Robert L. Byer


  • Robert L. Byer
  • Phone: +1 412 497 1083

    Robert L. Byer - LinkedIn Import to Address Book

  • Duane Morris LLP
    625 Liberty Avenue, Suite 1000
    Pittsburgh, PA 15222-3112
  • Duane Morris LLP
    30 South 17th Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19103-4196

Robert L. Byer concentrates his practice in appellate and legal issues litigation. Mr. Byer is a former judge of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court and Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline.

As an appellate lawyer, Mr. Byer has argued or briefed over 300 appeals in the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Eleventh, District of Columbia and Federal Circuits, the Pennsylvania appellate courts and the appellate courts of California, Maryland, Tennessee and Washington. He also has briefed and worked on appeals in the United States Supreme Court. His appellate work and legal-issues litigation experience covers a wide range of legal areas, including corporate governance, intellectual property, administrative agency law, tax cases, Constitutional law, real estate and land use regulation, insurance coverage, contracts, professional liability, products liability and toxic torts.

Clients say about Mr. Byer, as an appellate lawyer, “[H]e is excellent. He is a former Pennsylvania judge who has broad knowledge across multiple sectors and can learn very quickly about the particulars of our business. He knows how to weave an argument…in a way that generalist judges will understand.”

In addition to his work as an appellate lawyer, Mr. Byer brings to Duane Morris LLP a wealth of experience in complex civil and intellectual property litigation. He also advises major corporations on issues related to commercial contracts, corporate governance, corporate compliance (including export control and political contribution and lobbying issues), dispute resolution, ethics and internal investigations.

Mr. Byer is a fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and a life member of the American Law Institute. He is a former member of the Lawyers Advisory Committee of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and a founding member of the Third Circuit Bar Association. In 2021, Mr. Byer was appointed as Chief Counsel to the 2021 Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission, which has the responsibility under the Constitution for redistricting the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Pennsylvania Senate based upon the 2020 Census. He is currently in his fourth term as a member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Appellate Court Procedural Rules Committee, and he chaired that committee for five years. Mr. Byer has served two terms as Chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Civil Litigation Section and served for 15 years in the Pennsylvania Bar Association House of Delegates. He is a former adjunct faculty member at Duquesne University School of Law, where he taught advanced courses on civil procedure, and The National Judicial College, where he taught courses on judicial review of administrative agency adjudications. In 2018, The Legal Intelligencer gave Mr. Byer its Lifetime Achievement Award. He also is listed in Best Lawyers in America (Appellate, Bet-the-Company Litigation and Commercial Litigation), Pennsylvania Super Lawyers (Appellate), and Super Lawyers, Corporate Counsel Edition (Appellate). Best Lawyers also named Mr. Byer a Pittsburgh Appellate Lawyer of the Year in 2011, 2016, 2020 and 2024.

Mr. Byer is the author of a treatise on Pennsylvania civil practice and has authored chapters in the "Third Circuit Appellate Practice Manual" (PBI, 3d ed. 2016) and A Practitioner's Guide to Appellate Advocacy (ABA 2010). He also is the author of numerous published articles, monographs, and course materials on various legal topics. He has been a speaker at seminars and continuing legal education programs throughout the United States.

Mr. Byer is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh (J.D., 1977; editor, University of Pittsburgh Law Review; B.A., magna cum laude, 1973). He engaged in post-graduate studies at Harris Manchester College, Oxford University.

Areas of Practice

  • Appellate and Legal Issues Litigation
  • Complex Civil Litigation
  • Corporate Compliance
  • Corporate Governance
  • Internal Investigations
  • Intellectual Property Litigation
  • Administrative Law

Representative Matters

  • Represented Sunoco Pipeline L.P. in an appeal from an adverse decision of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, in which the PUC had found that Sunoco Pipeline violated certain construction regulations. On appeal, the Commonwealth Court held that the PUC violated Sunoco Pipeline’s due process rights by relying on those regulations because the complainants in the case never asserted that those regulations had been violated.

  • Represented Prospect Crozer, a national hospital network, in reversing on appeal a preliminary injunction that had prevented one of its hospitals in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, from transitioning to a 100-bed behavioral health facility.

  • 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.

  • Represented Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC, a natural gas pipeline company, as lead post-trial and appellate counsel in a suit by a homeowner for damages upon diversion of surface water allegedly caused by installation of an interstate natural gas pipeline. 

