Patricia M. Hamill

Partner

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T: 215.864.8071

F: 215.864.0793

Patricia is uniquely situated to represent corporate clients in today’s business world with its increased governmental oversight and regulation.  Known as a creative and strategic thinker who will “go all out” on behalf of her clients, Patricia does not let obstacles become major impediments to a “win,” however that is defined by the circumstances.

Patricia is uniquely situated to represent corporate clients in today’s business world with its increased governmental oversight and regulation.  Known as a creative and strategic thinker who will “go all out” on behalf of her clients, Patricia does not let obstacles become major impediments to a “win,” however that is defined by the circumstances.

As co-chair of the Firm’s Complex Commercial Litigation Practice Group, Patricia has spent more than 20 years appearing in federal and state courts throughout the country, representing Fortune 500 companies to successfully defend consumer fraud and securities class action lawsuits as well as other complex commercial litigation.  Patricia also routinely represents her corporate clients in business-to-business litigation and employment matters, and has substantial experience in successfully representing companies in False Claims Act and other whistleblower litigation.  Her clients are in a wide range of industries including technology, insurance and securities. 

While Patricia has deep expertise in the civil arena, she has also spent the past two decades representing, counseling and conducting internal investigations for clients who face potential criminal liability from federal and state grand jury investigations into False Claims, bribes, kickbacks, identity theft, and other frauds, as well as SEC and FINRA investigations involving 10(b)-5 claims, insider trading or breaches of duty.  Many of her clients face the challenges of potential parallel criminal and civil prosecutions or the threat of private lawsuits based on the same issues involved in the government investigations.  Patricia is equally comfortable with both the civil and criminal issues that inevitably arise in such representations, and she is an effective negotiator who works hard to avoid criminal exposure for her clients and to minimize any potential civil liability.  Additionally, Patricia applies her experience from representing clients who are targets of government investigations to counseling clients on preventative strategies and compliance.  As a result, she has helped companies avoid litigation, scrutiny and substantial penalties time and time again.

Patricia brings her considerable experience to the Firm’s Receivership Practice Group.  She has both served as a  court-appointed federal receiver and represented court-appointed receivers in SEC and other federal actions. There she aggressively pursues affirmative third party litigation to recover assets to be used to compensate victims of Ponzi schemes and other frauds. 

Patricia also represents college students subjected to campus disciplinary proceedings or who have been suspended, expelled from or otherwise disciplined by their colleges following campus disciplinary hearings for alleged sexual misconduct or other alleged student code violations.  Patricia often attempts to resolve the cases behind the scenes. But where resolution cannot be achieved, she files lawsuits against the colleges for breach of contract, violation of Title IX (or other civil rights statutes) and tort liability on the basis that the colleges’ investigation and adjudication procedures failed to ensure the students’ fundamental due process rights, discriminated against them on the basis of sex and breached the schools’ contractual obligations.  

Before joining the firm, Patricia was a Chief Assistant City Solicitor for the City of Philadelphia, where she tried cases involving commercial, procurement and contract issues in state and federal court.

In addition to her practice, Patricia is also a member of the firm's three-person Executive Committee that manages and oversees the firm.

Patricia is a member, and former Chair, of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Business Litigation Committee and is a member of the Steering Committee of the Philadelphia Women’s White Collar Group. Additionally, she is a long-time board member of PathWaysPA, a social service agency providing services and advocacy for women, children and families. She also chairs the Personnel Committee at her church, the Unitarian Society of Germantown. When not working, Patricia spends time with her family and continues her life-long pursuit of physical fitness, which began in backyard pickup games with her five older brothers, continued through her years in college co-captaining the field hockey and lacrosse teams, and continues today with yoga, bicycling and hiking (or sometimes just walking the dog!).

