Stephen A. Ryan

Stephen A. Ryan: Attorney with Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C. AV stamp icon
  • Chair, Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Liability Practice Group; Chair, Birth Injury Litigation Practice Group at Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C. (504 Attorneys)
  • 620 Freedom Business Center, Suite 300, King Of Prussia, PA 19406
    View Stephen A. Ryan's office location
  • Stephen A. Ryan is a shareholder with Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin and a member of the firm's Healthcare Liability Practice Group as well as Chair of the Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Litigation Practice Group.
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Attorney Awards


As of a member of the Health Care Department, Steve serves as chair of the Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Practice Group and the Birth and Catastrophic Injury Litigation Practice Group. He has 40 years of medical malpractice litigation experience and has tried more than 220 major medical malpractice cases to verdict and participated in many arbitrations and mediations. In his first year with Marshall Dennehey, Steve picked 23 juries and tried 13 medical malpractice cases to verdict, all but one for the defense.

In 2002, The United States Supreme Court upheld Steve's victory in Pappas v. U.S. Healthcare, 724 A.2d 889 (Pa. 1998) (Pappas I) 768 A.2d 1069 (Pa. 2001) (Pappas II), a landmark case involving liability of managed care organizations for medical decisions.

Steve defends drug and medical device manufacturers and monitors these cases and all birth injury defense cases firmwide. Steve also participates in marketing activities and in-house educational seminars, writes articles and speaks on recent developments in the law.

After serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Joseph L. McGlynn, Jr., in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania following graduation, Steve joined a small defense firm where he focused on medical malpractice defense litigation. He helped grow the firm to more than 100 lawyers and, over the next 14 years, became a member of the firm's executive committee. During his tenure at that firm, he handled long-term care litigation, medical device and pharmaceutical liability litigation, professional liability insurance coverage, medical staff and peer review matters, and bio-ethical issues. His malpractice defense caseload evolved into catastrophic injury cases (obstetrical, neonatal, neurosurgical, neurological and anesthesia complications, etc.), and he handled celebrated cases involving surgical mix-ups, crossed oxygen and nitrous oxide ER lines, a baby stolen from a hospital and Lazarus Syndrome. During this time, Steve developed his skills defending cases involving neurologically impaired infants.

In 1992, Steve established his own boutique firm in suburban Philadelphia and then brought his practice to Marshall Dennehey in 1997.

Steve has served as local and national counsel in mass tort drug litigation, including PPA (Phenylpropanolamine), hormone therapy and the Ephedra multi-district litigation. He serves as regional birth and catastrophic injury panel counsel for a major insurer. Steve has completed coursework in basic and advanced mediation techniques, was a part of the Drexel University College of Medicine's inaugural panel of mediators and serves regularly as a mediator in medical malpractice cases.

Classes/Seminars Taught

What is Your Case Worth?, Marshall Dennehey Health Care and Health Law Seminar, November 9, 2017

Instructor, Delay in Diagnosis of Cancer

Malpractice in the ER

Defending the Doctor at Deposition

HMO Liability

Recent Developments in Medical Malpractice

Mini-Trial of an HMO Liability Case, ASHRM 2000 New Orleans, Louisiana

•Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association - Medical Malpractice Trial Techniques Demonstration

• Learn from the Masters Series: Winning Openings and Closings and Winning Direct and Cross, Pennsylvania Bar Institute

Medical Professional Liability Coverage and Law, Insurance Society of Philadelphia

Open Source Proposal for Drugs will Suppress Invention, Temple Law School National Symposium, 2006

Pharmacist Liability, National HealthCare Exposition, Las Vegas, NV, 2006

Interactive Long-Term Care Mini-Trial, ASHRM 2006, San Diego, CA

•Co-presented with Merck's Vioxx Counsel at national summit on Experts and Scientific Evidence in Drug and Medical Device Cases, July 2008

Pro Bono Activities

•Captain, Team Marshall Dennehey (American Cancer Society Bikeathon Team)

Honors & Awards

•AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, 1985-Present
•Attorneys Listed by Best Lawyers in America - Philadelphia Medical Malpractice-Defendants Lawyer of the Year 2013, 2017, 2019; Medical Malpractice Law-Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation-Defendants, 2009-Present
•Pennsylvania Super Lawyer, 2005-2009

Year Joined Organization: 1997


Class Action & The Marshall Dennehey Horns To Compete in Law Rocks Philadelphia For the Philadelphia Bar Foundation
October 2, 2018
Class Action & The Marshall Dennehey Horns, the in-house rock-and-roll band at Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, will compete at the 3rd Annual Law Rocks Philadelphia event on October 18 at the World Cafe Live to raise money for the Philadelphia Bar Foundation. Law Rocks is a...