  • Represented Southwestern Energy Production Company, a natural gas and exploration production company, as lead counsel in an appeal to the Supreme Court in regards to an action by neighboring landowners who claimed that oil or gas from under their property was produced through the Southwestern Energy Production Company's well.

  • Represented Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, a government highway agency, as lead counsel in a Commerce Clause challenge to the Commission’s toll structure. Won on summary judgment, argued the appeal in the Third Circuit Court of Appeal, and successfully resisted a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court. 

  • Represented the Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and state Senate in the development of is final reapportionment plan based upon the 2020 federal census, and in opposing the nine appeals brought in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which had presented various challenges under the United States and Pennsylvania constitutions and the federal Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania unanimously affirmed the plan.

  • Secured summary judgment, affirmed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, for Acme Markets Inc., directing $4.15 million in lottery ticket winnings to ACME in a conversion suit concerning an employee who had taken a Pennsylvania Lottery “Match 6 Lotto” ticket after determining it was a winner. 

  • Represented Sunoco Pipeline, L.P. as appellee before the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court in a dispute with the County of Chester, Pennsylvania. After defeating the plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction enjoining construction of the Mariner East 2 Pipeline project on county library property, the county appealed, contending that Sunoco Pipeline was required to secure county permission before changing the construction methodology from horizontal directional drilling to open trench installation; the Commonwealth Court unanimously affirmed the denial of the preliminary injunction.

  • Mortimer v. McCool, 37 & 38 MAP 2020 (Pa. Supreme Court) (pending) – represent the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry, National Federation of Independent Business, Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform, Pennsylvania Medical Society, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, UPMC, and Marcellus Shale Coalition as amici curiae in an appeal before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, arguing that the Court should not adopt the “enterprise” or “single entity” theories of piercing the corporate veil.

  • Represented Ameron International Corporation, a manufacturer of products for the chemical, industrial, energy and transportation industries, in a case of first impression concerning the application of Tennessee’s statutory cap on damages for noneconomic loss, successfully arguing that the cap had to be applied to reduce the gross amount of damages before allocating percentage shares of the award to various tortfeasors.

  • Submitted an amicus curiae brief pro bono to the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of the Conference of Chief Justices, representing chief justices of the courts of last resort in all 50 states; the brief argued that Delaware should be afforded considerable deference in deciding how to select justices of its courts, in a case concerning whether the state's constitutional requirement, that no more than a “bare majority” of three justices be from one major political party, violates the First Amendment.

  • Representing PrimeCare Medical Inc., a provider of medical services for correctional institutions, in its challenge to an $11.9 million jury verdict on civil rights and negligence claims arising from an inmate's death by suicide.

  • Won an appeal for Ford Motor Company in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, affirming summary judgment in a product liability case in which the plaintiff contended that Ford was liable for its English subsidiary's products under the "apparent manufacturer" doctrine and the "piercing the corporate veil" theory.

  • Obtained 2014 order from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania summarily affirming an order in favor of the statutory liquidator of an insurance company barring coverage for a multi-million dollar racial discrimination jury verdict.

  • Obtained on behalf of an automobile manufacturer, in a significant asbestos-related appeal before the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, a reversal of an order granting a mistrial and the reinstatement of a judgment following a defense verdict after a jury trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

  • Obtained a precedential decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit confirming the proper test for taxpayer residency in the U.S. Virgin Islands and reversing the district court's finding after a nonjury trial that several taxpayers had failed to establish Virgin Islands residency. Vento v. Dir. V.I. Bureau of Internal Revenue, __ F.3d __, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 7701 (3d Cir. 2013).
  • Obtained a reversal from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court of an intermediate Appellate decision dismissing on procedural grounds an appeal from an $18.5 million judgment. Newman Development Group of Pottstown v. Genuardi's Family Markets, Inc., ___ Pa. ___, ___ A.3d ___, 2012 Pa. LEXIS 2262 (Sept. 28, 2012) “— briefed and argued.
  • Federal Circuit upheld a lower court ruling that client's carrying cases for tools did not infringe appellant's patents. Outside the Box Innovations, LLC v. Travel Caddy, Inc., ___ F.3d ___ (Fed. Cir. Sept. 21, 2012) — briefed.
  • Represented real estate developers in a successful appeal, reversing a trial court decision denying a municipality's request to sell public land to developers under Pennsylvania's Donated and Dedicated Property Act. Borough of Downingtown v. Friends of Kardon Park, ___ A.3d ___, 2012 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 236 (Pa. Cmwlth. Aug. 3, 2012) (en banc) — briefed and argued.
  • Represent a generic drug manufacturer in appeals to the Pennsylvania Supreme and Superior courts in support of the manufacturer's preemption defense under Pliva v. Mensing to state-law suits.
  • Obtained on behalf of a multinational corporation headquartered in Pittsburgh and two related entities a decision from U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania denying the plaintiff's motion to dismiss the client's counterclaim challenging the validity of plaintiff's patent in an action in which plaintiff alleged that the client had used his idea for condiment packaging without compensating him.

