Practice Areas & Industries: Duane Morris LLP


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Practice/Industry Group Overview

Sophisticated consumers of legal services require certain qualities of their litigators. They look for depth, specific experience, geographic representation and a well-defined approach to complex matters.

Duane Morris' trial lawyers have the level of industry-specific litigation experience necessary to successfully manage large-case litigation for clients ranging from individuals to Fortune 100 companies.

What Sets Us Apart

Our clients tell us that our strength is in our know-how. Our process is to listen with an experienced ear, understand a client's business needs and objectives, and then fully evaluate appropriate strategies and combination of tactics. We employ an interdisciplinary approach – drawing on the appropriate practice group and industry-specific professionals.

We take our role as counselors seriously. This commitment distinguishes our litigation practice, which features:

Industry Experience and Teams

From electric utilities to chemical, from hospitality to telecommunications, Duane Morris lawyers represent clients in many industries in state and federal trial and appellate courts in the United States and in courts throughout the United Kingdom and European Union. Our collective capabilities are both deep and wide. We assemble teams of lawyers with particularized technical practice backgrounds, as well as individual industry experience.

Extensive Courtroom and ADR Experience

We call ourselves the "trial department" because we actually try cases to verdict. Whenever possible, however, we make use of alternative dispute resolution techniques such as arbitration and mediation to pursue the client's goals.

We advise clients on how to proceed and how judges have handled similar issues previously. We utilize a structured witness preparation program to educate witnesses on giving testimony. We are able to discuss an opponent's strengths and weaknesses. Our industry familiarity allows us to give on-point advice for industry-specific needs.

Geographic Coverage

Our numerous offices allow us to staff each case with local talent who have had experience with the courts, the regulatory authorities and other lawyers in the jurisdiction. Each lawyer's longstanding presence in the local legal community is supported by the firm's lawyers in our offices across the United States and in London.

In London, we try cases, appeals and appearances in specialist divisions of the Construction & Technology and the Commercial Courts. Our London lawyers frequently are retained to monitor activities of regional law firms in the U.K. and elsewhere in the European Union.

Effective Resource Management

We are familiar with an industry's issues and can mobilize human and technological resources immediately. For example, we know how to process and analyze thousands of documents; our computer capabilities are regularly employed by Fortune 100 companies; and we have been a leader in alternative fee structures, including contingent fee and success premiums.

With the firm's advanced Information Services Department, we assist clients by structuring and managing evidence databases, calling upon cutting-edge software for case analysis and risk assessment, and preparing and using multimedia trial presentations, Extranets and other advanced litigation support tools.

Contingency Fee Practice

Our active contingency fee practice is unique among large law firms. We regularly represent clients otherwise unable to pursue large-case litigation.

Here are some of the specific industry areas we serve and litigation practices we maintain:

  • Antitrust and Competition
  • Appellate Practice
  • Arbitration, ADR and Mediation
  • Aviation Law
  • Class Action Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Construction
  • Corporate Litigation
  • Employment Litigation
  • Environmental Litigation
  • Financial Institution Litigation
  • Franchise Litigation
  • Healthcare Litigation
  • Hospitality Industry Litigation
  • Insurance Coverage Litigation
  • Insurance Litigation
  • Intellectual Property Litigation
  • International Arbitration
  • Probate Litigation
  • Products Liability and Toxic Torts
  • Professional Liability Litigation
  • Risk Management
  • Securities Litigation
  • Surety and Fidelity Litigation
  • White Collar Criminal Litigation

