Dwight Ferguson is a founding member of Cafardi Ferguson Wyrick Weis + Stotler and heads the Real Estate Practice Group. Dwight has more than 30 years of experience involving real estate centered litigation and transactions.
Litigation. Dwight’s litigation practice has a particular focus on representing clients in zoning cases, from the pre-application design review phase, through the application and public hearing, trial and appellate court levels. He frequently gets calls from new clients or other lawyers who begin with, “I hear you’re the zoning guy.”
A significant aspect of Dwight’s practice involves a wide array of appellate litigation, including landmark cases before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the areas of local land use ordinances and state law regulating oil and gas drilling; the constitutionality of the Oil and Gas Conservation Act, the Private Roads Act; real estate tax exemption for buildings in Pittsburgh’s cultural district; and use variances for outdoor advertising devices.
Examples of Dwight’s real estate litigation experience include the following subject matter:
- Oil & gas leasing, unitization, pooling, site development and zoning
- Zoning, subdivision and land development
- Boundary and title disputes
- Roads and easements
- Landlord/tenant disputes
- Municipal regulations and validity challenges
- Ejectment and quiet title actions
- Eminent domain
- Restrictive covenants
- Adverse possession
- Mortgage foreclosures
- Homeowners, planned community and condominium owner associations
- Administrative law
- State licensing matters
- Real estate tax assessment appeals including applications for tax exempt status
Transactions. Dwight’s transactional experience includes: negotiating oil, gas and mineral leases, commercial leases; formation of planned communities and condominiums and their governing documentation; negotiating and drafting commercial agreements of sale and purchase and the consummation of sale and purchase transactions; easements, restrictive covenants, drafting zoning and other municipal ordinance provisions and amendments.
He has served as a municipal solicitor; has been appointed a special Landlord-Tenant Arbitrator in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County arbitration division; serves as Chairman of the Upper St. Clair Zoning Hearing Board and was the first chairman of the Pittsburgh chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society.
Dwight and his wife, Janine reside in Upper St. Clair, and have three daughters and one son.
Select Representative Experience
- Representing landowners in challenging the constitutionality of forced unitization and pooling in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. Matteo et al. v. Hilcorp Energy Company et al. No. 266 MD 2014
- Representing landowners challenging the constitutionality of permitting unconventional (deep) gas and oil drilling in conservation, residential, and agricultural zoning districts in both Robinson Township, Washington County, PA and Mahoning Township, PA.
- Represented the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust in appeals before Pa. Supreme Court on tax exempt status of buildings in Pittsburgh’s cultural district. In re: Appeal of the City of Pittsburgh, Nos. 337 WAL 2009; 338 WAL 2009 (Pa. 2011)
- Represented common pleas court judge as property owner in defending the constitutionality of the Private Roads Act. In re: Opening Private Road for Benefit of O’Reilly, 5 A.3d 246 (Pa. 2010).
- Established scope of statewide preemption associated with local regulation of gas drilling operations under the Oil & Gas Act. Huntley & Huntley, Inc. v. Borough of Oakmont, 964 A.2d 855 (Pa. 2009).
- Successfully represented surface mining company in seeking approval of surface mining in residentially zoned district on temporary variance & special exception for temporary uses theories.
- Represented regional commercial property owner in challenging validity of historic designation of city’s “historical” district. Union Real Estate v. City of Greensburg, Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, PA., No. 5028 of 2009.
- Represented several regional outdoor advertising companies in challenging validity of municipal zoning ordinances as exclusionary.
- Represented lessor to outdoor advertising company in establishing that property following condemnation by eminent domain justified use variance for outdoor advertising devices. POA Co. v. Findlay Tp. Zoning Hearing Bd., 713 A.2d 70 (Pa. 1998).
- Successful challenge of municipal licensing fees as improper tax. Martin Media v. Hempfield Tp. Zoning Hearing Bd. 671 A.2d 1211, (Pa. Cmwlth., 1996).
- Seminal case on public official bias in quasi-judicial proceedings. Prin v. Council of Municipality of Monroeville, 645 A.2d 450 (Pa. Cmwlth., 1994).
- Represented former Black & Decker CEO in Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law and Fraud action against national real estate brokerage. Farley v. Coldwell Banker Real Estate, Inc. et al., Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, PA., No. GD 08-007409
- Local Counsel to national insurance and bank repossession automotive auctions and dealers.
Select Representative Publications and Presentations
- Fate of Pennsylvania’s Private Roads Act, Allegheny County Bar Association Real Property Section, January, 2011.
- Validity Standards for License and Permit Fees, 1997 Municipal Law Colloquium, Volume I, pp. 424-435 (Copyright 1997, The Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Mechanicsburg, PA.)
- Zoning and Zoning Hearing Boards, Major Land Use Laws in Pennsylvania, National Business Institute, pp. 19-67 and Recent Trends and Municipal Government Perspectives, pp. 133-157(Copyright 1997, NBI, Inc. Eau Claire, WI)
- Faculty Member for Pennsylvania Bar Institute and National Business Institute continuing legal education seminars
- Bar Admissions
- Pennsylvania Supreme Court
- United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
- United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
- Professional Memberships
- Allegheny County Bar Association – Real Property Section
- Pennsylvania Bar Association
University of Pittsburgh School of Law, J.D.
University of Pittsburgh, B.A., Philosophy