  • Obtained an order from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan that transferred an action for breach of implied contract and unjust enrichment brought against a multinational corporation headquartered in Pittsburgh and two related entities to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on the basis of improper venue.

  • Obtained a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirming a district court decision made pursuant to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act that refused to confirm an arbitration award that had been entered against the client, a bank owned by the government of Brazil.

  • Obtained a decision from the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirming a judgment of $1.95 million, plus attorneys' fees, in favor of a leading manufacturer for the solid-wood processing industry in a third-party indemnity action against an injured party's employer arising from the settlement of a products liability case.

  • Represented a corporation, as respondent, in an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in a case arising from the corporation efforts to recover under a business-interruption policy. The case established the significant precedent that a party who moves for dismissal on the basis of lack of personal jurisdiction is required to submit to discovery on the jurisdictional questions, and that personal jurisdiction can be imposed as a discovery sanction as a result of that party's failure to comply with discovery orders. Insurance Corp. of Ireland v. Companies des Bauxite de Guinee, 456 U.S. 694 (1982).
  • Represented the defendant-appellant in an appeal to the Court of Appeals of Maryland in a suit brought pursuant to the Maryland Consumer Protection Act. The case established as a matter of first impression that damages for noneconomic loss could not be awarded under the act, resulting in the reversal of that portion of the damages award that compensated for noneconomic loss and a significant punitive damages award that had been based on the compensatory damages award. Hoffman v. Stamper, 385 Md. 1, 867 A.2d 276 (2005).
  • Represented Ernst & Young LLP in an appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court from a $103 million nonjury verdict in an action alleging malpractice and negligent misrepresentation. Obtained complete reversal of the verdict and a new trial. Appellate court determined that the trial court, in deeming Ernst & Young to have admitted all of the requests for admissions submitted by plaintiffs' counsel, imposed a discovery sanction that was completely disproportionate to Ernst & Young's discovery infraction. Reilly v. Ernst & Young LLP, 929 A.2d 1193 (Pa. Super. 2007) (en banc).
  • Represented a stock brokerage firm in an appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court from a trial court order denying the plaintiffs' motion to modify or correct an arbitration award. The superior court held as a matter of first impression under Pennsylvania law that the three-month time limit for challenging arbitration awards under the Federal Arbitration Act does not apply where the arbitration award is challenged in a state court; rather, such actions are governed by the 30-day time limit under Pennsylvania law. Joseph v. Advest, Inc., 906 A.2d 1205 (Pa. Super. 2006).
  • Represented the independent directors of a publicly held corporation in cross-appeals to the Pennsylvania Superior Court of a preliminary injunction order entered in shareholder-derivative and equity actions arising from a corporate governance dispute. The opinion contains significant holdings that resolve several matters of first impression under Pennsylvania law regarding the duties of independent directors and the extent to which a voting trust agreement among shareholders can bind a shareholder with respect to his role as a director. Anchel v. Shea, 762 A.2d 346 (Pa. Super. 2000).
  • Represented the Pennsylvania Department of Banking in an action to preclude a Delaware-incorporated payday lender from charging Pennsylvania borrowers monthly participation fees. Obtained decision from Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court that the fees violated Pennsylvania's Consumer Discount Company Act and Loan Interest and Protection Law and a permanent injunction barring the lender from imposing the fees in Pennsylvania. Represented the department in the lender's appeal to Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which affirmed the commonwealth court's decision. Pennsylvania Department of Banking v. NCAS of Delaware, LLC, 931 A.2d 771 (Pa. Commw. 2007), aff'd, 995 A.2d 422 (Pa. 2010).
