Alan C. Kessler practices in the area of commercial litigation with a focus on class actions and other complex litigation, government relations and general counseling. Mr. Kessler represents real estate developers, banks, airlines, healthcare institutions and hospitals and alternative energy companies.
Mr. Kessler has worked with a wide range of clients, including small closely-held entrepreneurial companies, closely-held public companies, Fortune 100 companies, real estate developers, real estate management companies, healthcare providers, an entertainment industry company, a major airline, IT company, charter schools, franchisors, franchisees, electronics companies, consumer product companies, municipal authorities, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Authorities and other governmental agencies.
Mr. Kessler's public service activities include serving as a member of the Clinton/Gore Presidential Transition Team in 1991-1992; as a presidential appointee by President Clinton as the vice chair of the Presidential/Congressional Commission on Risk Assessment and Risk Management (1994-1998); and as a presidential appointee by President Clinton, confirmed by the U.S. Senate, to the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service. He was elected chair of the USPS Board of Governors in 2008, having served as vice chair since 2005, and President Obama appointed him to a second term, with the Senate confirming, in 2009. He also has served as finance vice chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), as a national finance vice chair of Gore 2000, Vice President Gore's presidential campaign, and as a national finance chair of Hillary for President in 2008 and 2016.
On a regional level, Mr. Kessler was a Township Commissioner for Lower Merion Township and a member of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. Mr. Kessler previously acted as co-chair of the Mayor's Transition Committee for Mayor Edward Rendell (1992) and as a member of the Executive Committee of Philadelphia 2000. He served as a member and co-chair of Governor Rendell's transition team. He was a member of the Electoral College for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2000. Additionally, he is or was a member of the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, Drexel University, Penn Medicine Campaign Cabinet, Central Philadelphia Development Corporation, where he serves as a member of the Executive Committee, World Affairs Council, Economy League of Greater Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, a state fiscal oversight board for the City of Philadelphia, where he serves as Vice Chair. He was also appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court as chair of the Supreme Court's Continuing Legal Education Board. Mr. Kessler also was appointed by Governor Rendell as finance chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.
Mr. Kessler is a 1975 graduate, with honors, of the University of Maryland School of Law and a graduate, with honors, of the University of Delaware.
Areas of Practice
- Commercial Litigation
- Government Relations
- Obtained dismissal after successfully arguing the opposition of the certification of a proposed 180,000 person consumer class action, which accused Kennedy Health System and its document processor of illegally overcharging patients millions of dollars for access to medical records.
- Obtained an Order on behalf of the City of Reading, PA from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of PA voiding a Commonwealth Court ruling, thus allowing to stand the City's recycling user fee, which supported costs associated with the City's recycling program.
- Involved in a substantial number of procurements in diverse industries, including transportation, telecommunications, media, and advertising, as well as representing educational and governmental entities. Said representations have included all aspects of said procurements, including litigation arising therefrom.
- Substantial experience in the defense and litigation of class action claims in both federal and state court.
- Represented a Fortune 500 manufacturer of chemicals and construction products in the defense of claims brought in one of the largest class actions ever filed, In re Asbestos School Litig., Master File No. 83-0268 (E.D. Pa.). The toxic-tort class action, brought on behalf of more than 35,000 plaintiffs, sought damages estimated in the billions of dollars, as well as equitable relief.
- Represented manufacturer in nationwide class action suit brought on behalf of all building owners who lease or sublease their properties to federal agencies, Prince George Center v. U.S. Gypsum Co., et al., No. 5388 (Ct. Com. Pl. Phila. May Term, 1986). Plaintiffs sought damages and injunctive relief arising from the purported need to remove asbestos-containing construction products from more than 100,000 properties.
- Defense of class claims brought against construction product and chemical manufacturer on behalf of all colleges and universities across the United States, Central Wesleyan College v. W.R. Grace & Co., et al., C.A. No. 2:87-1860-2 (D.S.C), and in a statewide class action brought on behalf of all Michigan school districts, Board of Education of the School District of the City of Detroit v. Celotex Corp., C.A. No. 84-42634 NP (Cir.Ct. Mich.).
- Defended claims brought in federal and state courts by individual property owners in cases frequently involving 200–300 buildings, e.g., Catasagua Area School Dist. v. Raymark Industries, Inc.., No. 85-3743 (E.D. Pa.), and Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania v. W.R. Grace & Co., No. 2497 (Ct. Com. Pl. Phila. Oct. Term, 1985).
- Member of a national committee and class-action subcommittee responsible for coordination and direction of litigation in more than 150 cases, both class actions and individual lawsuits, brought in forums across the country arising from claims brought for abatement of asbestos-containing building products.