Two Marshall Dennehey Attorneys Selected 2019 Lawyers of the Year by Best Lawyers in America
August 15, 2018
Two Marshall Dennehey attorneys have been selected 2019 Lawyers of the Year for specific practice and demographic areas by The Best Lawyers in America . Best Lawyers began designating Lawyers of the Year in high-profile legal practice areas in 2009. Only a single lawyer in each legal practice...

Two Marshall Dennehey Attorneys Selected by Best Lawyers in America as 2017 Lawyers of the Year
August 15, 2016
Two Marshall Dennehey attorneys have been selected by Best Lawyers in America as 2017 Lawyers of the Year for specific practice and demographic areas. Timothy J. McMahon, Esquire, shareholder and managing attorney of the Harrisburg office of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, has...

Class Action Band is Headed to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!
August 16, 2013
Class Action, the in-house rock and roll band at Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, will perform in the final round of the 13th Annual Fortune Battle of the Corporate Bands competition, to take place September 28th at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. After...

Four Marshall Dennehey Shareholders Selected Best Lawyers of the Year by Best Lawyers in America
June 14, 2013
Marshall Dennehey is pleased to announce that four of the firm's shareholders have been selected as 2013 Best Lawyers of the Year by Best Lawyers in America . They are: Dennis J. Roman, Pittsburgh, for Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants; Stephen A. Ryan, King of Prussia, for Medical Malpractice...

Steve Ryan (King of Prussia, PA) presented at the National Account Review Meeting for the American College of Nurse Midwifery (ACNM) Insurance Program
October 1, 2011
Steve Ryan (King of Prussia, PA) presented at the National Account Review Meeting for the American College of Nurse Midwifery (ACNM) Insurance Program at Chartis Insurance Company. His presentation, Midwifery and Medical Malpractice, was attended by Chartis claims, underwriting and risk...


Minute With A Member, Pennsylvania Bar News Feature
Articles • August 6, 2018

Why I Have White Hair
Articles • October 1, 2014

On the Pulse...Medical Device & Pharmaceutical Practice Group
Defense Digest Article • September 1, 2010
To be a superior defender of drug and medical device liability cases requires a complement of lawyers and paralegals with medical, technical and scientific experience and proficiency, and damn good trial skills. Fortunately, Marshall Dennehey has..., Defense Digest, Vol. 16, No. 3, September 2010

Major Victories

Defense Verdict for a Pennsylvania Health System and Urologist.
Dec 31, 2018
We received a defense verdict on no causation in a binding arbitration of a matter venued in Montour County, Pennsylvania, involving a bowel leak following urologic cancer surgery. We represented a Pennsylvania health system and its chief of urology...

Areas of Practice (4)

  • Birth and Catastrophic Injury Litigation
  • Medical Malpractice Defense
  • Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Defense Litigation
  • Affordable Care Act

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
(610) 354-8254  Phone
(610) 354-8299  Fax
University Attended:
Villanova University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, B.A., Political Science, 1972
Law School Attended:
Villanova University School of Law, Villanova, Pennsylvania, J.D., Editorial Board, Villanova Law Review, 1975
Year of First Admission:
1975, U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania; 1982, U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit; 1975, Pennsylvania; 2002, U.S. Supreme Court

Associations & Memberships

•American Society for Healthcare Risk Management
•Defense Research Institute
•Pennsylvania Bar Association Philadelphia Bar Association; Chairman, Medico-Legal Committee, 1985