  • Represented the University of Pittsburgh in an appeal from a decision by the Department of Labor and Industry allowing a professor to inspect letters written by outside evaluators that were contained in his personnel file. A majority of an en banc Commonwealth Court panel reversed, determining that the letters constituted letters of reference that are not subject to inspection under Pennsylvania's Personnel Files Act. University of Pittsburgh of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education v. Department of Labor & Industry, 896 A.2d 683 (Pa. Commw. 2006) (en banc).
  • Represented a company that had purchased property located in a Keystone Opportunity Zone in its appeal from a trial court decision that it owed certain payments in lieu of taxes to an area school district. The Commonwealth Court reversed, holding as a matter of law that the business was not liable for the payments because they were the equivalent of real property taxes and thus were imposed in contravention of the Keystone Opportunity Zone Act. School District of the City of Monessen v. Farnham & Pfile Co., Inc., 878 A.2d 142 (Pa. Commw. 2005).
  • Represented a Canadian clothing manufacturer in an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from the dismissal of a competing Danish clothing manufacturer action opposing our client's registration of the trademark "Jack & Jones." The D.C. Circuit determined that under Section 2(d) of the Lanham Act, an applicant who registered on the basis of intent to use has priority over a subsequent applicant that attempts to register a foreign mark that was in actual use before the filing of the intent-to-use application, where the foreign user did not attempt to register the mark in the United States within six months of actual use. Aktieselskabet AF 21 v. Fame Jeans, Inc., 525 F.3d 8 (D.C. Cir. 2008).
  • Represented an online provider of professional development courses for K—12 teachers in appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals from the Third Circuit from a decision dismissing a wrongful-discharge and wage-loss action brought by a former part-time teaching assistant. The court upheld the district court's decision to give preclusive effect to a state court's determination that the plaintiff was not an employee, which led to the district court's conclusion that the plaintiff could not maintain a claim for wrongful discharge and wage loss. Spyridakis v. The Riesling Group, No. 09-4315, 398 Fed. Appx. 793, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 20415 (3d Cir. Oct 1, 2010).
  • Represented a bank in appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from a district court's decision dismissing the plaintiff's action under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) as untimely. The appeals court agreed that the action was time-barred because the plaintiff did not file suit within one year of mortgage closing. It further determined that the plaintiff could not avail himself of the TILA's rescission provision because the mortgage was for an investment property, rather that the plaintiff's primary dwelling, and the action was filed more than three years after the closing. Taggart v. Chase Bank USA, N.A., 375 Fed. Appx. 266 (3d Cir. 2010).
  • Represented Ernst & Young in obtaining a decision from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania that enjoined the plaintiffs from pursuing their state court action for malpractice and fraud. The bankruptcy court concluded that because the plaintiffs' state court claims amounted to a collateral attack on its orders confirming the plan of reorganization and approving Ernst & Young's fees, the injunction was an authorized exception to the Anti-injunction Act. Obtained orders from the district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit summarily affirming the bankruptcy court's order. Ernst & Young, LLP v. Reilly (In re Earned Capital Corp.), 393 B.R. 362 (Bankr. W.D. Pa. 2008), aff'd, No. 08-1349, slip op. (W.D. Pa. 2009), aff'd, No. 09-2845, summary order (3d Cir. 2009).
  • Represented Lyle & Scott Limited in an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit of a decision that granted summary judgment for American Eagle on its action to enforce an agreement regarding the parties' use of similar trademarks in their respective clothing lines. The Third Circuit agreed that the agreement was enforceable but determined that the district court erred in construing the terms of the agreement in favor of American Eagle; the appellate court held that the terms were sufficiently ambiguous to warrant additional fact-finding by a jury. American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. v. Lyle & Scott Ltd., 584 F.3d 575 (3d Cir. 2009).
