W DeForest
Walter P. DeForest
Partner
Pittsburgh, New York, and Detroit Offices
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T 412.227.3101   •   deforest@deforestlawfirm.com
Walter's litigation work has been primarily in the area of business disputes, product liability, technology disputes, trade secret cases, defamation claims, employment contracts, non-competition provisions, wrongful termination suits, contract claims, and discrimination and sexual harassment cases. As a mediator, Walter has successfully resolved commercial matters involving numerous and often high-stakes claims.
Litigator

Walter has litigated numerous cases in the state and federal courts both locally and nationally, including cases in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, California, New York, West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Florida, New Hampshire, Georgia, and Alabama. He has had cases and been admitted to practice before ten federal courts of appeals. Walter also has had considerable practice before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Walter routinely takes on cases that are highly significant to his clients. The following are examples in just the last few years. When a preeminent nationally recognized plaintiffs' law firm which challenges acquisitions sought to stop an acquisition by one of Walter's clients, instead of paying a settlement, the client resisted and Walter filed a motion to dismiss. When the Court indicated it would deny a stay of the acquisition and rule on the motion to dismiss, the plaintiff withdrew the challenge.

In another case, when the actions of a local religious diocese leader indicated that the organization's endowment (in excess of $20 million in funds) could be the subject of dispute and potential separation from the national church of which the local diocese was a part, Walter brought suit as plaintiff's counsel on behalf of one of the parishes in the diocese. He obtained a consent order protecting the endowment funds and other property, and, despite claims by the group that ultimately did separate, reached the successful result that the funds remained with those persons who did not leave the national church.

Similarly, when a client facing in excess of $20 million in exposure in a product liability death case in Georgia decided to change lead defense counsel three weeks before trial, it came to Walter. In a two-week trial, he obtained dismissal of one defendant, tried the case to verdict and obtained a verdict awarding only a comparatively minor amount against the remaining defendant, less than one-tenth of the damages sought by plaintiffs.

Also, when a company which had acquired a high-tech business was concerned that the former head of the company was engaging in a potentially competing enterprise, Walter filed a lawsuit in the Middle District of Florida. He litigated the issues that included alleged use of confidential information and alleged breach of non-compete contract issues, and the matter was amicably resolved to the satisfaction of the company.

Recently he was hired to represent the Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County to defend a claim by PSSI Stadium LLC for approximately $20 million to pay for certain expenditures, including seat construction, at Heinz Field.

Walter understands and respects the role of inside counsel having been a general counsel, himself, for nine years. In addition to representing clients in high-stakes litigation matters, he often advises and represents clients in the labor and employment area.

Walter has also served as legal counsel for more than 700 licensing arrangements in the technology area, including both out-license and in-license arrangements, covering a wide range of technologies from artificial intelligence to biomedical. This familiarity with technology has enhanced his litigation capabilities.

Most recently, Walter was recognized as the 2014 Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year for Litigation – Labor and Employment, for Pittsburgh, and the 2015 Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year for Litigation – First Amendment, for Pittsburgh.

If you have a significant claim that you believe is appropriate, or are being faced with a claim that you believe is unmeritorious in commercial litigation, contract disputes, trade secrets, technology, employment, defamation, or the other areas in which Walter practices, he would be glad to speak with you.

Mediator

Walter offers a unique capability among mediators because in his forty years of practice he has litigated both for plaintiffs and defendants, corporations and individuals and in state and federal courts throughout the U.S. He has been a complex case litigator in cases across the country for more than forty years. Walter has litigated cases in more than 13 states and appellate cases before 9 federal courts of appeals and the United States Supreme Court.

He has the respect of both colleagues and adversaries, many of whom have kindly offered their reference for his mediation practice. Walter has striven diligently to be known for his honesty and fairness as well as a knowledge of law and procedure that only comes with a lifetime of such litigation experience. He is grateful for the recognition of his peers. Because of that respect and experience, he believes he can serve everyone well in mediation — leaving all who participate thankful for the process.