Jeff is a Shareholder and Director in Cohen & Grigsby's Litigation Group. He is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Jeff’s practice is diverse, ranging from all types of personal injury litigation to complex commercial litigation, including shareholder disputes, partnership disputes, insurance coverage, software and hardware suitability cases, and breach of contract cases. Jeff is a member of the prestigious Million Dollar Advocates Forum, having achieved numerous multi-million recoveries for his clients. Jeff has a Martindale-Hubbell rating of “A.V.”, the highest ratings for legal ability and ethical standards. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America for more than 10 consecutive years for commercial litigation, and has also been recognized by Best Lawyers and Pennsylvania Super Lawyers for personal injury litigation and trusts and estates litigation.
Jeff has successfully litigated cases for over 30 years. He has tried numerous cases, including both bench and jury trials. Notable cases include a multimillion dollar jury verdict in a business fraud case, including a multi-million dollar punitive damage award; one of the first known jury verdicts in federal court for tortious interference with prospective contract; and over $50 million in recoveries for injured plaintiffs. He has litigated cases in many jurisdictions from California to Delaware in state and federal courts. Jeff is also admitted to the United States Court of Claims and the United States Supreme Court.
Special Expertise – Corporate and Partnership Governance Issues
Recently, a significant percentage of Jeff’s practice has been devoted to issues relating to minority shareholder or partnership oppression. He has represented companies regarding such claims, as well as the individual making the claim of oppression. Jeff was lead counsel in the following representative cases, where he successfully forced a buyout of the oppressed client’s interest:
- Jean Capello v. Robert Black and Tri-County Petroleum, Inc., Case No. 169 of 2004 (Court of Common Pleas, Bedford County, Pennsylvania).
- Joann Peterson v. Richard Pagliara and Elizabeth Carbide Die Company, Inc., No. FD 92-006165-0003 (Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania).
- Arnold Zlotnik v. Aromatic Technologies, et al., No. GD 94-10423 (Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania).
- Linda Friedline v. GPX, Inc., et al., No. GD 98-18799 (Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania)
Special Expertise – Insurance
Jeff has had extensive experience in insurance coverage litigation, including cases involving comprehensive general liability, directors' and officers' liability, fidelity, property and flood insurance, excess and worker’s compensation insurance. He has handled cases involving fires, collapsed buildings, floods, mudslides, explosions, water damage, product failures, and mold. One of his specialties is helping clients prepare detailed proofs of loss, avoiding the necessity of hiring public adjusters and giving up a percentage of the loss. He has had extensive experience with retrospective premium disputes. He has also had extensive experience with bad faith claims, both prosecuting and defending such claims. He has successfully tried bad faith cases for insurers and against insurers. Representative court opinions and references are available upon request.
Representative cases include:
- American International South Insurance Company v. R. I. Lampus, No. GD 98-5322 (Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania) (bad faith verdict on counterclaim for fire loss in favor of client)
- Twin City Fire Insurance Company, as assignee of J.C. Penney’s, et al. v. Liberty Mutual, et al., No. GD 98-12041 (Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania) (successful defense of multimillion dollar bad faith claim)
- Scalise Industries, Inc. v.St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company, No. GD 03-9846 (Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania) (represented plaintiff in dispute relating to coverage for property loss due to water damage)
- Most Reverend Joseph V. Adamec, et al., v. Penn-America Ins. Co., et al., No. 92 CP 2433 (Court of Common Pleas, Blair County, Pennsylvania) (represented Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in dispute relating to coverage for negligent supervision of employees)
- Home Insurance Company v. Maurice A. Nernberg, et al., Case No. 97-0060 (U.S. District Court of Western Pennsylvania) (Declaratory judgment action regarding coverage for verdict against client)
- Charles S. Stone, M.D.v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. GD 96-10983, (Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania) (Dispute regarding disability benefits)
- Metropol, Inc. v. Tennis Roofing & Asphalt, Inc., No. 98-4455, (Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania) (Dispute regarding coverage for fire loss)
- Author, "Minority Shareholder Oppression in Family Businesses in Pennsylvania." JD Supra, 2015
- Author, "Minority Shareholder Rights in Pennsylvania and Florida: A Tale of Two Very Different Approaches." JD Supra, 2015
- Author, "Privileges and Witnesses," PBI Evidence Manual, 1983
- Author, "Corporate Attorney-Client Privilege at Risk," Pittsburgh Business Times, March, 1991