  • Represented an authorized dealer of Mack Trucks in appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from a district court decision granting a directed verdict in favor of Mack Trucks on the dealer's claim under section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The Third Circuit reversed, holding that the dealer presented enough evidence at trial of anticompetitive conduct under a rule-of-reason analysis to allow the Sherman Act conspiracy claim to go to a jury. Toledo Mack Sales & Service, Inc. v. Mack Trucks, Inc., 530 F.3d 204 (3d Cir. 2008).
  • Represented a purchaser of tax liens in an appeal by plaintiff property owners to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from a district court decision holding that under Pennsylvania state law, government entities could assign delinquent municipal tax and utility claims to the purchaser for collection. The Third Circuit affirmed, determining that the liens were assignable under Pennsylvania's Municipal Claims and Tax Lien Law and that the purchaser was therefore entitled to collect interest and penalties on the assigned claims to the same extent as the government entities that assigned the claims. Pollice v. National Tax Funding, L.P., 225 F.3d 379 (3d Cir. 2000).
  • Represented Columbia Pictures in an appeal by a video-store operator to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from a district court decision that the video-store operator had engaged in public performances of copyrighted motion pictures, thereby infringing the copyrights, by allowing patrons to view the motion pictures on video cassettes in small, private rooms on its premises. The Third Circuit affirmed, concluding that defendants' activities constituted an unauthorized public performance of copyrighted movies and that the individual defendants, and an advertising agency, could each be held jointly and severally liable for the infringement. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. v. Redd Horne, Inc., 749 F.2d 154 (3d Cir. 1984).
  • Represented Columbia Pictures in appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from a district court decision dismissing antitrust claims asserted by a video store operator that showed movies on its premises. The Third Circuit affirmed, holding that under the principle of claim preclusion, the video store operator was barred from asserting the antitrust claims because, in a prior copyright action, its counterclaim for copyright abuse had been dismissed on the merits. Maxwell's Video Showcase, Ltd. v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., 806 F.2d 253 (3d Cir. 1986) (unpublished decision).
  • Represented a self-storage company in an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from a district court decision dismissing its claims for service mark infringement, copyright infringement and trade dress infringement against a competing self-storage facility for its use of a star symbol on its buildings. The Fifth Circuit reversed in part, holding that although the star symbol was not inherently distinctive and thus not legally protectable as a mark, that conclusion was not dispositive of the client's claims for copyright and trade dress infringement, and that the district court erred in dismissing those claims. Amazing Spaces, Inc. v. Metro Mini Storage, 608 F.3d 225 (5th Cir. 2010).
  • Represented a developer of simulators of remotely operated vehicles in an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit from a district court decision granting a competing company's cross-motion for summary judgment of copyright infringement and unfair competition. The Fifth Circuit vacated and remanded, finding that the client's competitor failed to demonstrate it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on any count of the complaint. Oceaneering International, Inc. v. GRI Simulations, Inc., 332 Fed. Appx. 164, 91 U.S.P.Q.2d 1382 (5th Cir. 2009).
  • Represented a law firm and one of its attorneys in an appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court from a trial court order enforcing a settlement agreement. The Superior Court affirmed, rejecting the plaintiffs' assertion that an out-of-state collection to attach the settlement proceeds brought by plaintiffs' creditors invalidated the settlement agreement. Step Plan Services, Inc. v. Koresko, 12 A.3d 401 (Pa. Super. 2010).
  • Represented the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue in an action by GTECH Corporation to set aside the department's award of a contract to Scientific Games International, Inc. (SGI) to provide terminal-based games for the Pennsylvania Lottery. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court sustained the department's preliminary objections to GTECH's substantive challenges to the department's selection of SGI, determining that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to hear those claims. GTECH Corp. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Dept. of Revenue, 965 A.2d 1276 (Pa. Commw. 2009).