Representative Matters

  • Obtained on behalf of Capital One Bank, N. A., and its predecessor in interest, ING Bank, FSB, a dismissal of an appeal before the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Five, upholding a judgment for ING in a dispute that included issues related to the Home Owners Loan Act and the Dodd-Frank Act. The dismissal also left intact a second judgment in favor of ING from the Sonoma County Superior Court.
  • St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company v. Abhe & Svoboda, Inc., 12-cv-01482 (D. Minn. April 29, 2014) - Obtained from the U.S. District Court for Minnesota an order granting summary judgment to St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company rescinding the Policy of insurance in a dispute over a Marine Hull and Protection & Indemnity insurance.
  • Represented Wells Fargo Bank, N. A. and Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, LLC, in Contra Costa County Superior Court, in a multimillion lawsuit stemming from claims of retaliatory eviction and habitability following Wells Fargo's successful foreclosure on an apartment complex in Pittsburg, California. Successfully negotiated a favorable settlement that required financial contributions from neither client.
  • Obtained on behalf of U.S. Bancorp and U.S. Bank National Association, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, a dismissal with prejudice of a high exposure breach of contract, negligence and commercial code violation case.
  • Obtained a settlement on behalf of NEC Corporation and four of its Japanese and U.S. affiliates in MDL antitrust litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California concerning an alleged global price-fixing conspiracy in the LCD flat panel and finished products markets.
  • Won appeal for TD Bank in United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The appeal upheld a prior victory in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland dismissing plaintiffs' claims for fraud concerning mortgage foreclosure and garnishment against twenty-two financial institutions and executive defendants. The District Court dismissed plaintiffs' claims in the entirety for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and then denied motions for reconsideration and to reopen.
  • Obtained a dismissal with prejudice on behalf of Dell Financial Services LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dell Inc., of multimillion-dollar claims under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
  • Obtained an order granting summary judgment that Great American Insurance Company and Great American Insurance Company of New York had no duty to defend or indemnify an insured with respect to an underlying lawsuit involving pollution claims. The coverage action was filed in Federal District Court in San Francisco.
  • Obtained an appellate victory in favor of JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. in the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware regarding: Delaware's "two-dismissal" rule of Rule 41; when a motion to dismiss should be converted to a motion for summary judgment; and the trial court's discretion to strike an answer when a defendant fails to file an affidavit of merit as required by statute.
  • 7-Eleven, Inc. v. Upadhyaya, ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2013 WL 765661 (E.D. Pa. 2013) - Obtained permanent injunction requiring franchisee to surrender convenience store following a full bench trial during which it was established that franchisees had systematically defrauded the franchisor by concealing sales.
  • Represented the Pennsylvania Department of Treasury in defeating a putative class action brought by property owners, who were seeking as much as $54 million from the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office in excess proceeds from property auctions.
  • Obtained a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah precluding the "every breath" opinion under Daubert in Smith v. Ford Motor Co., et al., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7861 (D. Utah Jan. 18, 2013).
  • Obtained on behalf of the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) a settlement agreement the client found very favorable in a hotly-contested 15-year long class action lawsuit regarding home-heating subsidies in which plaintiffs originally sought tens of millions of dollars.
  • Defended The Hartford Insurance Company and its insured, Jorda Enterprises Inc., an HVAC subcontractor, in an equitable subrogation action which sought more than $3 million in damages relating to a pipe burst at a luxury condominium building located in Miami, Fla., which coincided with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Court entered summary judgment in favor of Jorda, finding that: there was no valid release from the Condominium Association which permitted the subrogation claim to be brought; the Association previously released Jorda in earlier construction litigation when the subrogation claim had not been perfected by payment; and, the subrogation claim was barred by res judicata. QBE Insurance Corporation v. Jorda Enterprises, Inc., No. 10-21107 CIV-GOLD (S.D. Fla. 2012).
  • Co-lead counsel for the Attorney General of Pennsylvania in his product liability lawsuit against the tobacco industry that recently culminated in an historic settlement for Pennsylvania in the amount of $11.2 billion.
  • Represented Honda dealers in their civil RICO and antitrust claims against American Honda Motor Co., its Japanese parent corporation, and other defendants.
  • In a landmark decision, successfully defended ElcomSoft, a Russian software company, facing up to five counts of criminal violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and $2.5 million in fines. The case was the first criminal trial under the DMCA which bans software tools that bypass encryption on digitally copyrighted works.
  • Lead counsel for Washington Mutual in massive antitrust case filed by American Express against Visa, MasterCard, and various banks with respect to network rules relating to issuance of credit cards; resolution that client found favorable.


Services Available

Group Presentations
  Duane Morris' Michael E. Clark to Present at ABA's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Mock Trial Institute , Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Houston , November 16, 2016
Duane Morris Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Joseph West to Speak at 2016 ABA Section of Litigation Professional Success Summit , Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, Atlanta , November 14, 2016
Duane Morris' Michael E. Clark to Present at ABA's Third Medical Device & Healthcare Technology Compliance Institute , Jones Day, Washington, D.C. , October 13, 2016
Duane Morris Partner Robert Hopkins to Present at HarrisMartin's Consumer Products Litigation Conference , Hotel Nikko San Francisco, San Francisco , October 3, 2016
Pearls of Wisdom from the Bench: A Conversation with Bay Area Judges , Duane Morris LLP, San Francisco , August 25, 2016
See more...
Past Seminar Materials
  Duane Morris Attorney Michael E. Clark to Present "Steering Your Firm Through the Fog of the 'Cloud': How to Navigate Before You are Navigated", June 15, 2015
Duane Morris Attorneys Will Speak at the 2015 Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee CLE Seminar, Tucson, AZ, March 4, 2015
Duane Morris Partner Beatrice O'Donnell to Moderate an Interactive Workshop, "Navigating Tough Trial Issues and Making the Hard Calls" at the 2015 ABA Corporate Counsel CLE Seminar, Miami, FL, February 12, 2015
Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:

Discharge Exception for Fraud by Corporate Insider Is More Broad Than Circuit Court of Appeals Had Thought
, July 22, 2016
On May 16, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its opinion in Husky International Electronics, Inc. v. Ritz, Case No. 15-145.