James H. Steigerwald is chair of the Commercial and Antitrust Litigation division of Duane Morris' Trial Practice Group. Mr. Steigerwald is an active trial lawyer who has tried cases before federal and state courts across the country, obtaining multimillion-dollar verdicts as well as defense verdicts. He has significant experience with high-profile, nine-figure damages cases involving contract, licensing fraud and fiduciary duty claims as well as actions alleging violations of the securities, antitrust and RICO laws. Mr. Steigerwald is active in the community and has been recognized by the Support Center for Child Advocacy, with its prestigious Distinguished Advocate Award for his pro bono representation of abused and neglected children.
Mr. Steigerwald is a 1998 cum laude graduate of Cornell Law School, where he received the International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award for Trial Advocacy. He is a 1993 cum laude graduate of Harvard College.
Defended StoneMor Inc., a cemetery and funeral home company, and its Board of Directors, as lead counsel in connection with litigation brought by shareholders in the Delaware Court of Chancery; the claim arises from a direct stock purchase agreement between StoneMor and its controlling shareholder, Axar Holdings, as well as the management of StoneMor’s investments.
Represented Powder Springs Logistics, LLC, a joint venture between affiliates of Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. and Colonial Pipeline Company, in a “bet the company” case where the court held that Powder Springs is permitted to blend butane into gasoline shipped on the Colonial pipeline because shippers receive the quality of gasoline they were promised at delivery. The filed-rate doctrine barred the plaintiff’s claims because the plaintiff impermissibly sought to expand its rights as a shipper under Colonial’s tariff to receive only on-specification gasoline; the decision is the first to approve of the practice of butane blending by pipelines and will be an important precedent for regulated energy clients.
Represent significant franchisee in dispute against Planet Fitness related to area development agreement in Mexico.
Represent Chair of bank in a claim brought by former officer and shareholder.
Represent Power Company against high profile claims arising from electrocution.
Trial counsel for SAP America defending a lawsuit brought by a customer of SAP regarding an implementation of SAP’s software. The customer sought damages in excess of $18 million on its fraud and breach of contract claims. After a two week trial involving 15 witnesses, a jury returned a defense verdict in favor of SAP. The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed on appeal. DeLuca Homes et al. v. SAP America et al.
Represented StoneMor GP LLC in case where former executives alleged they were terminated for reporting violations of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Represented Jersey Panel Corporation in a dispute over the terms and conditions of a collective bargaining agreement.
Represented Allegheny Energy Supply Company in a case arising from the termination of a coal supply agreement due to environmental regulations.
Represented prominent law firm and its chairman against allegations of wrongful use of civil proceedings. The Court granted our motion to dismiss.
Obtained judgment after a four day bench trial in Chester County, Pennsylvania on behalf of three real estate investment partnerships in a lawsuit filed against them by two limited partners who claimed that partnership property had been improperly sold below fair value as part of a fraudulent scheme.
Represented financial institution in defense of class action securities lawsuit arising from acquisition of local bank. Secured dismissal of all claims against client.
Represent officers and directors in defense of securities lawsuit brought by Fortune 500 manufacturer.
Defended publicly held company against $15 million claim based on a warrant to purchase stock. Obtained summary judgment, which was affirmed on appeal.
Represented liquidation trustee of failed financial institution in claims alleging preferential transfers and breach of fiduciary duty. Entered settlement agreement receiving $80 million payment and rights to $275 million tax refund.
Obtained jury verdict in favor of defendant hospital in antitrust action brought by surgeon against group of hospitals.
Represented distributors in connection with antitrust class action and negotiated favorable settlement.
Represented global software corporation in contract dispute. Obtained defense verdict after two week jury trial.
Represented national manufacturer in contract dispute arising from termination of dealer. Obtained defense verdict at trial, which was affirmed on appeal.
Obtained favorable jury verdicts in several trials involving interpretation of franchise agreements.
Represented several defendants in commercial contract dispute related to the rights of certain software. Summary judgment was entered in favor of individual defendant, and remaining defendants settled on favorable terms.
Represented venture capital firm in connection with license dispute for biotechnology. Obtained jury verdict awarding $3.5 million and attorney's fees before settling case.
Served as lead trial counsel representing shareholder of closely held corporation against former officer, director and minority shareholder of the corporation. Obtained damages award of $4.99 million for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract claims.
Defended prominent real estate developer against claims brought by a disgruntled former partner. Secured dismissal of plaintiff’s RICO claims, which was affirmed by the Third Circuit. Defeated motion for injunction brought in the Philadelphia Commerce Court, and then settled the case on favorable terms.
Represented leading pharmaceutical packaging company in suit against former president and 49 percent shareholder asserting claims of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and commercial bribery. Obtained settlement, under which the company bought out the shareholder at a deep discount.
Represented start-up dialysis company against Fortune 500 competitor in defense of tortious interference and breach of contract claims. All claims were dismissed with prejudice as a sanction for plaintiff's repeated discovery violations.
Represented national office supply company in several matters successfully enforcing non-competition agreements.
Obtained on behalf of an online and print publisher an Order and Judgment from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit affirming the dismissal of a claim for defamation arising out of an article the client published concerning the plaintiff's failed discrimination case against her previous employer. The 4th Circuit held the client's article was an accurate description of judicial proceedings and therefore was protected by the fair report privilege.
Obtained plenary guardianship of a 21-year-old disabled woman in a pro bono representation on behalf of her mother and primary caregiver.
- New Jersey
- U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
- Supreme Court of New Jersey
- Cornell Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1998
- Harvard College, A.B., cum laude, 1993
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2007-present
- Associate, 1998-2006
- American Bar Association
- Antitrust Law Section
-- Business Torts and Unfair Competition Committee
- Forum on Franchising
- Philadelphia Bar Association
- Business Litigation Committee
- Barrister, American Inns of Court, University of Pennsylvania Law School Chapter
Honors and Awards
- Recognized as a 2011 Distinguished Advocate for Children by the Philadelphia-based Support Center for Child Advocates
Named as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer, 2013-2021
- Listed in Pennsylvania Rising Stars, 2006-2008 and 2010-2011
- Co-author, "Ahead of Rulemaking, FTC Seeks Comments on Franchisor Business Practices," Duane Morris Alert, March 16, 2023
- Co-Author, "Recent Developments in Tortious Interference Law," American Bar Association Antitrust Law Section's Annual Meeting, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 4, 1998
- Co-Author, Scientific Evidence Review, "Expert Evidence in the Third Circuit," American Bar Association, , Mongraph Nos. 4, 6, 8 (1999, 2003, 2008)
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Panelist, "The Dealer Network as a RICO Enterprise," Spring Meeting of the ABA Section of Antitrust Law, Washington, D.C., March 25, 2009
- Panelist, "Responding to an Antitrust Complaint: Developing Rule 12 Issues and Strategic Considerations," American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Spring 2006