Lauren DeBruicker practices in the areas of commercial and insurance coverage litigation, with an emphasis on matters involving intellectual property. She has litigated multimillion-dollar cases concerning patents, trademarks, copyrights, licensing disputes, trade secrets and covenants not to compete, in areas ranging from drug delivery systems and pharmaceutical products to Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony systems, computer software and photography. In a recent matter, Ms. DeBruicker represented a foreign inventor in a multinational patent, license and employment dispute, securing in settlement a lucrative license from a Fortune 50 company for her client's novel drug delivery technology. She has represented insurance carriers in coverage disputes and other litigation relating to the business of insurance and has secured insurance policy proceeds on behalf of the firm's individual and corporate clients.
Ms. DeBruicker also has represented plaintiffs and defendants in employment disputes, and defended organizations from liability arising from alleged criminal acts of their employees. Actively involved in the nonprofit sector, Ms. DeBruicker has represented charitable organizations in matters relating to their tax-exempt status and advises foundations on governance and other matters.
Ms. DeBruicker has tried cases to verdict in courts across the country, and obtained results consistently affirmed on appeal. Through targeted discovery and strategic motion practice, Ms. DeBruicker has been particularly effective in helping clients resolve their business disputes efficiently, successfully, and, when desired, out of court. She has been commended by clients for results that are particularly suited to a client's business needs, satisfying executives and protecting shareholder value.
In addition to her litigation experience, Ms. DeBruicker has been a presenter at trade association meetings on legal issues surrounding commercial contracts, taught courses on the fundamentals of insurance coverage analysis and bad faith to legal and insurance professionals on behalf of the Insurance Society of Pennsylvania, and taught trial skills to area high school students. A wheelchair user since 1991, Ms. DeBruicker is a frequent speaker on issues of disability in the workplace, has advised many in the community on issues of access and home health care, and has negotiated accommodations in housing and employment for people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other law. She holds certificates in Nonprofit Management and Fundraising from The Nonprofit Center at La Salle University's School of Business.
In 2006, Ms. DeBruicker was named a Pennsylvania Rising Star in business litigation by Philadelphia Magazine. Rising Stars are chosen by their peers as being among the top up-and-coming lawyers 40 years old or younger, or in practice 10 years or less, in Pennsylvania. She has also been a member of the American Inn of Court at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Ms. DeBruicker is a member of the Board of Directors of the Inglis Foundation, HelpHOPELive, and the Philadelphia Chapter of the Buoniconti Fund, the national fundraising arm for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. She has served terms on the National Board of Advisors of the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, the Presidents' Council of Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the National Leadership Council of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. Ms. DeBruicker is a 1998 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a 1994 graduate of Stanford University.
· Defended and secured insurance proceeds for Beebe Hospital in a Delaware class action relating to sexual abuse arising out of the acts of pediatrician Earl Bradley (Jane Doe v. Bradley, et al.), achieving a class settlement of over 1100 claims and saving the hospital from bankruptcy.
· Obtained a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirming a district court decision made pursuant to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act that refused to confirm an arbitration award that had been entered against the client, a bank owned by the government of Brazil.
· Obtained a summary judgment ruling in favor of a major manufacturer of building materials on its false advertising claims against an entity that billed itself as providing unbiased information about roofing products sold in Washington state. A federal court determined that the entity's statements about the client's roofing shingles were false and misleading in violation of the Lanham Act and the Washington Consumer Protection Act and permanently enjoined it from making such statements in the future.
· Successfully represented a foreign inventor in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in multimillion-dollar case involving claims of a breach of and fraudulent inducement into a license agreement, breach of confidentiality agreement, misappropriation of trade secrets and intentional patent infringement of gelatin-free capsule technology for pharmaceutical and nutritional applications. Following successful ruling under Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 517 U.S. 370 (1996), one of the first District Court opinions to apply the en banc opinion of Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303 (Fed. Cir. 2005), negotiated favorable outcome for the client and an ongoing license to her technology.
· Defended Vonage Holdings Corp, a Voice-over-Internet provider, against claims for $100 million in damages for intentional patent infringement brought by other leaders of the telecommunications industry.
· Defended CertainTeed Corporation before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in an opposition action that alleged CertainTeed's trademark for its prefinished fiber cement product line was confusingly similar to a competitor's registered mark. Resolved matter out of court and secured the registration of client's trademark.
· Represent a manufacturer of surgical devices in a license dispute with a former distributor involving issues of trademark and patent infringement and violation of FDA 501(k).
· Defended healthcare market research executive against claims for breach of restrictive covenant and theft of trade secrets, and in counterclaims for interference with contractual relations, unfair competition, libel and misappropriation of right of publicity. Matter resolved out of court with minimum client exposure.
· Represented photographer in copyright infringement action for the improper and uncompensated use of photographs in nationwide advertisements in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Secured settlement that client found favorable.
· Represented the Pennsylvania and National Associations of Independent Schools in numerous precedent setting cases in Pennsylvania; authored widely-cited amicus curiae brief on propriety of injunctive relief in school disciplinary matters.