  • Represented the petitioner in an appeal to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court from a State Ethics Commission finding that petitioner violated Pennsylvania's Public Official and Employee Ethics Act based upon his failure to file a timely answer to the commission's investigative complaint. The Commonwealth Court vacated and remanded, holding that the commission had discretion to extend the filing deadline for good cause shown, and that petitioner had shown good cause for the late filing. Eathorne v. State Ethics Commission, 960 A.2d 206 (Pa. Commw. 2008).
  • Obtained decision from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania that during the period in which the defendant club paid its dining-room employees in excess of the minimum wage and therefore did not claim a tip credit pursuant to section 3(m) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 203(m), it could not, as a matter of law, be held liable for pooling employees' tips and distributing them to employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips. Platek v. Duquesne Club, 961 F. Supp. 831 (W.D. Pa. 1994), aff'd without opinion, 107 F.3d 863 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 522 U.S. 934 (1997).
  • Represented a developer in a matter on remand from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Obtained a decision on the merits from the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court that reversed a trial court decision to reverse a zoning board's approval of a tentative sketch application submitted by the developer. Narberth Borough v. Lower Merion Township, 950 A.2d 398 (Pa. Commw. 2008) (unpublished opinion).
  • Represented Allegheny Energy Supply Co. in the third of a series of appeals to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court from the valuation of a power plant. The court held that the trial court properly excluded the power plant's control room and heater bay from local tax assessment pursuant to Pennsylvania's Fourth to Eighth Class County Assessment Law because they were integral to the industrial process of generating electricity. Allegheny Energy Supply Co. LLC v. County of Greene, 869 A.2d 31 (Pa. Commw. 2005) (en banc).
  • Represented as lead counsel the Association of Corporate Counsel, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Philadelphia Bar Association, as amici curiae, in an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in which the court, quoting extensively from the amicus brief, held that the attorney-client privilege protects communications made by attorneys to clients as well as communications made by clients to attorneys. In so holding, the court reversed a line of intermediate appellate decisions that held to the contrary. Gillard v. AIG Insurance Co., 15 A.3d 44 (Pa. 2011).
  • Obtained decision from Pennsylvania Supreme Court that the “each and every breath” theory of causation lacks general acceptance under Frye in Betz v. Pneumo Abex.
  • Counsel to Travelers Insurance in a cross-appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit resulting in a favorable reversal on the issue of coverage under a legal malpractice policy and affirmance on the issue of bad faith. Post v. St. Paul Travelers Insurance Co., 691 F.3d 500 (3d Cir. 2012).
  • Represented H.J. Heinz Co. in a suit alleging that Heinz misappropriated plaintiff's ideas and infringed on plaintiff's copyright by creating a top-side-down condiment bottle. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania granted Heinz' motion to dismiss, holding that the Heinz waiver agreement for unsolicited ideas precluded plaintiff's misappropriation claim, and that plaintiff could not maintain a copyright infringement action with respect to a drawing that plaintiff had included as part of a patent application. Riordan v. H.J. Heinz Co., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70713 (W.D. Pa. Aug. 12, 2009); 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114165 (W.D. Pa. Dec. 8, 2009).
  • Represented Epsilon Interactive LLC, formerly Bigfoot Interactive, Inc., as appellee, in an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit from an order granting it a summary judgment of non-infringement of an Internet-based business-method patent directed to a method for sending email and tracking whether the recipient opened the email. The court summarily affirmed after oral argument. Digital Impact, Inc. v. Bigfoot Interactive, Inc., 315 Fed. Appx. 293 (Fed. Cir. 2009).


