Beatrice O'Donnell: Lawyer with Duane Morris LLP

Beatrice O'Donnell

Philadelphia,  PA  U.S.A.
Phone215 979 1113

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AV® Preeminent

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Practice Areas

  • Products Liability
  • Professional Liability
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Insurance Litigation
Contact InfoTelephone: 215 979 1113
Fax: 215 689 3618
Law SchoolTemple University School of Law, J.D., 1978
Admitted1978, Pennsylvania; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania; U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois; U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey; Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Memberships American Bar Association (Co-Chair, Mass Torts Committee, Section of Litigation, 2010-present; Executive Committee, Women Advocate Committee); Pennsylvania Bar Association (Co-Chair, 1998-2000, Executive Committee, 1997-1998 and Chair, County Liaison Committee, 1996-1997, Commission on Women in the Profession); Philadelphia Bar Association (Co-Chair, Medico/Legal Committee, 1989; Committee on Women in the Profession); Defense Research Institute (Drug and Medical Device Committee); Temple Inn of the American Inns of Court (Master, 1996-present; Executive Committee, 2005-2006; Team Leader, 2007).

BornPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, June 25, 1953

Beatrice O'Donnell has tried to verdict more than 90 major civil jury trials in both the state and federal courts and has experience in handling hundreds of arbitration and mediations. Her active trial practice focuses in the areas of mass tort, products liability, commercial, patent and healthcare-related litigation. Ms. O'Donnell served as coordinating counsel in mass tort litigation for multiple clients in the areas of asbestos, pharmaceuticals and food supplements. Her products liability experience encompasses a wide range of products, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, tires, multi-piece rims, helicopters, automobiles and chemicals. Whether handled as individual cases or in the mass tort context, Ms. O'Donnell has a wide breadth of experience in developing complex medical and scientific defenses. Ms. O'Donnell has served on the national motion practice team for both Ford Motor Company and General Motors asbestos litigation.

Ms. O'Donnell is currently actively engaged in defense of nuclear related facilities in both property damage and alleged radiation injury matters and has defended nearly 100 personal injury and property damage matters in both the state and federal courts that involve the use, storage and transportation of ultra-hazardous materials. Her litigation experience also encompasses commercial and professional liability matters. Throughout her career, Ms. O'Donnell has defended physicians, midwives, nurses, hospitals, birth centers and nursing homes in medical malpractice, fraud and abuse, and HIPAA-related litigation. In addition, her practice has included the defense of patents and other commercial interests related to the healthcare field. Due to the breadth of her experience and practical approach to problem solving, Ms. O'Donnell has been asked to counsel companies with respect to a wide range of risk management issues such as e-discovery, records retention and coordinated national defense strategy.

Ms. O'Donnell is in the leadership of the Litigation section of the American Bar Association and is currently the ABA Woman Advocate co-chair and immediate past co-chair of the ABA Mass Torts Committee. Ms. O'Donnell has also served as the Section of Litigation liaison to the ABA Committee on Medical Professional Liability. In 2009, she was recognized as Outstanding Subcommittee Chair for her work with the Women Advocate Committee. She is a two-term past co-chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession. Ms. O'Donnell is a Master and former Executive Committee member of the Temple American Inn of Court. Ms. O'Donnell served as a member of Duane Morris' Partners Board from 2007 to 2010 and serves on the Women's Initiative Steering Committee.

In 2007-2013, Ms. O'Donnell was recognized in Best Lawyers in America in the areas of products liability and medical malpractice. From 2003 through 2011 she was designated one of Pennsylvania's "Super Lawyers" in a statewide survey. Only 5 percent of all attorneys in the Commonwealth are eligible for this designation. Ms. O'Donnell has also been named as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

A former judicial clerk to the Hon. Grant E. Wesner of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County, she is a 1978 graduate of Temple University School of Law and a graduate of Temple University.

Representative Matters

· Obtained a defense jury verdict in favor of a concierge physician in a case of alleged medical malpractice, breach of contract and violation of consumer protection statutes. Estate of Julius Newman v. Yardney, M. D. and MDVIP.

· Successful in having a case voluntarily dismissed during the discovery phase on behalf of a licensed nuclear facility in Illinois related to the claimed discharge of radionuclides into the air and groundwater. Sauer v. Exelon Corp. and UniTech.

· Defended cases in both state and federal courts, on behalf of a Fortune 50 pharmaceutical company involving the company's premier biological product against a competitor for purported breach of a critical supply agreement and for patent infringement, favorably settling before trial.

· Case voluntarily dismissed by Plaintiff during the trial of a case of purported improper administration by a neurosurgeon of steroids causing asceptic necrosis of the hips. Heary v. Bruno, M.D.

· Counseled a healthcare related non-profit in its handling of a security breach when a disgruntled employee removed a flash storage drive containing thousands of patients' personal and medical information.

· Obtained a jury verdict in favor of defendant orthopedic surgeon in a case involving a below the knee amputation following a two week trial. Anderson v. Martinez, M.D.

· Resolved a software implementation case brought on behalf of a leading manufacturer of musical instruments.

