Sharon's litigation and trial practice focuses on the defense of private and public entities in a wide array of professional liability and employment law matters, education law matters, medical liability, complex general liability, and class action matters brought in federal and state courts, state agencies, labor boards, and educational agencies.
She handles alleged wrongful termination actions that include 1983 and First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment claims in federal suits filed in the Middle and Eastern Districts of Pennsylvania. Sharon defends a wide variety of matters including those brought under the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law and related claims brought in state law actions filed in county courts. Sharon has also defended individual, collective, and class actions brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law, as well as the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act, the Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Law, and related claims.
Sharon's agency practice involves actions brought to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, and special education matters brought in the Pennsylvania Special Education Office for Dispute Resolution.
The employment matters that Sharon handles, typically involve claims brought in alleged unlawful discrimination and retaliation matters involving Title VII actions, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and other similar federal statutes. Sharon also defends school districts in due process matters brought under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act and related federal and state statutes where a free appropriate public education (FAPE) is typically disputed or related educational services are challenged relating to both gifted and disabled students.
Sharon's practice also involves the defense of matters brought to arbitration under the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Act and further provides defense litigation support to public entity solicitors as requested in matters ranging from education issues to employment matters.
Sharon's professional liability practice involves the defense of realtors, insurance agents and brokers, residential and commercial real estate appraisers, and other licensed professionals, including health care professionals, brought in negligence actions in federal and/or state court, and licensing matters brought before the Bureau of Occupational and Professional Affairs. In addition, she has experience in handling construction litigation matters.
Sharon provides defense litigation services to all of her clients who range from self-insured corporations to private and public entities insured under errors & omissions, directors & officers, professional liability and employment liability practices insurance policies.
In 1990 Sharon graduated from Kings' College, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and achieved a juris doctor from Widener University School of Law, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in May 1996. Sharon joined Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin in August 1996. She was elected shareholder in 2004.
Sharon has published several articles, some of which have appeared in Pittsburgh Legal Journal and the Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly. She also speaks to various organizations on employment, education, and professional liability litigation issues.
•Education Law and related statutory and legal updates to various school districts, insurance companies and professional associations, 2005-2015
•Employment Law and related statutory and legal updates to various school districts, insurance companies and professional associations, 2005-2015
•Pennsylvania Special Education Law Seminar, National Business Institute, December 2, 2011
•Lawfully Managing Student Records Without Violating Privacy Rights, National Business Institute, June 6, 2013
•Hot Topics in Employment Law, Cumberland County Society for Human Resource Managers, 2002
• U.S. Supreme Court Pulls the Plug on DOMA and Opens the Floodgates to Litigation, Defense Digest, Vol. 19, No. 3, September 2013
• A Judgment that Doesn't Bear Repeating, PBA Civil Litigation Section Newsletter, Civil Litigation Update, Vol. 6, No. 1, Winter, 2001
• Plaintiff Rues Preclusive Effect of Workers' Compensation Decision in Third Party Tort Action, Defense Digest, June Vol. 6, No. 3, 2000
• Pennsylvania Bar Claims for Sexual Assault Where Repressed Memory Delays Commencement of Suit, Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4, Oct., 1998
• Repressed Memory of Sexual Assault Does Not Trigger Discovery Rule, Pittsburgh Legal Journal, Vol. 123, No. 223 Daily Ed., Nov. 25, 1997
Honors & Awards
•Pennsylvania Super Lawyer Rising Star, 2005
Sharon ODonnell (Harrisburg) was on the faculty at the Pennsylvania Special Education Law seminar
January 12, 2012
Sharon O'Donnell (Harrisburg) was on the faculty at the Pennsylvania Special Education Law seminar hosted by NBI (the National Business Institute). This CLE program, which was held at the Crowne Plaza, Harrisburg focused on special education law. Sharon's portion of the program specifically focused...
Pennsylvania Special Education Law Seminar Seminar Dec 2, 2011
Sharon O'Donnell, Esquire will be on the faculty at the Pennsylvania Special Education Law seminar on December 2, 2011 hosted by NBI (the National Business Institute). This CLE program, which will be held at the Crowne Plaza, Harrisburg will...
Lawfully Managing Student Records Without Violating Privacy Rights Seminar Jun 6, 2013
This live seminar is designed for teachers and administrators serving grades K-12, principals, vice-principals, superintendents, counselors, school psychologists, guidance counselors, social workers, school nurses and school support staff. School...
Legal Updates for Employment Law
Law Alerts April 8, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court determines that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires a new standard.by Candace D. Embry, Esq.*The U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., on March 25, 2015, in which the Court..., The material in this law alert has been prepared for our readers by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin. It is solely intended to provide information on recent legal developments, and is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific...
U.S. Supreme Court Pulls the Plug on DOMA and Opens the Floodgates to Litigation
Defense Digest Article September 1, 2013
by Sharon M. O'Donnell, Esq. *Key Points:Same-sex couples are now a protected class under federal law.Defense of Marriage Act struck down as unconstitutional...., Defense Digest, Vol. 19, No. 3, September 2013Defense Digest is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide...
Claims Against School Board Member Dismissed Jun 8, 2015
Won a dismissal of a school board member on a 12(b)(6) motion. The board member was sued for defamatory comments made during a public school board meeting about a teacher who was terminated from her employment with the district. The board member was...
School District Prevails in Blogging Teacher Case Feb 16, 2015
Obtained summary judgment in favor of a Pennsylvania school district and its administrators who terminated a high school teacher for blogging derogatory comments about her students. The plaintiff argued that her blog entries were free speech...