18 Burns White attorneys named to Prestigious Super Lawyers/Rising Stars lists

Eighteen Burns White attorneys in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New Jersey were named to recently announced 2018 Super Lawyers/Rising Stars lists. These attorneys have been identified as being outstanding among their peers in the legal profession.

The Pennsylvania Super Lawyers rating is a distinction received by no more than five percent of attorneys practicing in the state. Burns White’s distinguished recipients for this year include:


  • John A. Bass, Member, practice areas: medical malpractice and long-term care litigation
  • Joseph A. Macerelli, Member, practice areas: medical malpractice, professional liability litigation, personal injury, insurance, and products liability defense
  • David B. White, Executive Committee Member, practice areas: commercial litigation, products liability litigation, professional malpractice litigation, financial institution litigation, employment litigation, and energy industry litigation

Additionally, two Burns White Members, David H. Dille and David R. Johnson, are ranked among the Top 50 Super Lawyers in the Pittsburgh region. Mr. Dille focuses his legal practice on workers’ compensation matters, and Mr. Johnson on medical malpractice, healthcare litigation, and general litigation cases.


  • Valerie H. Lieberman, Member, practice area: workers’ compensation
  • William J. Mundy, Executive Committee Member, Practice areas: medical malpractice, long-term care litigation, healthcare regulation, and litigation

The Rising Stars rating is a distinction given to no more than 2.5 percent of the top up-and-coming attorneys in each state who are either 40 years of age or younger, or who have been in practice for ten years or less. Our firm’s recipients include:


  • Matthew G. Brouse, Member, practice areas: energy litigation and transactions
  • Ashley L. Griffin, Member, practice areas: healthcare and long-term care litigation
  • Patrick M. Horvat, Member, practice areas: transportation, toxic tort litigation, and products liability litigation
  • Molly L. Kremer, Associate, practice areas: railroad litigation, occupational and toxic tort litigation, and products liability litigation
  • Daniel J. Margonari, Member, practice areas: healthcare and long-term care litigation
  • Matthew A. Meyers, Member, practice areas: insurance litigation, insurance coverage and extracontractual litigation, commercial litigation, and trucking law
  • Stephanie Solomon, Member, practice areas: commercial litigation, products liability litigation, retail and hospitality, trucking law, and professional liability litigation
  • Dorothy C. Wolbert, Member, practice areas: family law and collaborative law


  • Courtney C. Barbacane, Of Counsel, practice areas: medical malpractice litigation, nursing neglect, and professional liability litigation
  • Andrew J. Fuga, Member, practice areas: professional and general liability, construction

New Jersey

  • Ahsan A. Jafry, Member, practice areas: healthcare and long-term care defense, medical malpractice defense

An annual rating service of the Thomson Reuters’ Legal Division, inclusion on the Super Lawyers lists is based on a rigorous, patented selection process that consists of:

  • a statewide survey of lawyers in more than 70 practice areas,
  • independent research to identify outstanding lawyers,
  • evaluation of candidates based on 12 indicators of peer recognition,
  • a practice area panel review, and
  • a discipline check of each candidate
Events  /   /  0

CLE: Impact of Insurance Research on Tort and Product Liability Clients

Rick Green of Insurance Research & Recovery, LLC will discuss how insurance research can benefit tort and product liability clients. Attendees will gain an understanding of the means and methods of recovering historic general liability policies, and using those policies, or evidence thereof, to be the bases of insurance claims to pay for the costs of corporate involvement in long-tail product liability, mass tort, and environmental lawsuits, enforcement actions, and claims.

When: Friday, May 18 at 12:00 p.m.
Where: Burns White Center, 48 26th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Registration Cost: $100
Registration Contact: Jessica L. Gangjee

CLE Credit Pending

Paralegal – Med Mal & Employment – Pittsburgh, PA

Job Title: Paralegal – Med Mal & Employment

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

About the Job

This position provides support to attorneys in two interesting areas of defense litigation – medical malpractice and employment law. The person in this position will work in a team-oriented environment performing a range of paralegal duties. This position offers challenging work, a great work environment, excellent benefits package, and opportunity to advance.


  • Bachelor’s Degree or Paralegal Certificate required.
  • At least one year experience in litigation as a paralegal or legal assistant. Experience or knowledge in employment law a big plus.
  • Highly organized and attentive to detail. Able to prioritize work and effectively manage multiple priorities. Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Strong PC skills including MS Office applications.

