Our Firm

Representative Cases

DeForest Koscelnik Yokitis & Berardinelli has had the opportunity to handle cases as diverse as the industries they cover—like aviation, media, technology, and medical fields, among many others. The following provides summaries of cases that best represent our firm. We've successfully represented clients from the local to Supreme Court levels.

Commercial Litigation

In a products liability action, we represented the plaintiff corporation, which levied alleged fraudulent misrepresentation and warranty claims that asserted substantial damages stemming from the defendant's allegedly faulty material. This material was ultimately incorporated into our client's product, which was subsequently recalled. We prevailed over multiple attempts by the defendant to have the case dismissed, including overcoming summary judgment motions that focused on numerous complex product liability legal issues. The case proceeded to trial and, after we had rested the plaintiff's case, the matter was amicably resolved.

In a major aviation products liability case, we obtained summary judgment in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County for our clients on claims by an upstream component manufacturer.

In a multimillion-dollar ERISA lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, we obtained dismissal of all claims in a purported class action against our client hospitals in Ohio and West Virginia.

Our firm was retained after default judgments had been entered against a bankrupt component parts manufacturer, and we opened an ancillary action in the Circuit Court of Mobile County, Alabama seeking a declaration of non-liability as to our client, the alleged guarantor or insurer of the obligations of the defaulting party. The defendants removed the case to federal court. We obtained a remand to the state court system, successfully making the innovative argument that a bankrupt party is not a "nominal party" for purposes of diversity jurisdiction. The remand ultimately helped achieve a successful resolution for our client.

In a case of first impression under Pennsylvania environmental law, we obtained dismissal of a complaint filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, against a purported generator of hazardous waste on the basis that the state Department of Environmental Protection failed to first pursue the owners and operators of the landfill. Subsequently, the plaintiff filed the action in federal court under federal environmental laws, where we again successfully obtained dismissal.

We represented a subsea electrical and fiber optic interconnect manufacturer regarding alleged use of confidential information and alleged breach of non-compete contract issues in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. The case was amicably resolved to the satisfaction of the company.

With limited time to prepare, we were retained as replacement counsel to assume the plaintiff's representation in a major commercial suit that involved alleged fraud, contract, and tortious interference claims, and resolution of an outstanding payment on notes that represented a significant portion of funds due from the prior acquisition of the plaintiff's company. We obtained highly favorable rulings from the court as well as voluntary payment for our client.

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Labor and Employment

A former salesman brought a breach of contract suit alleging six-figure damages against our client, an industrial company. The employee claimed that he was owed commissions from an approximately $2 million transaction. We won the case for the defendant; we argued that no commissions were due and the employee was not entitled to any damages. The case was tried by a jury over the course of approximately one week in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The jury returned a complete defense verdict finding that no breach of contract had occurred.

The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania granted our motion for summary judgment in favor of our client, a major financial institution, in a Title VII and Pregnancy Discrimination Act case brought by an employee who alleged discrimination in a decision to terminate her.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama granted our motion for summary judgment in favor of our client, a high-profile engineering company, in a Title VII case brought by an engineer and manager who alleged race and sex discrimination in a promotion decision.

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White Collar Criminal Defense

Over a four-day jury trial in the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, we won a defense verdict in favor of our client, a prominent class action law firm that faced fraud claims.

We successfully defended an executive in an export fraud investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. After a multi-year investigation, no criminal charges were brought against our client.

We defended a U.S. citizen who resides in the Philippines against charges of illegally exporting prohibited defense articles. The client was already indicted when we were retained. We took an aggressive approach to defending our client and challenged the Government's case pre-trial. After much labor, we convinced the U.S. Attorneys' Office that its main witness had falsified evidence and that they should polygraph him. After the witness failed the polygraph, all charges against our client were dismissed.

We successfully obtained a non-jail, probationary sentence for a public employee who was investigated and charged in conjunction with a large-scale public corruption investigation.

We successfully obtained a non-jail, probationary sentence for an accountant who was investigated and charged with federal tax violations and faced a Guidelines sentence that would have required him to be incarcerated.

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First Amendment Law

In June 2007, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held, pursuant to our petition, that our television station client had a right of access to an audiotape played as evidence at a criminal preliminary hearing (as opposed to a trial) even where the ultimate admissibility of the audiotape at trial was in question.

We obtained summary judgment in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County on behalf of a television station client that had been sued for defamation by a judge due investigative stories regarding the judge. The summary judgment was upheld on the plaintiff's appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court and Supreme Court.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held, in a matter of first impression, that our television station client had a First Amendment right of access to obtain the names of both trial jurors and prospective jurors prior to the commencement of a criminal trial.

We obtained reversal by the Pennsylvania Superior Court of a Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas' decision that had barred access to a photograph presented to the jury in a well-publicized criminal matter.

We obtained a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit granting access to sealed proceedings in a high profile criminal trial.

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