Sheila Raftery Wiggins practices in the area of litigation and was recently selected as one of the state's "40 Under 40" by the New Jersey Law Journal. Ms. Wiggins handles matters involving complex commercial disputes, mortgage and banking fraud, employment law defense, attorney ethics investigations, bankruptcy litigation, and insurance coverage disputes. She has extensive experience representing clients before state and federal trial courts, on appeal, and at arbitration hearings and mediations.
Ms. Wiggins is active in several community and civic organizations, including the Supreme Court of New Jersey District V-A Ethics Committee, The Women Advocate Committee of the American Bar Association and the Women's Law Caucus Mentoring Program of Temple University Beasley School of Law. She serves on the Board of Directors of Musical Chairs Chamber Ensemble, a nonprofit corporation that supports classical musicians in the New York metropolitan area. She is also a member of the Civil Bench Bar, Civil Litigation, and Law and Employment sections of the Essex County Bar Association and a member of the Professional Responsibility, Women In The Profession and Labor and Employment sections of the Philadelphia County Bar Association.
Ms. Wiggins is admitted to practice in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. She is a 1998 graduate of Temple University School of Law, where she was business editor of the Temple International and Comparative Law Journal, and where she competed in regional and national competitions as a member of Temple's Negotiation Team.
Areas of Practice
- Commercial Litigation
- Employment Law Defense and Internal Investigations
- Bankruptcy Litigation
- Trade Secret And Restrictive Covenant Litigation
- Attorney Ethics
- Obtained a dismissal of two appeals against JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. in the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division-Second Judicial Department, concerning the borrower's standing to bring the appeals.
- 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.
- Obtained on behalf of JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. from the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division-Second Judicial Department, an affirmation of a lower court ruling that property transferred pursuant to a judgment imposing a construct trust is transferred subject to the existing lien.
- Obtained an order from the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissing eight counts of a nine-count class action complaint claiming that the client mortgage bank charged improper fees for reinstating or paying off mortgages.
- Represented a national bank in a "property flipping" case alleging state and federal consumer fraud and civil rights violations arising from the marketing, sale and mortgage procurement of several groups of properties.
- Represented a national bank in fraud cases arising from agreements and letters of credit which the bank had with its customers.
- Defended major fashion house in banking fraud case arising from the theft of funds by employee.
- Defended corporate clients against fraudulent conveyance claims arising from bankruptcies, corporate change of control, or other challenged transactions.
- Investigated claims on behalf of the committee of unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy of a real estate developer and related companies.
- Defended leading financial institution in a lawsuit arising from its role as indenture trustee for holders of publicly-issued notes and credit agreements.
- Defended a major brokerage firm in an action alleging gender and racial harassment and wage discrimination by obtaining summary judgment on all counts. Ruling was affirmed on appeal by the New Jersey Appellate Division.
- Counsel to national companies in trade secret and restrictive covenant injunction matters in federal and state court. Obtained favorable rulings against former employees of national companies to prevent employees from working for competitors and from soliciting clients.
- Obtained dismissal for healthcare employer of same-sex sexual harassment and wage discrimination lawsuit.
- Obtained summary judgment for a large interstate cargo carrier in a litigation arising under the Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification ("WARN") Act.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of the Las Vegas Sands in its action against ACE Gaming, LLC for breach of a trademark-licensing agreement regarding the use of the "Sands" trademark.
- Represented a major gaming industry company in a license-agreement dispute with a casino.
- Obtained a favorable ruling on behalf of a health care provider in a partnership dispute. Obtained a favorable ruling for a company based on a partnership agreement to remove the other partner from the business.
- Represented companies in litigation arising from commercial distribution agreements.
- Represented entities regarding alleged breach of lease lawsuits in New York and New Jersey.
- Appointed to investigate and to litigate ethics grievances against attorneys for the Supreme Court of New Jersey District V-A Ethics Committee.
- In a precedent setting decision, obtained summary judgment that New York’s common law strict “no-prejudice” rule barring coverage for late notice continues to apply to policies with New York choice of law clauses that are not subject to NY Ins. Law s. 3420 (which creates a prejudice requirement for certain policies) because those policies were issued and delivered outside of New York; therefore, insurer with policy issued and delivered outside of New York had no duty to defend or indemnify insured as a matter of New York law with respect to $10 million coverage for $40+ million in claims that were tendered to the insurer months and years late, and the insurer did not need to demonstrate prejudice.
- Represented numerous insurance companies in disputes regarding insurance coverage issues, including at arbitration.
- Obtained summary judgment, which was subsequently affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, regarding whether a company can shift coverage for its Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation benefit obligation to an injured employee from its workers compensation insurer to another insurer under a Bumbershoot Policy. The St. Paul Travelers Companies, Inc. v. Corn Island Shipyard, Inc., No. 06-2137 (7th Cir. 2007).
- Represented Holocaust survivors to apply to the German government for benefits relating to work they performed in ghettos in German-occupied areas.
