Jonathan C. Zellner


Ryan Ryan Deluca LLP
707 Summer Street
Stamford, CT 06901
United States

Tel: 203-541-5053


Jonathan Zellner is a Partner at Ryan Ryan Deluca LLP, practicing primarily in the firm’s municipal liability and land use litigation departments.  He regularly defends municipalities, boards of education, and municipal officials against claims arising under federal constitutional and civil rights laws and state tort law.  His representative experience also includes defending clients in cases involving claims of employment discrimination, breach of contract, and legal malpractice.  Jonathan has practiced in state and federal court, argued dispositive motions before various judges of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, and argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  He is admitted to practice in Connecticut, the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Jonathan graduated from Hamilton College in 2008, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Government and was inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha, The National Political Science Honor Society.  He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 2011.  While in law school, Jonathan served as an Executive Editor for the Connecticut Law Review.  He authored a student note that was published in Volume 43, Issue 1 of the Connecticut Law Review and for which he received the Connecticut Law Review’s Best Student Note Award in 2012.  Jonathan also participated in the Tax Clinic at the University of Connecticut School of Law.

RRD has extensive experience in appellate advocacy before the Connecticut Appellate and Supreme Courts as well as the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Effective appellate advocacy requires the finely tuned ability to review the record with a critical eye; to determine the viability of an appeal; to identify, analyze, and brief determinative legal and factual issues; and to present a logical and persuasive oral argument. This practice can be more demanding than trial.

The record on appeal is usually fixed, the standards that permit relief are more stringent, and months of litigation must be condensed into an appellate brief. Unlike a jury trial, an oral argument provides an appellate attorney with only minutes to present a clear and forceful response to a question from the bench. Persuasive legal writing and oration are essential.

The firm’s recent representative appellate case wins include:

  • International Strategies Group v. Ness, (Second Circuit Court of Appeals, 2011) (Affirming U.S. District Court’s dismissal of action for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty brought against officer of investment bank accused of illegally dissipating $4 million investment).
  • Boulanger v. Town of Old Lyme, 127 Conn. App. 572 (2011) (Affirming summary judgment in favor of a Connecticut municipality and its first selectman in a lawsuit alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. Section 1983; state and federal due process violations; state and federal equal protection violations; the takings clause of the state and federal constitutions; as well as a writ of mandamus and declaratory relief).
  • Tirreno v. Mott, et al., 375 Fed. Appx. 140 (2010) (Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed jury verdict in favor of defendant bail bondsman on allegations of civil rights violations for warrantless entry into premises in connection with search for a fugitive).
  • Waisonovitz v. Metro North, 350 Fed. Appx. 497 (2009) (Second Circuit Court of Appeals).
  • Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. v. Lone Star Industries, Inc., 290 Conn. 767 (2009). (Upholding validity of silica exclusion in toxic tort coverage action).
  • Hamilton v. United Services Automobile Assoc., 115 Conn. App. 774 (2009). (Holding that injured party cannot maintain declaratory judgment action against third party insurer absent judgment against insured).
  • Stearns and Wheeler, LLC., v. Kowalsky Brothers, Inc., 289 Conn. 1 (2008). (Precluding a third-party from assigning an unfair trade practices claim against an employer to an injured employee).
  • DaGraca v. Kowalsky Brothers, Inc., 100 Conn. App. 781, cert. denied, 283 Conn. 904 (2007) (Affirming summary judgment for defendant in wrongful-death action against employer seeking recovery for work-related incident in which employees asphyxiated after descending into manhole).
  • Juchniewicz v. Bridgeport Hospital, 281 Conn. 29 (2007) (Estate of patient, who died from an untreated bacterial infection that caused her to suffer toxic shock syndrome, brought wrongful death action against physician and hospital).
  • Auster v. Norwalk United Methodist Church, 94 Conn. App. 617, cert. granted, 278 Conn. 915 (2006) (Finding church was not a “keeper” of church employee’s dog under Connecticut’s dog bite statute).
  • Lin v. National R.R. Passenger Corp., 277 Conn. 1 (2006) (Upholding defense verdict in wrongful death action brought by estate of pedestrian who was struck and killed by a train while walking on a railroad trestle)
  • Judson v. Brown, 98 Conn. App. 381 (2006). (Affirming jury verdict in favor of defendants in medical malpractice action).
  • Coughlin v. Anderson, 270 Conn. 487 (2004) (Affirming directed verdict in favor of defendant homeowner in connection with neighbor’s claim of trespass due to unrecorded subterranean easements).
  • McManus v. Sweeney, 78 Conn. App. 327 (2003) (Affirming summary judgment on behalf of attorney in a lawsuit alleging defamation and negligent infliction of emotional distress).

Ryan Ryan Deluca LLP is a litigation law firm with over a 50-year history in Connecticut. We have grown to become one of the largest firms in Stamford and Fairfield County. We attribute this growth to our unwavering dedication to our clients’ litigation needs.

The firm’s focus is on insurance and business-related litigation. The firm has tried hundreds of court and jury cases to conclusion. We serve as trial counsel and local counsel in Connecticut for a number of businesses and insurance carriers. Our attorneys are battle tested and have significant trial experience with local judges and opposing lawyers. We have cases pending in virtually every courthouse in the state, and each year we resolve over 500 litigation matters.

The firm is rated AV by Martindale Hubbell and is listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers.

Our lawyers have been recognized for their legal and trial skills and their involvement in the risk industry and legal community. Our partners are members of such prestigious organizations as the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Trial Advocates, the National Board of Trial Advocacy, the International Association of Defense Trial Counsel, the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys, the Defense Research Institute, and others. Many of these organizations are extremely select, and membership is by invitation only. Firm partners are listed in The Best Lawyers in America® and have been selected for inclusion in Connecticut Super Lawyers®. Lawyers are active in State and local bar associations, and our partners have served as Presidents of the Fairfield County Bar Association, and the Connecticut Defense Lawyers Association.