Kevin J. Coakley


As a senior member of Connell Foley’s Real Estate and Land Use department, Kevin J. Coakley focuses his practice on development projects throughout the State of New Jersey. During a career that has spanned 40 years, he has developed extensive experience with real estate transactions, zoning, permitting, condemnation, wetlands, and tidelands matters. Mr. Coakley is also a member of the firm’s Environmental Law practice group. His practice involves significant interaction with government including numerous N.J.D.E.P. land use permit matters.  Mr. Coakley has been counsel of record in approximately 60 published decisions, most involving governmental matters.

Mr. Coakley has represented the developers of Bridgewater Commons Mall since its inception. The Mall is a commercial development of over 2,000,000 square feet in Bridgewater Township in Somerset County, New Jersey.

Mr. Coakley has significant expertise in litigation based on Fifth Amendment takings claims. He was counsel to the successful plaintiff in the landmark inverse condemnation case of Loveladies Harbor v. United States, 28 F3d 11721 (Fed. Cir. 1994).

Mr. Coakley is particularly skilled in the use of litigation to challenge adverse rulings in development projects from regulators, including municipal bodies and state agencies. Examples of his successes in this area include the $1.6 million settlement in Estate of Desiderio v. State of New Jersey. Mr. Coakley brought suit on his client’s behalf after the State of New Jersey barred residential development of the client’s property, which included wetlands in Ocean County.

Additionally, in 2006 Mr. Coakley successfully settled two class action lawsuits on behalf of out-of-state members of the trucking industry against the State of New Jersey. The settlements resulted in $8.25 million being refunded by the State to trucking companies that had been forced to pay unconstitutional fees. As a result of his efforts, Connell Foley was successful in removing a long-standing state tax against trucking companies, getting the state to refund back taxes to those involved, and having the state permanently enjoined from imposing flat, unapportioned fees on the trucking industry.

In 2009 and 2012, Mr. Coakley completed litigation on behalf of Centex Homes and Toll Brothers which upset state regulations which denied refunds to developers who paid for utility extensions in non-smart growth areas.  Thousands of projects will receive refunds based on the decision in the matter of the Board's Main Extension Rules, N.J.A.C. 14:3-8.1 et seq., 426 N.J. Super. 538 (App. Div. 2012)

Mr. Coakley has been ranked by "Chambers USA" from 2009-2015 as a leader in Real Estate Law. He has also been selected for inclusion in "Best Lawyers in America" from 1999-2016 in the fields of Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law, and Real Estate Law, and in "New Jersey Super Lawyers."

Mr. Coakley serves as a Trustee and Board Member for New Jersey Alliance for Action. He is a member of the Land Use Committee of the New Jersey Builders Association (NJBA). In 2008, Mr. Coakley was elected as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation of New Jersey. He is a former member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee for the Tax Court and a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Blue Shield Plan of New Jersey, as well as former chairman of the Lawyers Advertising Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association. At Rutgers Law School, Mr. Coakley served as a Member of the Law Review. Upon graduation, he became the law secretary to the Honorable John W. Fritz, New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division (1972-1973).

Honors and Awards:

  • Chambers USA, New Jersey Real Estate Law (2009-2016)
  • Best Lawyers in America (1999-2017)
    • Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law
    • Real Estate Litigation
    • "Lawyer of the Year," Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law - Newark (2013)
  • New Jersey Super Lawyers (2005-2006, 2008-2017)
  • "New Jersey's Top Rated Lawyers" as seen in Inside Jersey magazine (2012)

Representative Experience:

  • In the Matter of Centex Homes, LLC: In 2009, represented Centex Homes, LLC in successfully appealing a New Jersey Board of Public Utilities order denying Centex’s petition for an order directing public utilities to pay for or contribute to the cost of utility extensions to a residential development. The Board of Public Utilities denied Centex’s petition pursuant to the Board’s Main Extension Regulations, which prohibit utilities from paying for or contributing to the cost of utility extensions to areas classified as “not designated for growth” under the regulations. The New Jersey Appellate Division reversed the Board of Public Utilities’ order and ruled that the Board exceeded its statutory authority in prohibiting utilities from paying for or contributing to the cost of utility extensions to areas not designated for growth
  • Bridgewater Commons (Bridgewater, New Jersey): The project, commenced in the late 1980s, now includes over 2,000,000 square feet of mall, office, and hotel space. The project is a long-term redevelopment project carried out in cooperation with the municipality. Mr. Coakley has represented the project since its inception
  • Secaucus Junction (Secaucus, New Jersey): On September 6, 2003, the Governor of New Jersey dedicated the new $600,000,000 rail station at Secaucus, Hudson County. Mr. Coakley and Patrick McAuley of Connell Foley represented the private developer who donated the land for the station and retained development rights to build 3,600,000 square feet of retail, office, and hotel space in and above the station. The station is the largest new rail station opened in the United States since 1900. A new interchange of the New Jersey Turnpike has been constructed next to the station. The project was a long-term cooperative effort with public agencies to create a project having unique transportation advantages
  • Prudential Arena: Connell Foley represented one of three property owners who exchanged numerous properties to advance the Newark Arena Redevelopment Area which opened in 2008
  • St. Joseph's Medical Center: Connell Foley represented hospital in land use proceedings concerning $350,000,000 expansion of the faculty in Paterson, New Jersey
  • In 2012-2014, Mr. Coakley  assisted Goya Foods as its real estate development counsel in the construction of its 600,000 square foot headquarters in Jersey City, New Jersey
  • In 2012-2014, Mr. Coakley represented  Prudential Financial Inc. in numerous matters, including appellate litigation regarding a $210 million tax credit, related to its new office tower in Newark, New Jersey


  • Member, Board of Trustees, New Jersey
  • Alliance for Action
  • American Bar Association
  • New Jersey State Bar Association


85 Livingston Avenue
  • Rutgers University School of  Law (J.D., 1972)
  • St. Vincent College (B.A., 1968)
  • United States District Court for  the District of New Jersey
  • United States Court of  Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • United States Court of  Appeals for the Federal  Circuit
  • United States Court of  Federal Claims
  • United States Supreme Court

Best Lawyers Award Badge

Best Lawyers Award Badge