· Achieved a favorable resolution of a AAA case bought behalf of a gasoline refining company based on the contract for the sale the sale of steam. Sunoco (R & M), Inc. v. Seneca Petroleum Company.

· Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted physician-client's interpretation of the retroactivity of the MCare statute based on amicus brief. Wexler v. Hecht, M.D. (companion case to Bethea v. Philadelphia AFL-CIO Hospital Association).

· Won a jury trial involving catastrophic brain injury allegedly related to a failure to diagnose a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which occurred immediately before the delivery of plaintiff's child. Erlich and Sugarman v. Cohen, Patrick and Pennsylvania Hospital.

· Achieved dismissal of claim against our client, a third-party defendant, after case had been on appeal on the issue of our client's joinder and venue. Forrester v. Sea Gull Manufacturing Co. v. Salkind.

· Mediation of AAA arbitration dispute involving an alleged wrongful termination of warehousing contract on behalf of a major animal products manufacturer, with results that the client found favorable. Bayer Corporation, Animal Products Division.

· Defended a complex insurance coverage case in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which included an award of attorney's fees to our client. Blair v. Ranger Insurance Company.

· Handled the enforcement of an employment agreement that included the recovery of interest, attorney's fees and costs. In re: Thomas Sauer.

· Appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court acknowledging the pharmaceutical industry's ability to provide low cost or free prescription programs without being subject to claims for "negligent promotion." Case dismissed as to the pharma defendant only. Pierce v. Solvay Pharmaceuticals Inc.

· Served as regional and trial counsel for multiple manufacturers' asbestos claims, handling trials, mediations, arbitrations and supervising other local counsel. Fibreboard Corporation, NARCO.

· Long-term counseling of major manufacturer of refractory products regarding the management and coordination of its asbestos cases nationally. Resco Products Inc.

· Achieved the dismissal of a catastrophic injury case after extensive discovery. Schofield v. Acutech.

· Achieved a defense verdict in favor of a physician in a double-amputee case. Wilson v. Daniels.

· Brought a subrogation suit in the Federal District court in New Jersey on behalf of a manufacturer of acetylene gases whose entire property was destroyed in a fire, with an outcome that the client found favorable. Hunterdon Industrial Gases v. Kistler-O'Brien Fire Protection.

· Successful appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court upholding the grant of summary judgment on behalf of a medical laboratory's alleged mishandling of a company's prospective employee's drug sample. Ney v. Medtox Laboratories.

· Tried to verdict the first Fen-Phen cases in Pennsylvania and one of the first cases tried nationally. Scott v. Wyeth v. Guinta.

· Won an arbitration among co-defendants despite client being the target defendant after the parties agreed to settle with plaintiff and arbitrate culpability among the 5 defendants. Pressley v. Dawley.


· Duane Morris LLP
- Partners' Board, 2007-2010
- Partner, 1986-present
- Associate, 1980-1986

· James K. Martin Law Offices, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Staff Attorney, 1979-1980

· Court of Common Pleas of Berks County, Reading, PA
- Judicial Clerk, Honorable Grant E. Wesner, 1978-1979

Professional Activities

· American Bar Association - Section of Litigation
- Woman Advocate Committee, Co-Chair, 2013-
- Mass Torts Committee, Co-Chair, 2010-2013
- ABA Section of Litigation Liaison to the ABA Standing Committee on Medical Liability, 2012-
- "Outstanding Subcommittee Chair Award," May 2009

· Pennsylvania Bar Association
- Commission on Women in the Profession
-- Co-Chair, 1998-2000
-- Executive Committee, 1997-1998
-- Chair, County Liaison Committee, 1996-1997

· Philadelphia Bar Association
- Medico/Legal Committee
-- Co-Chair, 1989
- Committee on Women in the Profession

· Temple Inn of the American Inns of Court, Master, 1996-present
-- Executive Committee, 2005-2006
-- Team Leader, 2007

· U.S. Women in Nuclear, 2009-present

Honors and Awards

· Designated by Best Lawyers in America, 2007-2013, in the areas of products liability and medical malpractice

· Listed in Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, 2004-2013, Top 50 Women Lawyers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 2009-2011

· Named to the 2011 Irish Legal 100, Irish America magazine's listing of the leading Irish and Irish-American lawyers practicing in North America

· 2009 Outstanding Subcommittee Chair-ABA Women Advocate Committee

Board Memberships

· Board of Directors, The Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers, 2013-

· Board of Visitors, School of Environmental Design and Ambler Campus, Temple University, 2011-present

· Board of Trustees, Muhlenberg College, 2010-present, Development, Faculty Review, Campus Life, HMMS Committee and On-Line Task Force

· Board of Observers, Muhlenberg College, 2008-2009

· Parents Council, Muhlenberg College, 2007-2008, Chair 2009-2010

· Board of Directors, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, 1996-2008
- Executive Committee, 2007
- Development Committee, 2009

· Act II Playhouse, External Affairs Committee, 2012-present


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Office Information

Beatrice O'Donnell

30 South 17th Street
PhiladelphiaPA 19103-7396


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