· Represented reinsurer in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in its multi-million dollar claim against specialty software developer for fraudulent inducement to license, faulty design and failed implementation of business-critical software package. Following initial discovery and motion practice, secured settlement client found favorable.
· Obtained summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for a client insured for attorney's fees and indemnity costs incurred in a copyright infringement action in Florida. Very favorable ruling received entitling client to recover not only costs incurred in defending the lawsuit but also incurred in pursuing counterclaims in the same action, and a portion of the amounts paid to settle the underlying litigation. TIG Ins. Co. v. Nobel Learning Cmtys., Inc., No. Civ.A. 01-4708, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10870 (E.D. Pa. June 18, 2002).
· Defended a reinsurance company in an action by an insolvent insurer and its principal over rescission of policy and denial of benefits. Obtained a summary dismissal on a matter of first impression in Pennsylvania, which was affirmed by the Third Circuit. Colonial Assurance Co. and Louis Mazzella v. The Mercantile and General Reinsurance Company Ltd., No. 04-1106, 130 Fed. Appx. 607 (3rd Cir. 2005).
· Counsel to pharmaceutical corporation pursuing multimillion-dollar claim against insurer in liquidation for defense costs incurred in diet drug product liability litigation.
· Counsel to physician in pursuing benefits under disability insurance policy in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which resulted in a favorable settlement for our client.
· Defended real estate investor in against claims of breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation in which developer sought multimillion-dollar damage award in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Secured verdict in favor of client that was affirmed on appeal.
· Defended telecommunications and networking services company against attempt by former executive and majority shareholder to regain control of company and appoint custodian of the organization. Pursued counterclaims for breach of stock repurchase agreements, breach of fiduciary duties, fraudulent misrepresentation, interference with contractual relations, and conspiracy, alleging former executive steered the company to financial peril and sabotaged the company's business by siphoning off client accounts to a family-owned competitor. Following client's motion for summary judgment, settled out of court on terms client found favorable.
· Representation of American Refining Group in disputes with water treatment service provider over agreement to manage steam production and cooling water processing facilities in oil refinery operations, saving client over $1,000,000 in fees and operating losses.
· Representation of American Refining Group and its affiliates in claims by former contractor seeking wages and employee benefits under employment agreement and Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law in Pennsylvania State Court. Following strategic discovery and motion practice, secured settlement favorable to client, eliminating exposure to over $1,000,000 in alleged damages.
· Defended alternative energy provider Energy Unlimited, Inc. in dispute in Southern California over royalties allegedly owed on revenue from the sale of electrical energy generated by turbines in a California wind park; secured victory on summary judgment.
· Drafted petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of local housing authority regarding the "One Strike" policy of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 requiring all public housing leases require tenants be held strictly liable for criminal acts of family members and guests. Issue decided in pro bono client's favor in Department of Housing v. Rucker, 535 U.S. 125, 128 (U.S. 2002).
· Assistant to Special Master in multi-party construction litigation arising from flooding of multiple office buildings during Tropical Storm Allison; prepared findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding claims alleging over $30,000,000 in damages.
Areas of Practice
· Business Litigation
· Intellectual Property Litigation (Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Unfair Competition)
· Insurance Coverage Disputes
· Insurance Insolvency Matters
· Nonprofit and Tax-Exempt Issues
· Independent School Law Matters
· Drug Delivery Technology Litigation
· Disability Litigation and Counseling
Publications and Speaking Engagements
· Featured in "New Board Chair at Inglis is Quite Able, Thank You," Philadelphia Inquirer, January 29, 2014
· Interviewed, "Lauren DeBruicker: Advocate on Wheels," Diversity & The Bar, March/April 2013
· Quoted, "Time to Reject Perception that Disabilities Are Barriers to Productive Legal Careers," ABA Journal, July 1, 2012
· Co-author, "How Plaintiffs are Playing Their 'Unfortunate Hand': The Impact of PLIVA v. Mensing on Personal Injury Claims Against Generic Drug Manufacturers," GenericsWeb, January 2012
Selected Speaking Engagements
· Speaker, "Expert Discovery After Rule 26 Amendments: Lessons from Recent Cases," Continuing Legal Education Webinar, November 26, 2013
· Featured in "From Her Wheelchair, Rising To Lead," CBSPhilly Positively Philadelphia Podcast, November 10, 2013
· Speaker, "Personal Strategies for Success," ABA National Conference on the Employment of Lawyers with Disabilities, Washington, D.C., May 8, 2012
· Moderator, "Housing Models," The Future of the Disability Housing Market, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 2011
· Instructor, "Rules and Procedures for Federal Court Success," National Business Institute, November 2008
· Panelist, "Keys to Success for Diverse Attorneys: intellect, communication skills, networking within and outside the Firm, marketing new clients and good luck," Duane Morris LLP Diversity Retreat, April 5, 2008
· Instructor, "Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith," Insurance Society of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2003-2006
· Coach and instructor, Baldwin School Mock Trial Team, 2006-2008
· Speaker, "Distributors' Customer Contracts," Fluid Power Distributors Association Fall Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 16, 2000
· Speaker, "Career Opportunities for People with Disabilities," Shriners Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 15, 1999