Equipment, Physical/Mental Demands, Working Conditions

Personal computer and other office equipment such as telephone, typewriter, calculator, fax machine, duplicating machine, etc.

Sitting for extended periods, standing, bending, stooping, and reaching.  Occasional lifting up to 20 pounds.  Manual dexterity sufficient to operate standard office machines.  Range of hearing and vision sufficient to operate standard office machines and communicate in person and via telephone with internal and external customers.

Able to deal with stress in a fast-paced work environment with multiple priorities.  Make decisions and adapt to changing work situations.  Grasp and apply new ideas and technologies.  Communicate and successfully interact with various personalities at all organizational levels.

Typical office setting, normally Monday through Friday business hours.  Occasional overtime as required.


Burns White conducts criminal background screenings for all newly hired employees.

No search firms
No phone calls, please

Interested candidates who meet the job requirements stated above should submit a resume and cover letter to Human Resources by email (jobs@burnswhite.com), fax (412.995.3300), or mail. No search firms. No phone calls, please.

Burns White Attorneys Healthcare and Long Term Care

Burns White Attorneys Granted Motion for Summary Judgment for Medical Center

Attorneys, Stuart O’Neal, Sean Maravich, Katherine Senior, and Amy Riley obtained a dismissal of the firm’s client, a large regional medical center, pursuant to a Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff claimed vicarious liability and corporate negligence against the medical center related to the prescription, oversight, and monitoring of blood thinning medication that allegedly resulted in the Plaintiff requiring an emergency craniotomy due to a brain hemorrhage.

Burns White attorneys filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on behalf of the medical center arguing that Plaintiff’s proffered expert reports lacked the required expert opinions to establish professional negligence in a malpractice action in Pennsylvania on either Plaintiff’s vicarious or corporate theories. This motion was opposed by Plaintiff. After oral argument, the Court ruled to grant summary judgment, dismissing Plaintiff’s case against the medical center entirely.



Burns White Attorneys Railroad Law

Lyda, Railroad Team Secure Defense Verdict

T.H. Lyda, Dan Hampton, and Burns White’s Railroad Practice Group recently received a defense verdict in a multi-million dollar ride-quality case on behalf of a Class 1 railroad client. Plaintiff was a 54-year old locomotive engineer claiming injuries under the Federal Employer Liability Act (FELA), and violations of the Locomotive Inspection Act due to whole-body vibration exposure, and loose, wobbly and poorly designed and maintained locomotive seats during his 24 year career at the railroad. He underwent two back surgeries, including a multi-level lumbar spinal fusion, and had lost wages and incurred medical expenses greater than $1 million dollars. Plaintiff’s counsel asked for $2.5 million during closing argument. After three hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the railroad on all claims. Local counsel for the case, which was tried in Clay County, Missouri, was Dan Church of Morrow Willnauer Church.

Attorney Wolbert Recognized as Best Law Firm Mentor, Firm Honored as Best Innovator

The Legal Intelligencer, a Pennsylvania law journal, recognized Family Law Attorney Dorothy Wolbert among its 2018  Best Law Firm Mentors, and awarded Burns White one of its prestigious 2018 Law Firm Innovator awards for the firm’s use of Alternative Fee Arrangements to meet client needs.

Ms. Wolbert was nominated for her ability to provide valuable knowledge to younger attorneys, paving the way for advancement and stellar contributions to the industry. A practitioner of the Collaborative Resolution Process—focusing on open communication, transparency, and a supportive environment—she leverages these skills while working with younger attorneys on the Family Law Practice team.

The publication also acknowledged the ground-breaking, innovative contribution that Burns White made to the legal industry in the area of Alternative Fee Arrangements. While this practice has become a common part of the legal landscape, this creative approach to billing and client service was not always broadly known or accepted. Burns White was among the first to propose and leverage this practice, and continues to offer a variety of Alternative Fee Arrangements tailored to meet clients’ various business needs and objectives.

The awards ceremony will be held June 27th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Railroad Group Secures Appellate Victory in Case Interpreting Release

The Burns White Transportation and Appellate Practice Groups recently won a significant victory in the Pennsylvania Superior Court in a case for a railroad client involving the interpretation of a release agreement under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (“FELA”).