  • Pennsylvania
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Tax Court


  • University of Pittsburgh School of Law, J.D., 1977
    Note Editor, University of Pittsburgh Law Review
  • Oxford University, Harris Manchester College, Post-Graduate Studies, 1974
  • University of Pittsburgh, B.A., magna cum laude, 1973


  • Duane Morris LLP
    - Partner, 2006-present
  • Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP
    - Partner, 1992-2006
  • Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline
    - Judge, Gubernatorial Appointee, 1997-2001
  • Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
    - Judge, 1990-1992
  • Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott
    - Partner, 1985-1990
    - Associate, 1977-1984

Professional Activities

  • COVID-19 Task Force of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • State Litigation Policy Committee of the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center
  • American Academy of Appellate Lawyers
  • American Law Institute
    - Life Member
  • American Bar Association
    - Council of Appellate Lawyers, Judicial Administration Division
    - Appellate Litigation Subcommittee, Business Litigation Committee, Section of Business Law
    - Appellate Practice Committee, Section of Litigation
    - Appellate Advocacy Committee, Tort & Insurance Practice Section (Vice Chair, Subcommittee on Rules of Procedure, 1995-1997)
    - Vice Chairman, Special Committee on Class Actions, Tort and Insurance Practice Section (1981-1985)
  • American Judicature Society
    - Board of Directors, 1998-2000
  • Bar Association of the Third Federal Circuit (Founding Member; served on original Steering Committee)
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
    - Chair, Civil Litigation Section (1989-1991; Vice Chair, 1987-1989; Secretary, 1985-1987; Section Council, 1984-1985; Discovery Rules Committee, 1995-1996)
    - Chair, Amicus Curiae Brief Committee (2006-; Vice Chair, 2004- ; member, 2001-)
    - Appellate Practice Committee (Vice Chair, Subcommittee on Procedural Rules, 2004-)
    - Judicial Administration Committee (2006- )
    - House of Delegates (1981-1996)
    - Section Council, Municipal Law Section (1992-1993)
    - Judicial Selection & Administration Committee (1995-1996; Legislative Subcommittee, 1995-1996)
    -Member, Task Force for Revisions to the Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute (Treasurer, 1996-1997; Director, 1986-1992, 1995-1996; Chair, Publications Committee, 1988-1990; Chair, Judicial Education and Courts Liaison Committee, 1990-1992)
  • Philadelphia Bar Association
    - Appellate Courts Committee (2006- )
  • Allegheny County Bar Association
    - Pittsburgh Legal Journal (Editor-In-Chief and Chairman, 1985-1987; Opinion Editor, 1980-1984; Associate Editor, 1988-1994; Executive Committee, 1988-1994)
    - Appellate Practice Committee (1987- )
  • Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County (1986-1997)
    - Chairman, Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, 1994-1996
  • Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, Southwest Pennsylvania Advisory Board (1993- )
  • American Bar Foundation (Life Fellow)
  • Pennsylvania Bar Foundation (Life Fellow)
  • Allegheny County Bar Foundation (Charter Fellow)

Honors and Awards

  • Listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, 2023
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, 2006-2024

  • The Legal Intelligencer Power Players List, 2022
  • Thomson Reuters Stand-out Lawyer, 2022 and 2023

  • Named a 2022 Top Rated American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell
  • Acritas Star lawyer, 2020
  • Listed in Pennsylvania Trailblazers by The Legal Intelligencer, 2019
  • Named a Top Rated Lawyer in Appellate Law by The American Lawyer, 2018

  • Presented with 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award by The Legal Intelligencer

  • Fellow, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers
  • American Law Institute, Elected Member
  • Named a Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year" in Appellate Practice, Pittsburgh, 2011, 2016, 2020 and 2024

  • Listed in the 2015 Edition of Pittsburgh's Best Lawyers
  • Listed in Pennsylvania SuperLawyers, Appellate
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Lawyers' Advisory Committee (appointed as nominee of Third Circuit Judges stationed in the Western District of Pennsylvania), 2005-2009
  • Chair of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Appellate Court Procedural Rules Committee, 1994-1998; member, 1987-1991, 1992-1994, 2009-
  • Fellow, Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny Court, 1986-1997
  • Chair of Civil Litigation Section, Pennsylvania Bar Association, 1989-1991
  • Outstanding Young Lawyer of 1987 Award (awarded by Allegheny County Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section for "leadership and service to the legal profession and his community")
  • Chief Justice of Pennsylvania's Advisory Committee on Comprehensive Education, Subcommittee on Appellate Judges Education, 1988
  • Advisory Committee for the Study of Rules of Practice, United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®

Board Memberships

  • American Jewish Committee
    - Board of Directors, Pittsburgh Chapter, 1996-1999

Civic and Charitable Activities

  • Appointed as Chief Counsel to the 2021 Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission, which has the responsibility under the Constitution for redistricting the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Pennsylvania Senate based upon the 2020 Census

  • Duquesne University Law School
    - Adjunct Professor, 1995-2000
  • National Judicial College
    - Faculty, 1992-1995
  • Pennsylvania Election Reform Task Force, 2004
  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Office of Attorney General
    - Transition Team, 1996-1997

Selected Publications

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Moderator, "The Design of the U.S. Court of Appeals," University of Pittsburgh School of Law Federal Courts Symposium in Honor of Professor Arthur Hellman, April 5, 2024
  • Speaker, "Taking Your Appellate Advocacy in the PA Courts to the Next Level: Tips from the Judiciary and Experienced Appellate Lawyers," Pennsyvlania Bar Institute, June 13, 2023
  • Panelist, "Ethics on Appeal," Philadelphia Bar Association, Philadelphia, December 10, 2019
  • Speaker, "Appellate Review," Federal Practice Institute, Pittsburgh, October 25, 2019

  • Speaker, "Advanced Appellate Advocacy in the Pennsylvania Courts," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, April 15, 2019

  • Moderator, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers Spring Meeting, Philadelphia, April 12, 2019