representative matters

complex commercial litigation

  • Represented Hewlett-Packard and HP Financial Services Company in federal district court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in a breach of contract and warranty action arising out of the installation of various storage related products and software.  After initial motion practice, plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed HP Financial Services Company and the case successfully settled before HP incurred significant discovery costs.
  • Obtained summary judgment for technology client in a multi-million dollar lawsuit arising out of our client’s participation in a Consortium to offer services and technology to a school district in connection with the federal E-rate program, which provides subsidies for schools and libraries to obtain telecommunications and Internet access. Three Consortium members sued our client in Texas state court alleging fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and other claims. After discovery, our client moved for summary judgment on statute of limitations grounds, and after oral argument, the judge granted summary judgment from the bench. The summary judgment decision was affirmed on appeal to the Texas Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court denied plaintiffs' petition for review.
  • Retained by clients in the technology industry to develop and monitor internal programs to ensure compliance with competitive bidding and gift rule requirements under the federal E-rate (Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support Mechanism) program, the largest source of technology funding for K-12 schools in the United States. Responsibilities include working closely with inside legal, compliance and business personnel to support business development and monitor compliance; planning and oversight of internal audits; employee and third party training; and advocacy to federal regulators on unsettled legal issues. 
  • Represented a startup company that developed online and mobile products for the management of diabetes and other chronic medical conditions in a breach of contract action against a global pharmaceutical company known for its insulin products.  Our client and the pharmaceutical company had closely partnered for a number of years to develop, publicize and explore the market for our client’s products with the goal of the pharmaceutical company purchasing our client.  The pharmaceutical company abruptly terminated the relationship on the eve of finalizing the purchase agreement, leaving our client without future funding and facing destruction of its business.   Following initial motion practice for a preliminary injunction, the pharmaceutical company agreed to a significant settlement that allowed our client to survive and continue its business operations.
  • Represented an international bank sued in a federal district court in New Jersey in a class action that alleged improprieties in the company’s assessment of late fees on equipment leases; after filing a motion to dismiss, convinced the putative class to dismiss its claims voluntarily.
  • Represented a debt management company in a consumer class action relating to claims arising under the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA), the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and unfair trade practices statutes.  Secured a favorable settlement for our client after initial motion practice.
  • Worked closely with our client, a worldwide technology company, and its compliance department, in-house counsel and business executives to assist our client in fulfilling its responsibilities under a 3-year federal compliance agreement negotiated with the Federal Communications Commission in the wake of a government investigation.  During the compliance period, advocated to the FCC on our client’s behalf on issues that arose in the “gray” areas of the Agreement regarding the legality of certain marketing programs, the amount of responsibility our client was required to take for its independent business partners, and the need for clarification of gift and competitive bidding rules.
  • Represented the court-appointed receiver in an SEC enforcement action against the operator of a Ponzi-like scheme who stole tens of millions of dollars from investors in hedge funds he managed.  Through actions or threatened actions against company insiders, accountants and “net winner” investors, recovered and restored to innocent investors nearly 80% of the funds invested. 
  • Represented a federally-appointed receiver in an enforcement action brought by the federal government against a third-party payment processing company and its principals (who were alleged to have facilitated a nationwide fraudulent telemarketing scheme).  Successfully recovered over one million dollars from a national bank to fund a Consumer Restitution Program for victims of the fraud.  Our efforts against the bank uncovered information that launched further government action, resulting in the recovery of more than $150 million to fund a full restitution program for the victims. 
  • Represented the receiver in an enforcement action brought by the Federal Trade Commission against a number of related telemarketing businesses alleged to have been involved in the national marketing of fraudulent credit cards. The case settled with the defendant business operators for more than $7.5 million, providing nearly 100% restitution to the victims.
  • Presently serving as court-appointed federal equity receiver in a Federal Trade Commission enforcement action pending in the federal district court for the Western District of New York brought against a number of related entities and individuals in the debt collections industry alleged to be in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and related state statutes.  As receiver, responsible for winding up all entities in the receivership and maximizing the remaining available assets by limiting liabilities, liquidating physical assets and assessing potential claw back claims to recover funds fraudulently transferred out of the receivership.

insurance litigation

  • Presently represents an insurer in litigation alleging that plaintiffs, a small employer and its owner, were induced to enter an employee welfare benefit plan and purchase cash-value life insurance policies based on misrepresentations concerning tax benefits. Plaintiffs have alleged claims under ERISA, RICO, and state law against the individuals and entities involved in developing, selling and administering the plan, as well as against the insurer that issued the policy.  This case is one of many filed by plaintiffs' counsel in an attempt to hold insurers liable for allegedly excessive fees and commissions as well as funds the plan fiduciaries allegedly converted from the policies.  In a related case, the Department of Labor has separately filed a civil enforcement action against the plan fiduciaries.
  • Represented an insurance holding company against three separate putative class actions asserting direct and derivative claims in state and federal court in connection with a proposed merger valued at approximately $220 million. Each of the lawsuits sought a preliminary injunction to enjoin the shareholder vote and prevent the merger from closing.  Filed motions to dismiss the state actions and negotiated a standstill agreement with the federal plaintiff pending the results of the state lawsuits.  Negotiated a favorable global settlement of all three lawsuits that did not alter the merger consideration and allowed the merger to go forward on its original timetable. 
  • Represented three AEGON companies in long-running putative consumer class action suits in New Mexico state court in which plaintiffs sought nationwide certification for alleged breach of contract and failure to disclose modal premium charges.  Achieved success for our clients in all three cases. The plaintiffs in two of the cases voluntarily dismissed the nationwide putative class action after initial motion practice, Cadigan v. Transamerica Occidental Life Ins. Co., No. D-101-CV-99-2619, and after we filed a motion to dismiss for forum non conveniens, Wodzinski v. Peoples Benefit Life Ins. Co., No. D-101-CV-2000-2816.  In the third case, after extensive briefing and multiple oral arguments on the issues related to nationwide class certification, the parties agreed to a settlement of the case, limiting the class to a small pool comprising only New Mexico residents.  Romero v. J.C. Penney Life Ins. Co., No. D-101-CV-2001-270.
  • Represented People’s Benefit Life Insurance Company in Pennsylvania state court in a national consumer class action.  The putative class claimed the insurer had breached contractual and fiduciary duties when it calculated the death benefits owed on variable annuity products.  Class certification denied.  
  • In a series of four nationwide consumer class actions brought against AEGON/Transamerica companies in state and federal courts in Florida, Georgia, and Kentucky alleging abusive practices and misrepresentations in the sale of universal and variable universal life policies, defeated class certification, secured dismissal, and obtained summary judgment in our clients’ favor.
  • Represented an insurer in a putative national class action in federal district court in Iowa against our client and a national brokerage firm alleging claims of misrepresentation in the sale of variable annuities.  Case dismissed pursuant to the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (SLUSA), with dismissal affirmed by the Eighth Circuit.

