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.
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. 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, as well as the 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. The plaintiffs in an action in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania asserted claims for declaratory relief, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment against our clients and others. We sought a declaration from the Court that the plaintiffs were the sole inventors of an invention, which is the subject of a patent on which our clients were identified as co-inventors. The case was removed to the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and motions to dismiss were filed. We achieved dismissal of the Complaint as it related to federal questions and had the remaining claims that were brought under state law remanded back to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. That Court sustained Defendants’ Preliminary Objections, and an Appeal was filed in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. That appeal has been dismissed. The matter has been concluded in our clients’ favor. Our client came to us when a $2 Million default judgment had been entered against him in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. We succeeded in having the default stricken, then litigated motions to dismiss that resulted in the plaintiff voluntarily dismissing the claim against our client. We successfully defended a Section 1983 case in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania alleging $300 Million in damages. We resolved the case for no monetary payment. We commenced an arbitration before the American Arbitration Association on behalf of our client relating to the construction of a production facility that did not meet contract specifications. We brought suit against the prime contractor, which then joined a subcontractor to the action. We received a significant award in favor of our client, including the cost of remediation and attorneys’ fees. Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County asked us to defend a suit by PSSI Stadium, LLC for approximately $20 million to pay for certain expenditures, including seat construction, at Heinz Field. The Court accepted our argument as to interpretation of the stadium lease and substantial taxpayer funds were saved.
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 two million-dollar transaction. We won the case for the defendant, arguing 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.
We have successfully brought numerous injunction cases alleging improper use of confidential information and solicitation of clients by former employees of our clients. As an example, we sought a preliminary injunction in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania after an employee had left to form his own wealth management firm, which was affiliated with a competitor of our client. It was alleged that the employee had taken confidential information of our client in breach of his restrictive covenant agreement and improperly solicited clients. In a short time frame after initiation of the case, we were able to attain a stipulated injunction and stipulated damages against the defendant. This matter involved substantial customer relationships and dealt with issues regarding restrictive covenant agreements and confidentiality agreements. In another case, we brought a motion for preliminary injunction after an employee had departed and joined a competing financial institution. It was alleged that the employee had taken confidential information of our client in breach of her restrictive covenant agreement and improperly solicited clients. We were able to attain a stipulated injunction order and stipulated damages against the defendant.
White Collar Criminal Defense
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.
The client retained us in the middle of sentencing litigation in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania concerning mortgage fraud. He was facing a possible sentence, according to entering guidelines, in the range of nearly 30 years. We ultimately litigated a variety of issues including obtaining a Brady ruling against the Government that enabled us to negotiate a plea agreement to 57 months.
We represented a client being investigated for health care fraud and FDA violations in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. After the government initially claimed a loss that exceeded $2 Million, we were able to convince them that the loss was grossly overstated and a plea agreement with a loss of only five figures was negotiated.
First Amendment Law
Pursuant to our petition, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held 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 to 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 reversing the trial court and granting access to sealed proceedings in a high-profile criminal trial.