Gerald Schirato is an experienced litigator who represents clients nationally in complex commercial litigation. He has led teams in cases pending in state and federal courts and arbitrations throughout the country. Mr. Schirato’s litigation practice is eclectic and has covered a wide-range of legal disciplines, including disputes involving contracts, construction, employment, real estate, banking, intellectual property, trade secret, property tax, corporate dissolution, and corporate governance. Mr. Schirato has represented private companies, publicly traded companies, and financial institutions spanning a variety of industries, including companies in the energy sector, transportation industry, the banking and financial industry, education, manufacturing, clothing, medical, and technology industries. Mr. Schirato has served as lead trial counsel for a number of clients where cases have gone to verdict. Mr. Schirato has both recovered and saved clients of the firm tens of millions of dollars in settlements, judgments, and extra judicial procedures.
Mr. Schirato is a 2005 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, where he was managing editor of Vanderbilt Law Review and elected to the Order of the Coif, and a magna cum laude graduate of Dickinson College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Areas of Practice
Trial (Commercial Litigation, Construction, Intellectual Property, Property Tax Relief, Banking, Product Liability, Employment, Appellate)
- Counsel for, and currently advising, purchaser of human capital management system as part of a multiyear software-as-a-service contract, primarily consisting of a suite of modules involving payroll, benefits, timesheets, human resources, recruiting, onboarding, performance evaluation, and reporting.
- Obtained an arbitration award, following an eight-day arbitration hearing in Philadelphia, on behalf of an insurance company against a computer services vendor, which had sought $3.75 million in damages in connection with a claim for breach of contract relating to the license and implementation of insurance policy and claims modules.
- Counsel for Allegheny Energy Supply Company in a case arising from the termination of a coal supply agreement due to environmental regulations in which damages exceeding $165 million were sought by the Plaintiff.
- Represent West Penn Power Company and FirstEnergy Corp. in a case involving claims by a party arising from the interpretation of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act and sounding in contract.
- Represent private company and its chief executive officer in litigation against former chief executive officer involving claims related to wrongful termination of employment, breach of fiduciary duty, and alleged conversion, and value, of former employee’s ownership units in company.
- Obtained voluntary dismissal of all claims against Executive Education Academy Charter School brought by a former employee for employment discrimination and retaliation as well as a letter from the former employee retracting his claims against the School.
- Obtained on behalf of Keppel Shipyard Limited a dismissal based on lack of personal jurisdiction in an adversary proceeding in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas where the Trustee of the MPF Litigation Trust sought to obtain a judgment of more than $4.5 million.
- Obtained for a world leader in the manufacturing of tread brake units the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by competitor who claimed that manufacturer disparaged both the quality of the competitor’s products and the competitor’s ability to sell products.
- Represent a national debt buyer in numerous cases throughout Pennsylvania involving claims made under state and federal consumer laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection law, Truth in Lending Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, as well as other state and federal laws.
Counsel for company that provided alternative education services throughout United States: advised on issues of corporate governance, regulatory compliance, and government procurement procedures; served as liaison with licensing agencies, school districts, and charter schools; drafted contracts for services with governmental and private entities; drafted lease and real estate agreements; responded to litigation threatened by students and employees; and represented company and employees in criminal investigations.
- Obtained judgment for client in amount of $475,000, which represented amount client was owed under a supply contract for delivery of potato starch.
- Obtained settlement that client found favorable for manager of hedge fund against party claiming management fees for services provided under the fund.
- Obtained settlement that client found favorable for owner of a commercial facility in Oklahoma City, Okla. in litigation commenced by roofing company for alleged monies owed for repair work to roof of commercial facility.
- Obtained debtor's private airplane on behalf of client/creditor through a replevin action under Pennsylvania law.
- Obtained on behalf of large banking client the dismissal of a suit seeking to invade the principal of a trust and have the bank removed as trustee.
- Obtained settlement that the client, a large real estate company, found favorable in a case involving the breach of a lease agreement.
- Obtained settlement that the client, a large insurance company, found favorable in a case involving claims against the insurance company for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and bad faith.
