J. Colin Knisely


  • J. Colin Knisely
  • Phone: +1 215 979 1112

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  • Duane Morris LLP
    30 South 17th Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19103-4196

J. Colin Knisely concentrates his practice in the areas of commercial litigation, litigation related to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA), while also handling a variety of other matters, including employment law issues, professional liability litigation, insurance coverage, and products liability litigation. He has experience in all aspects of commercial litigation, including lead roles in numerous trials in state and federal courts, arbitrations and appeals.

Mr. Knisely represents clients on claims concerning their public facing websites, including claims related to website accessibility, and claims arising out of state and federal privacy laws such as the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA) and the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA).

Areas of Practice

  • Commercial Litigation
  • ADA Title III Litigation
  • Banking Litigation
  • Employment Law
  • Insurance and Reinsurance

Representative Matters

  • Secured a directed verdict at trial on behalf of Unican Ohio, LLC, a manufacturer of industrial and household containers, in a case brought by Unican's former head of sales on claims of age discrimination and breach of contract. After the directed verdict was granted, secured affirmance of the trial court’s decision on the merits before the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals, and successfully resisted a jurisdictional appeal before the Supreme Court of Ohio.

  • Represent retailers, banks, energy companies, and other public accommodations against both claims and lawsuits brought against them for failure to maintain accessible websites, allegedly in violation of the ADA.

  • Represented multiple banks in Pennsylvania in defense of putative class action claims brought against them for alleged failure to comply with ADA Standards for access to ATMs.

  • Representing various retailers in putative class action claims brought against them for alleged failure to comply with the ADA for access to point of sale devices.

  • Obtained $1.85 million verdict in favor of a bank client in a commercial mortgage dispute in which the borrowers alleged that their signatures were forged.

  • Obtained dismissal of class action lawsuit against bank alleging the bank's ATM's failed to comply with the ADA standards. The Federal District Court held that Plaintiff's claims were moot since the bank had upgraded its ATM's under a company-wide plan.

  • Obtained non-suit at trial on behalf of a bank on a subcontractor’s claims for unjust enrichment and constructive trust related to more than $1 million worth of snow removal work performed by the subcontractor at the Wachovia Center and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

  • Represented a lender against a $75 million lender liability, deepening insolvency and fraud case brought by the U.S. Trustee. Case settled on terms the client found favorable.

  • Represented architects in lawsuits alleging the failure to comply with the Fair Housing Act of the ADA Standards for Accessible Design.

  • Obtained on behalf of a bank officer a summary judgment against allegations of fraud, conspiracy, conversion and RICO violations.

  • Representing lender in class action lawsuit alleging that the lender's notices of motor vehicles repossessions and notices of surplus/deficiency failed to comply with the UCC and applicable state law.

  • Represented a bank in a claim against an appraiser for professional negligence in relation to a $6.5 million appraisal report. Case resulted in settlement the client found favorable.

  • Represented a bank against a mortgage banker in a breach of contract claim related to an $8.5 million loan.

  • Obtained on behalf of a bank the dismissal of class action counterclaims for breach of good faith and fair dealing and fraudulent misrepresentation and a consumer fraud act.

  • Represented a national retailer in defense and resolution of potential class action regarding alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, specifically that the company failed to reasonably accommodate disabled persons by failing to provide readily achievable means of access to eye examinations in their stores nationwide.

  • Represented employer in lawsuit alleging disability discrimination and retaliation. Case settled on terms the client found favorable.

  • Represented a New Jersey manufacturer against a Hong Kong based receiver for breach of contract and tort claims. Obtained a settlement the client found favorable.

  • Obtained a defense verdict in favor of one of the nation's largest manufacturers of dump, transfer and flatbed trailers in a products liability matter.

  • Represented a scaffolding supplier in a products liability action alleging defective scaffold design.

  • Obtained a directed verdict for a commercial insurance carrier on claims of breach of contract and negligence.

  • Represented a mid-size law firm in defense of legal malpractice claims related to the sale of a coffee company.

  • Represented a law firm in defense of legal malpractice claims related to an attorney's representation of client in a non-compete dispute.

  • Obtained a defense verdict in favor of a national restaurant chain involving a "Good Samaritan" claim brought by customer.


  • Pennsylvania
  • Ohio
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio


  • Case Western Reserve University School of Law, J.D., 1997
  • Allegheny College, B.A., magna cum laude, 1993


  • Duane Morris LLP
    - Partner, 2011-present
  • Deeb, Petrakis, Blum & Murphy P.C.
    - Partner, 2006-2011
  • Gallagher Sharp
    - Associate, 1999-2006

Professional Activities

  • Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Professional Liability Underwriting Society

Honors and Awards

  • Thomson Reuters Stand-out Lawyer, 2024

Selected Publications

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Co-presenter, "The Data Privacy and Security Landscape: Privacy Class Action Litigation Trends," Duane Morris Webinar, May 30, 2024
  • Speaker, "Privacy Class Actions," Western Alliance Bank Class Action Law Forum, March 12, 2024
  • Speaker, "Web Privacy and Accessibility Lawsuits 2.0," Duane Morris Institute (DMi), Webinar, February 15, 2023