Reported Cases:
Significant Representative Matters: Successfully defended hospital in case involving patient who coded in E.D., was resuscitated for 32 minutes with no pulse or respirations, was pronounced dead, and a half an hour later, a morgue tech found patient had come back to life and was breathing.; Defended defunct manufacturer of Ephedra containing dietary supplement (whose only asset was a multi-million dollar insurance policy) in a trial in Gainesville, Florida, on a cause brought by a severely disabled young man who suffered a massive stroke, allegedly due to ingestion of our product. Primary defense was on causation, but obtained a no negligence finding as well.; Defended hospital in 17 death cases arising from the crossing of nitrous oxide and oxygen lines in a new emergency department, whereby oxygen outlets delivered nitrous oxide for six months. Worked for two years to create a consensus among multiple defendants as to case values and allocation. Managed to settle all 17 without any discovery being conducted by Plaintiffs, for a total of $2 million, of which hospital paid 31 percent.; Defended hospital in case involving late night vaginal delivery by a resident of a breech presentation of a presumably nonviable gestation, where attending physician did not come in to deliver baby, and child was born alive and survived with global retardation, blindness, spastic quadriplegia and seizure disorder. Parents rejected multi-million dollar offer, and jury returned defense verdict after two days of deliberations.; Defended hospital in case alleging failure to transfer to appropriate tertiary facility for rapid decompression of epidural spinal abscess. HMO had refused to authorize transfer to regional spinal cord injury center and, when joined by hospital as additional defendant, invoked ERISA preemption to dismiss joinder at trial. Settled case for hospital, preserving appellate issue, and obtained reversal in Pennsylvania Superior Court. Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed and HMO petitioned for Certiorari. Met with U.S. Justice and Labor Department appellate litigators, persuaded them to file Amicus brief in support of our position, and briefed the U.S. Supreme Court in opposition to the petition. U.S. Supreme Court denied Certiorari, letting stand the first state case in the country to recognize that ERISA does not protect benefit determinations which amount to negligent medical care decisions.; Defense verdict in Philadelphia case involving 49-year-old man whose cerebral aneurysm was clipped, and the clip slipped, leaving him severely brain damaged and living in a group home with a normal life expectancy and over $10,000 per month in expenses. Interventional cerebrovascular neurosurgeon was sole defendant and his excess carrier was insolvent. Attempts to negotiate a high-low agreement were unsuccessful. Case nominated for Defense Research Institute's Defense Verdict of the Year.; Defended manufacturer of dietary supplement containing Ephedra in over 60 state and federal cases nationwide involving stroke, myocardial infarction, or sudden cardiac death. Worked with world class medical experts to develop alternate causation theories and presented the Defense Counsel Committee's cardiac electrophysiology expert at the Ephedra MDL Daubert hearing in U.S. District Court, S.D.N.Y. Succeeded in precluding plaintiffs' generic causation experts from opining that Ephedra lengthens the Q-T interval or exacerbates Long Q-T Syndrome, thereby causing sudden cardiac death.; Representative Cases: Willett v. CAT Fund; Montgomery Hospital v. CAT Fund; Pappas v. U.S. Healthcare; Rigmaiden v. Metropolitan Hospital, et al.; Published Works: Minute With a Member, Pennsylvania Bar News Feature, August 6, 2018; Why I Have White Hair, For The Record, October 2014 (an update on health care documentation and recordkeeping); Managing the Hospital-Based High Visibility Catastrophic Incident, Pennsylvania Society for Healthcare Risk Management Newsletter; Pitfalls in Medical Record Documentation, RT Image, Society of Radiologic Technologists magazine; Claim Based on Doctor's Alleged Guarantee of Result Must Be In Writing, Defense Digest, 1999; Doctor's Alleged Guarantee of Result Must Be In Writing: Flora v. Moses Provides Sound Reasoning, Pennsylvania Law Weekly, 1999; Pennsylvania's 'Error In Judgment' Jury Instruction Upheld, Defense Digest, 2000; Liability of Managed Care Organizations for Negligent Decisions Causing Harm: Will U.S. Supreme Court Speak or Let Congress Decide?, The Specialist, newsletter of the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters Society, 2001; ERISA Preemption of Medical Negligence Claims Against HMO's: Perceived Conflict Between Pennsylvania Supreme Court and 3rd Circuit Paves Way for Showdown in U.S. Supreme Court, Journal of Healthcare Risk Management, 2001; Medical Devices and Double Secret Probation, Defense Digest, 2006

Peer Reviews

A Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rating reflects a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating.

*Peer Reviews provided before April 15, 2008 are not displayed.

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King Of Prussia, Pennsylvania

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