- Obtained settlements that the client, a national trucking company, found favorable in personal injury cases involving claimed damages in the aggregate of $6 million.
- Obtained dismissal of lawsuit against an insurance broker in a class-action lawsuit involving claims of fraud, bad faith, conspiracy and breach of contract.
- Advised client on issues related to Pennsylvania's Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act, including procedures to put in place to comply with the act.
- Advised leading area health system on its obligations when it imposes a summary suspension of staff privileges on a doctor.
- Advised client on issues related to drafting and enforceability of non-compete agreements.
- Advised leading national retailer on issues related to a municipality's condemnation of property as means to avoid restrictions contained in a lease agreement.
- Obtained settlement that client, a leading global provider of engineering and construction services, found favorable in arbitration involving claims by supplier of arc furnace-charging system for damages resulting from suspension of mini-mill project in Corsa, Mexico.
- Represented a leading global provider of engineering and construction services in a series of claims arising from the engineering, procurement and construction of a 790 MW super-critical coal-fired electric generating facility in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
- Represented a global engineering and construction company in lawsuit arising from remediation efforts of a roadway slope that resulted in the release of fly ash materials into the neighborhood stream and water channel.
- Represented a leading global provider of fiberglass-production equipment and services in lawsuit arising from the design, engineering and construction of a fiberglass-production facility in Clarksville, Tenn.
- Represented a large national provider of electricity in claims arising from client's construction of a power-generating facility in Hawaii.
Represented Prospect Medical Holdings, a major U.S. hospital network, in obtaining a complete victory before the Commonwealth Court in a consolidated set of four complex taxation and exemption matters involving millions of dollars of disputed tax payments and three separate hospitals in Pennsylvania.
- Represent owners of commercial and industrial properties throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in assessment-reduction and exemption proceedings and successfully obtained assessment reductions and exemptions for major commercial property owners in 43 counties in Pennsylvania in the aggregate of $35 million.
- Lead Trial Counsel for for-profit hospital system located in Delaware County, Pennsylvania related to appeals of 56 parcels of property, including numerous hospitals and medical office buildings, involving disputes in excess of $8 million of property taxes on an annual basis.
- Represented Transportation Investment Group, Inc. (TIG), the largest owner of industrial properties in Erie, Pa., in an appeal of a local tax assessment. Following two-day trial, obtained decision from Court of Common Pleas of Erie County that resulted in $300K in tax refunds and an $50K-per-annum reduction in future taxes. In response to cross-appeals to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania filed by TIG and the taxing authorities, the court found in favor of TIG and remanded the case. On remand, the trial court issued a new order that resulted in close to $500K in tax refunds and an $80K-per-annum reduction in future taxes.
- Obtained significant tax relief for golf course owners throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, including the Kahkwa Club, Lake Shore County Club, Butler Country Club, Phoenixville Country Club, and Greensburg Country Club.
- Successfully defeated three Motions for Temporary Restraining Order and a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction for enforcement of restrictive covenants in an employment agreement, as sought by a former employer against a senior sales manager who had resigned from the company and joined a competitor.
- The Valspar Corporation v. Van Kuren, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111862 (W.D. Pa. Aug. 9, 2012) – Obtained on behalf of The Valspar Corporation an injunction prohibiting the former Technical Manager of its Beverage Ends packaging coatings group from working for a competitor, despite the fact that there was no non-competition agreement or other post-employment restrictive covenant prohibiting him from working for a direct competitor, on the grounds that there was a substantial likelihood that he would disclose trade secrets if permitted to work for the competitor.
- Represent a leading manufacturer of beverage ends packaging coatings in a patent infringement case against a competitor in the industry.
- Obtained a settlement that the client found favorable in a case brought by an employer against a former employee and his new company in the refractory industry which allowed the former employee to continue working for his new company.
- Obtained a settlement that the client found favorable in a case involving a preliminary injunction to prohibit former employees and their new company from manufacturing certain products to compete with their former employer, even though the former employees did not have restrictive covenants in their employment agreements.