- Represented veteran before U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in appealing the decision of the Board of Veterans' Appeals. Represented tenants regarding breach of lease lawsuit in New Jersey. Assisted victims affected by attacks on World Trade Center with obtaining benefits.
Real Estate Litigation
Insurance Coverage Litigation
Pro Bono Litigation and Matters
- New Jersey
- New York
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
- Temple University School of Law, J.D., 1998
Internships: Volunteers for the Indigent Program of Philadelphia; The Honorable Diane Welsh, U.S.M.J.; New York County District Attorney's Office; Richmond County District Attorney's Office; City of Philadelphia Law Department
- Binghamton University, B.A., 1995
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2008-present
- Associate, 2003-2007
- Gibbons, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger & Vecchione, Newark, New Jersey
- Associate, 2000-2003
- Lavin, Coleman, O'Neil, Ricci, Finarelli & Gray, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Associate, 1998-2000
- Supreme Court of New Jersey District V-A Ethics Committee
- American Bar Association
- New Jersey Liaison for The Woman Advocate Committee of the American Bar Association
- Philadelphia Bar Association
- Member of Professional Responsibility Section, Women In The Profession Section, and Labor and Employment Section
- Essex County Bar Association
- Member of Civil Bench Bar Section, Civil Litigation Section, and Law and Employment Section
- Essex County Delegates' Council
- New York County Bar Association
- New Jersey Superior Court Mediator, Mortgage Mediation Program
Honors and Awards
- Named a Rising Star in the area of Business Litigation by New Jersey Super Lawyers, 2006-2013
- Named one of the New Jersey Law Journal's 2008 "40 Under 40"
- Founding Director, Musical Chairs Chamber Ensemble, New York
Civic and Charitable Activities
- Essex-Newark Legal Services, a nonprofit pro bono organization
- Women's Law Caucus Mentoring Program of Temple University Beasley School of Law
- National Association of Women Lawyers Mentor
- "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Launches Consumer Response Database and Appoints New General Counsel," Duane Morris Alert, June 22, 2012
- "Two Women District Judges Unanimously Appointed to the District of New Jersey," ABA Section of Litigation - Woman Advocate: News and Developments, July 8, 2011
- "Appeals Court Rules N.J. WARN Act May Apply to Parent Companies," Duane Morris Alert, June 27, 2011
- "Defective Drywall Claims Prompt Legislation and Litigation," Guest Article in The Washington Building Congress Bulletin, August/September 2009
- "The Walls Are Closing In: Chinese Drywall Issues Prompt Legislation and Litigation," Duane Morris Alert, May 21, 2009
- "'The Writing Is on the Wall': Defective Drywall Claims Prompt More Legal Action," Building & Bonding: The Construction Group Newsletter, Spring 2009
- "New Law Changes the Calculation of the Statute of Limitations in Pay Discrimination Cases," Duane Morris Alert, January 30, 2009
- "The Loss of Privileged Information by Intentional or Inadvertent Production to a Third Party," New Jersey Law Journal, June 17, 2008
- "The Loss of Privileged Information by Intentional or Inadvertent Production to a Third Party," New Jersey Law Journal, June 16, 2008
- "Invalid Subpoenas Sent Via E-Mail: New and Dangerous Internet Scam," Duane Morris Alert, April 23, 2008
- "What Did They Say? Deciphering When Remarks Are Evidence Of Discriminatory Intent Is A Difficult Task," New York Law Journal, August 27, 2007
- "Minimizing the Impact of Stray Remarks," New Jersey Law Journal, April 9, 2007
- "The Expanding Scope of Lender Liability; Courts Permit Claims to Proceed Against Lenders on Various Theories, From Aiding and Abetting to Fraudulent Conveyance," New Jersey Law Journal, March 12, 2004
- "Safety Net and Measuring Rod: The NAFTA TAA Program, Temple International and Comparative Law Journal, Vol. 12.1, Spring 1998
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Speaker, "New Jersey Professional Responsibility and Ethics," Practising Law Institute New Jersey Basic CLE Marathon 2013, New York, May 28, 2013
- Speaker, "Ethical Considerations When Dealing With Distressed Property," National Business Institute, Newark, New Jersey, July 18, 2012
- "Ethical Considerations When Dealing With Distressed Property," National Business Institute, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, December 13, 2011
- "Ethics in Lending," National Business Institute's Negotiating Real Estate Loan Terms and Workout Options Seminar, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, February 9, 2010; Saddle Brook, New Jersey, February 10, 2010
- "An Update on Bankruptcy Fraud and Ponzi Schemes," White Collar Roundtable presented by Sobel & Co.'s Forensic Accounting/Litigation Support Services Group, New Jersey, December 2, 2009
- "Current Issues Involving Non-Compete Agreements, Protection of Trade Secrets and Duty of Loyalty," New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education seminar presenter, October 8, 2009
- "Chinese Drywall Overview," HB Litigation Conferences Presents Chinese Drywall Litigation, New Orleans, Louisiana, June 18, 2009
- "Coffee with Experience" round-table discussion, American Bar Association conference