  • Speaker, "Recent Developments and Trends in United States Litigation," International Bar Association Insurance Committee Meeting, London, March 21, 2019

  • "Collaboration Between Trial and Appellate Counsel: A Path to Litigation Success," Duane Morris Alumni CLE, October 26, 2017

  • Panelist, "Advanced Appellate Advocacy: Presenting Complex Appeals in the PA Courts," Pennsylvania Bar Association CLE program, March 31, 2017
  • Speaker, "5th Annual U.S. Supreme Court Roundup," PBI Seminar, Philadelphia, August 24, 2016
  • Speaker, "Who Wants to Be a Supreme Court Justice: 2015 Pennsylvania Appellate Court Elections," Pennsylvania Business Council Education Foundation's Legal Summit: Law & Policy Update, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 21, 2014; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 30, 2014
  • Speaker, "U.S. Supreme Court 2013-14 Term: Review the Top Cases and Preview the Top Cases to be Argued in 2014," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Pittsburgh, August 26, 2014
  • Speaker, "Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge D. Brooks Smith and U.S. District Court Senior Judge Norma Shapiro hear a mock argument and discuss First Amendment issues at a Sept. 12, 2013 CLE program," Philadelphia Bar Association, Philadelphia, September 12, 2013
  • Speaker, "First Amendment Issues and Competing Considerations in Public Schools' Regulating Off Campus Conduct of High School Students," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Philadelphia, September 12, 2013
  • Speaker, "Oral Argument From the Inside Out," Bench-Bar & Annual Conference, Atlantic City, October 7, 2012
  • Speaker, "What Trial Lawyers Can Learn from Appellate Lawyers: Effective Appellate Advocacy Actually Begins at Trial," ALI-CLE Video Webcast, October 4, 2012
  • Co-Speaker, "Boilerplate Clauses in Contracts: Use at Your Own Risk," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, PBI Professional Development Conference Center, Philadelphia, June 27, 2012
  • Speaker, "Preserving Issues at Trial and on Appeal," Allegheny County Bar Association, Pittsburgh, December 15, 2011
  • Speaker, "Must I, May I, Should I: Primer on When to Appeal," Philadelphia Bar Association's Bench-Bar and Annual Conference, Atlantic City, New Jersey, October 15, 2011
  • Panelist, "Effective Appellate Briefs," Allegheny County Bench Bar Conference, Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, June 17, 2011
  • Panelist, "What In-House Counsel Need To Know About The Changing Landscape In Litigation: Experienced Lawyers Report From The Front Lines," DELVACCA 3rd Annual In-House Counsel Conference, Philadelphia, April 7, 2011
  • Speaker, "Watch Out for the Waives: A Late-Summer CLE on How Good Lawyers Waive Good Arguments on Appeal," Third Circuit Bar Association and Federal Practice Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association CLE program, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, August 25, 2010
  • Speaker, "Third Circuit Review of Cases 2009," Moderator, Allegheny County Bar Association, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 21, 2009
  • Speaker, "Public Contracting in Pennsylvania 2009," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, April 2, 2009
  • Speaker, "Beyond the Library" at Thomson Reuters-West National Program, "Life Beyond the Library," Phoenix, Arizona, February 6, 2009

  • Speaker, "Matching Advocacy to Audience: Difference Between Intermediate Appellate Courts and Courts of Last Resort," Appellate Judges Education Institute Summit, Scottsdale, Arizona, November 14, 2008
  • Speaker, "Appeals in the Time of Cholera," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 25, 2008
  • Speaker, "Winning Your Case on Appeal," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 9, 2007
  • Panelist, "Appellate Advocacy," Philadelphia Bar Association Bench Bar Conference, Atlantic City, New Jersey, September 29, 2007
  • Speaker, Practical Pretrial," Pennsylvania Bar Institute seminar, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 24, 2007; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 27, 2007; Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, October 3, 2007
  • Faculty member and speaker, "The Nuts and Bolts of Appellate Advocacy," Pennsylvania Bar Institute program, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 6, 2007; Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, February 8, 2007; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, February 13, 2007
  • Speaker, Novartis Corporation's Americas Lawyers meeting, Livingston, New Jersey, June 7, 2006.
  • Speaker, "Don't Slip on Appeal," Pennsylvania Bar Association Civil Litigation Section Retreat, April 30, 2006