- Represented producer and distributor of health and vitamin supplement products in a case involving claims under the Lanham Act, trademark infringement, false designation of origin, trade dress infringement, conversion, and intentional and negligent interference with contract relations.
- Advised leading research university on issues related to patents developed by employees, including assignability of patents, enforcement against alleged infringers and royalty payments to employees.
- Represented manufacturer of boat-docking system in claims involving infringement of existing patent, inducement of infringement and contributory infringement.
- Represented manufacturer of welding consumables in toxic -tort suits arising from alleged asbestos and manganese exposure from welding fume in state and multidistrict litigation.
- Represented and served as regional coordinating counsel for a manufacturer of valves, pumps and boilers in toxic-tort suits arising from alleged asbestos exposure.
- Defended manufacturers of bullet-resistant body armor, rifles and cross-bows in complex product liability cases.
- Representing Trib Total Media Inc., owner of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in opposing third-party discovery in a suit brought by the children of its late publisher Richard Mellon Scaife alleging that trustees improperly allowed their father to withdraw around $450 million from a trust fund that his mother had created for his benefit, largely to subsidize the newspaper.
- Obtained relief for a student news-reporting organization from an order prohibiting any contact with witnesses during a homicide trial.
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of popular sports-entertainment company against a former employee who brought actions for defamation, false light and breach of contract.
- Obtained settlement that client found favorable for manufacturer of computer software that assists medical providers in managing their pharmacy inventory in suit involving claims for trade libel, tortious interference and breach of contract.
- Sanford L. Pollock v. Pittsburgh Opera, et al., Nos. 431-433 WDA 2009 (Pa. Super. June 10, 2010) (affirming summary judgment for the Pittsburgh Opera against real estate broker who claimed breach of an oral brokerage agreement, but who failed to memorialize the agreement in accordance with the Real Estate Licensing and Registration Act).
- Landis v. A.W. Chesterton Co. Nos. 1541-1542 WDA 2009 (Pa. Super. Aug. 31, 2010) – reversing denial of motion for judgment on the pleadings and holding that the Workers' Compensation Act precludes a former employee from bringing a civil action against his former employer for a work-related asbestos injury, even if the employee's workers' compensation claim is time-barred under the act.
- Bobak v. Feleky, 996 A.2d 1 (Pa. Super. 2010) – affirming grant of compulsory nonsuit for owner of a truck where the testimony of plaintiff's expert regarding a brake test was stricken because the expert could not confirm that the test was conducted using proper procedures.
- DL Resources, Inc. v. FirstEnergy Solutions, Corp., 506 F.3d 209 (3rd Cir. 2007) – reversing grant of summary judgment on plaintiff's claim for tortious interference with prospective contractual relations and remanding for further proceedings because trial court improperly entered judgment sua sponte.
- Obtained settlement that client found favorable in action brought by Commonwealth of Pennsylvania against a real estate broker for alleged violations of Real Estate Licensing and Registration Act.
- Represented licensed psychologist in appeal to Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in action brought by Commonwealth of Pennsylvania alleging violations of Professional Psychologist's Practice Act.
- Obtained dismissal of lawsuit against attorney facing claims of malpractice arising from tax advice given in complex corporate transaction.
- Represent attorney in claims alleging abuse of process and violations of Pennsylvania’s Dragonetti Act.
Commercial Litigation Experience
Construction Law Experience
Property Tax Relief
Intellectual Property Experience
Product Liability and Toxic Tort Litigation Experience
Defamation/Libel Litigation and Media Law Experience
Representative Appellate Experience
Defense of Professional Licensees
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- Vanderbilt University Law School, J.D., 2005
- Managing Editor, Vanderbilt Law Review
- Order of the Coif
- Dickinson College, B.A., magna cum laude, 2002
- Phi Beta Kappa
- American Bar Association
- Allegheny County Bar Association
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2015-present
- Associate, 2008-2014
- Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis
- Associate, 2005-2008
- Summer Associate, 2004
- McGuireWoods LLP
- Summer Associate, 2003-2004
Honors and Awards
Listed in Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2012-2015, 2017-2020