 10 Misc 3d 516 (Erie County Court 2005), rev’g 1 Misc 3d 857
  • FS Kids, LLC v. Compensation Risk Management LLC, NYS Supreme Court, Erie County, Index No.: 11268/2008, 3/11/10
  • St. Joseph Hospital v. Berger Commission, 43 A.D.3d 139 (4th Dep’t 2007)
  • Matter of Shea’s v. Estate of Drapanas, 39 A.D.3d 1272, 832 N.Y.S.2d 856
  • Matter of Baynes v. City of Lackawanna, NYS Supreme Court, Erie County, Index No.: 1129/2009, 8/23/10
  • City of Buffalo v. National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation, 90 A.D. 2d 691(4th Dept.), 455 N.Y.S. 2d 1021, 1982 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 18790
  • Joseph Joyce v. Diane Wagner, W.D.N.Y. 1984 – Civ. No. 84-0115E
  • City of Buffalo v. Jacek A. Wysocki, 110 A.D. 2d 1052(4th Dept.), 489 N.Y.S. 2d 134, 1985 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 48929
  • Sharon Steel v. National Fuel, 872 F. 2d 36(3rd Circuit), 1989 U.S. App. LEXIS 4339
  • Board of Education of the Depew-Union Free School District v. Depew Teachers, 167 A.D. 2d 906(4th Dept.), 562 N.Y.S. 2d 274, 1990 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 14473
  • U.S. Air Group, Inc. v. Bernardo, 175 A.D.2d 642(4th Dept.), 572 N.Y.S.2d 271, 1991 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 10182
  • Morgan v. A.O. Smith, 233 A.D. 2d 375(2nd Dept.), 650 N.Y.S. 2d 748, 1996 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 11608
  • Ilhardt v. A.O. Smith, 168 F.R.D. 613(S. D. Ohio), 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19098, 36 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 986
  • Occidental Chemical Corporation v. James E. Wilkins & Sons, Inc., et al., Sup. Ct. Gen. Co. 1998 – Index No.: 46213
  • Data-Track Account Services, Inc. v. Curtis W. Lee, 291 A.D. 2d 827 (4th Dept.), 736 N.Y.S. 2d 558, 2002 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 973

Speaking Engagements

View All
  • Speaker, “Litigating Police & Prison Abuse Cases,” 4-Part Series, Phillips Lytle and Minority Bar of Western New York, October & November 2021
  • Guest Speaker, “Engineering Impact on Society,“ University at Buffalo, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, February 2017, April 2018, March 2019, March 2020
  • Moderator, “Border Improvements Briefing, Workshops & Networking with 50+ U.S. & Canadian Border Officials,” “Can-Am Border Improvements Leadership Briefing,” International Trade Day, November 2019
  • Moderator, “Can-Am Border Improvements Leadership Briefing,” “Border Improvements Briefing, Workshops & Networking with 50+ U.S. & Canadian Border Officials,” International Trade Day, November 2018
  • Moderator, “How Will Education Supply Meet Business Demand?” Buffalo Business First, State of the Region Seminar, September 2018
  • Moderator, “From JCOPE to #MeToo: Helping Municipalities Stay Ahead of Today’s Changing Environment,” Phillips Lytle Seminar, August 2018
  • Panelist, “Class Action Settlements: Hot Topics in 2016 and Beyond,” The Knowledge Group Webcast, October 2016

Activities & Professional Associations

Present Activities

  • Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority
    • Board of Directors, Chair, 2018, 2020, 2022
    • Board of Directors, Vice Chair, 2017, 2019, 2021
  • Daemen University Community Advisory Board, Member
  • FBI Community Partnership Program, Citizens Academy, Member, 2000
  • New York State Commission on Judicial Nomination
  • New York State Continuing Legal Education (CLE), Board of Directors, 2016-2019
  • New York State’s Fourth Department Judicial Screening Committee
  • State University of New York at Buffalo Law School
    • Alumni Association, Member and President, 1999-2000
    • Dean’s Advisory Council, Fall 1999-Present
  • Suneel’s Light Foundation, Board Member
  • United States District Court for the Western District of New York, Mediator Panel, Member

Past Activities

  • Bison Hockey Association, Former Board Chair
  • Buffalo Citizens Academy, Board Member and Counsel
  • Cleveland Hill Education Foundation, Former Board Member
  • Gyro Club of Buffalo, Inc., Past President
  • OmniSeq, Board of Directors, 2015-2020
  • One Hundred Club of Buffalo, Former Member
  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Board Member, 2008-2023
  • State University of New York at Buffalo Engineering School
    • Dean’s Advisory Council Former Chair, Former Member
  • Suneel’s Light Foundation, Vice President
  • Tau Beta Pi, New York Nu Chapter, Past President
  • Volunteer Lawyers Project, Board Member

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association
    • Section of Dispute Resolution
    • Litigation Section
  • Bar Association of Erie County
    • Endowment Fund Committee
  • Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU)
  • The Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York
  • Litigation Counsel of America™
    • Trial Law Institute, Member
    • Diversity Law Institute, Member
    • Advocate, Order of Certus
  • National Association of College and University Attorneys
  • New York State Bar Association, Sustaining Member
    • Commercial and Federal Litigation Section
    • Dispute Resolution Section
    • Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section
      • Class Action Committee
    • Court Structure and Operations Committee
  • UB Law Alumni Association
  • Western District of New York, Committee to Revise Federal Court Local Rules – 2000

Articles & Publications


  • Co-Author, “2nd Circ. Baby Food Ruling Disregards FDA’s Expertise,” Law360, March 2024
  • Co-Author, “Operational Issues for Medical Marijuana Producers,” Buffalo Law Journal, July 2015
  • Co-Author, “Guest Column: Campus Sexual Assault Awareness,” Buffalo Law Journal, April 2015