Plaintiff brought an action in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County pursuant to the FELA alleging that her husband, a former railroad employee, developed lung cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos. Several years previously, the employee had sued the railroad alleging that he had developed asbestosis as a result of his railroad employment. The first lawsuit was settled, and the employee, represented by counsel, signed a release which provided that the employee was also settling future claims, which included language specifically releasing the railroad from liability for development of cancer arising from his alleged exposures to asbestos.

The railroad, represented by Burns White, filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the release barred the second lawsuit alleging development of lung cancer. The trial court agreed, granted summary judgment and dismissed the lawsuit. Plaintiff then appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court. Her primary argument was that the release was invalid due to the application of the FELA, which, according to the Plaintiff, restricted the ability of railroads to release claims for future injuries that had not yet manifested themselves at the time the release was executed. Following extensive briefing, the Superior Court affirmed the decision in an unpublished non-precedential opinion on March 23, 2018.

Due to a lack precedential appellate rulings from the Pennsylvania courts on the important question concerning the scope of releases in FELA lawsuits, Burns White, led by Transportation Group Chair David Damico and Appellate Practice Chair Ira Podheiser, filed a motion with the Superior Court to have the opinion published. On April 13, 2018, the Superior Court took the rare step of granting the motion to publish. As a result, this important ruling can be cited by the Pennsylvania courts, and by counsel, as binding precedent.

Medical Malpractice: Reginelli Peer Review Case Update

On March 27, 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a ruling significantly impacting Pennsylvania’s peer review protections. The Court in Reginelli v. Boggs held that the privilege provided by the Pennsylvania Peer Review Protection Act did not extend to a physician’s performance review file which was maintained by the physician’s employer, an emergency medicine physician practice group.

In Reginelli, a medical malpractice plaintiff sought the discovery of physician performance reviews. The reviews in question were conducted by a supervising physician employed by the physician-defendant’s practice group. The practice group, not the hospital, maintained the performance review file. The defendants each invoked the peer review privilege to prevent the discovery of this file. Ultimately, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the privilege did not extend to the performance review files in question, and that they must be produced.

In reaching its conclusion, the Court maintained a strict interpretation of those entities which could claim the peer review privilege, excluding all others, such as physician practice groups. The Court went on further, effectively limiting a hospital’s exercise of the peer review privilege to only those “proceedings and documents of a review committee.” In doing so, the Court appeared to adopt a very narrow definition of “review committee,” arguably only encompassing formal, hospital-established peer review committees. This section of the opinion also appears to have removed the activities of a credentialing review committee from the protections of the peer review privilege, effectively reversing prior case law to the contrary.

While not directly addressed, the Reginelli opinion highlights another significant issue where hospitals rely upon outside entities, such as physician practice groups, to conduct peer review activities. The Court has long held that these oversight functions are non-delegable. While the Court has also held that a hospital could contract with another entity for the performance of peer review functions, the Reginelli opinion seemingly scrutinized this practice. In Reginelli, the practice group had contractual responsibility with the hospital to evaluate all physicians working in the department. While the Court largely side-stepped this issue, it nonetheless deemed peer review inapplicable to the reviews in question.

The peer review privilege was put in place to allow medical providers the confidentiality necessary to perform candid reviews, and improve the medical services offered. This opinion adds to the series of recent Pennsylvania appellate cases which have continued to limit the peer review privilege, seemingly ignoring this purpose and the current realities of medical oversight. Nonetheless, the Court has not eliminated the peer review privilege, but instead adopted a more formalized application of the privilege than formerly thought to apply. Thus, with appropriate planning, it still appears possible to maintain the peer review privilege for many of the activities currently thought to fall under the umbrella of peer review.

Attorney Griffin Recognized for Civic Service by City & State PA

Attorney Ashley Griffin was selected by City & State PA as one of its inaugural Above & Beyond award recipients. Ms. Griffin, who serves on the Green Tree Borough Zoning Hearing Board, was among 25 women in the state of Pennsylvania recognized for their public and civic service. The award ceremony was held on March 22nd at Constitution Place in Philadelphia.


The Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts CLE Program

Marc L. Aronson, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Association of Notaries, will highlight the most important and interesting changes that replace the 1953 law. He will touch upon the changes that lawyers and their notary staff need to know to continue to be an effective and compliant notary public.

When:  Tuesday, March 27 at 12:00 p.m.
Where: Burns White Center, 48 26th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Registration Cost: $100
Registration Contact: Jessica L. Gangjee

CLE Credit Pending


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