- Represented the housing authority of a major city in the defense of a class action brought on behalf of approximately 100,000 public-housing residents against various governmental agencies and lead-paint manufacturers that seeks more than $30 million in damages as well as injunctive relief arising from the alleged presence of lead-based paint in over 5,000 public-housing residences. Hurt v. Philadelphia Housing Auth. C.A. No. 91-4746 (E.D. Pa).
- Represented the housing authority in a major city in the defense of a class action in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas involving Jackie McDowell v. Philadelphia Housing Authority, Civil Action No. 97-2302, US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
- Represented the Pennsylvania Treasurer in a class action in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas In re Sheriff's Excess Proceeds Litigation, March Term, 2011, No. 1103-01141, May Term, 2011, No. 1105-0387.
- Representing the public housing authority of a suburban county in a class action brought by Section 8 tenants seeking injunctive and declaratory relief from the alleged presence of lead-based paint in Section 8 housing.
- Represented the department of human services of a major city, and am representing a state, in class actions regarding the provision of child welfare services.
- Extensive experience in both the successful defense and prosecution of major antitrust and securities class action suits in the U.S. district courts for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the Southern District of New York, the District of Maryland, the Northern District of Georgia, the Southern District of Florida, the Western District of Tennessee and the Southern District of Texas. Cases include: In re Craftmatic Securities Litig., Master File No. 88-4530 (E.D. Pa.); In re O'Brien Energy Systems Securities Litig., Master File No. 89-8089 (E.D. Pa.); In re Corrugated Container Antitrust Litig., ISADL No. 310 (S.D. Tex.); and In re Fine Paper Antitrust Litig. MDL No. 323 (E.D. Pa.).
- Representing a major securities brokerage firm in state securities litigation in which the lower court's dismissal of the complaint was affirmed first by the state superior court and recently by the state supreme court.
- Provide antitrust counseling and representation to various clients, including a major women's designer sportswear manufacturer, independent "networkers" of sporting events, a manufacturer of well-known watches, soda and beer distributors, and franchisees in numerous industries including the hotel and food industries.
- Represent public companies in class action securities litigation involving the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and SEC Rules 3b-6, 10b-5, 14a-9 and 174.
- Negotiate and draft contracts in various entertainment law matters.
- Represent candidates for federal, state and local office in election law proceedings.
- Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee
- Supreme Court of the United States
- University of Maryland School of Law, J.D., with honors, 1975
- University of Delaware, B.A., with honors, 1972
- Democratic Appointee on the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority
- American Bar Association
- Section of Antitrust
- Section of Corporations, Banking and Business Law
- Pennsylvania Bar Association
- Philadelphia Bar Association
Honors and Awards
Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, 2015-2022
Listed in Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, 2004-2005 and 2007-2021
- Listed in Best Lawyers Greater Philadelphia, 2016
- Listed in Super Lawyers, Corporate Counsel Edition, 2010 and 2011
- AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
- United States Postal Service Board of Governors, 2000-2011
- Chair, 2008-2009
- Vice Chair, 2005-2008
- Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, 2001-2013
- The Central Philadelphia Development Corporation
- Member, Executive Committee
- Drexel University
- Penn Medicine Campaign Cabinet
Economy League of Greater Philadelphia
Civic and Charitable Activities
- Hillary for President
- National Finance Chair, 2008
- Democratic National Committee
- Finance Vice Chair
- Pennsylvania Democratic Committee
- Finance Chair
- Gore 2000
- National Finance Vice Chair, 2000
- Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Electoral College, 2000
- Philadelphia 2000
- Executive Committee
- Lower Merion Township
- Township Commissioner
- Pennsylvania Supreme Court Continuing Legal Education Board
- Governor Edward Rendell's Transition Team
- Presidential/Congressional Commission on Risk Assessment and Risk Management, 1994-1998
- Mayor's Transition Committee, 1992
- Clinton/Gore Presidential Transition Team, 1991-1992
- Co-author, "Avoiding Improper Use Of CARES Act Airport Grants," Law360, May 18, 2020
- Co-author, "FAA Gives Details on $10 Billion in CARES Act Funds for Airports," Duane Morris Alert, April 20, 2020
- Co-author, "Department of Treasury Issues Guidance on Air Carrier Industry Assistance from CARES Act," Duane Morris Alert, April 7, 2020
- Co-author, "Transportation Industry Gets $100 Billion in Aid from CARES Act," Duane Morris Alerts, April 1, 2020
Quoted in "State Group to Monitor City's Accounting Troubles," Philadelphia Business Journal, June 19, 2018
Quoted in "Are Democrats Enthused for Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf's Reelection Campaign?," The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 9, 2018
- Quoted in "Judge Rejects Class Action Over Excess Sheriff's Sale Proceeds," The Legal Intelligencer, April 2, 2013
- Featured in "Pennsylvania Influencers" by Alex Roarty and Sean Coit, Politics, January 2010
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Speaker, "City Hall Connectors: A Look at the City’s FY22 Budget and 5-Year Plan," The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, May 12, 2021