securities litigation

  • Represented a former officer of a medical equipment financing company in proceedings that arose after the company filed for bankruptcy.  Diligent and persistent advocacy yielded superior results for the client, who faced millions of dollars in potential damages in numerous civil actions (alleging securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty and common law fraud) in addition to potential criminal charges and an SEC enforcement action.  The proceedings included lawsuits by the bankruptcy trustee, shareholders, bondholders and financial institutions, and investigations by the SEC and the Department of Justice.  The DOJ declined prosecution and, after a lengthy Wells process, the SEC declined to pursue an enforcement action against our client.  Two of the civil cases were settled with a minimal contribution from our client, and class action shareholder plaintiffs agreed voluntarily to dismiss our client with no monetary settlement. 
  • Represented a former interim chief financial officer for a startup company that was alleged to have operated the largest green-energy Ponzi scheme in the United States.  A class action and a parallel civil action filed by the receiver for the startup company asserted various claims against the former CFO along with other professionals associated with the company, including violations of sections 10(b)(5) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act (relating to the publication of allegedly misleading or false information in connection with the sale of unregistered securities).  In addition to defending against those actions, also assisted the former CFO in a coverage dispute with multiple insurers.  Secured coverage and obtained a global settlement agreement resolving both lawsuits without any payments from the former interim CFO. 
  • Represented an investment advisor firm with $800 million of assets under management and five of its officers in connection with a three-year SEC investigation.  The SEC alleged that our client’s trading practices allowed it to “cherry pick” positive trades for its benefit and allocate trades that had declined in value to its clients.  As a result, the company and its officers faced $3 million in alleged disgorgement payments and penalties, and various charges including fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. Three officers were facing a five year bar.  Successfully convinced the SEC to forego a Wells process, and the case settled on the basis of a negligent breach of fiduciary duty, with the investment advisor firm paying less than 1% of the original disgorgement sought and the company’s CEO paying a modest fine without being barred or suspended. 
  • Represented a FINRA registered representative in civil and regulatory proceedings related to his former employment. On the civil side, various former clients of the representative brought claims alleging negligent and/or fraudulent advice regarding real estate investments. Successfully defended our client both in the civil liability proceedings and in a separate insurance coverage declaratory relief action. On the regulatory side, advised the client through all phases of the FINRA investigation, including negotiating on the client’s behalf a disposition of the matter involving no payment of restitution, disgorgement or any fines.
  • Represented the chief financial officer of a bankrupt subprime lender in a federal securities class action and state court litigation in Pennsylvania.  Successfully settled the federal and state cases, negotiating on our client’s behalf with the D&O insurance carrier to pay the settlement amounts.
  • Represented a securities brokerage firm affiliated with one of our insurance company clients in a putative securities class action relating to the sale of promissory notes.  The case was settled for nuisance value.

education litigation

  • Brought litigation against Brandeis University on behalf of a male student who was disciplined on sexual misconduct charges, after the student was accused by the university of sexual assault in the period leading up to and during a 21-month relationship with his former boyfriend.  The litigation was filed in federal court, asserting common law claims for breach of contract, negligence, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and equitable relief.  The Court issued a decision denying the university’s motion to dismiss, stating the student plausibly alleged “that Brandeis denied [the student] the ‘basic fairness’ to which he was entitled.”  Our client voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit in a Stipulated Dismissal, joined by Brandeis, as he felt vindicated by the Court’s 80+ page decision denying Brandeis’s motion to dismiss the case.  The investigation by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights continues into his complaint against Brandeis for violations of Title IX in the University’s handling of his disciplinary matter.  
  • Brought action against Swarthmore College on behalf of a student expelled in the wake of a disciplinary proceeding following allegations of sexual misconduct made against our client by a fellow student.  Instituted civil litigation in federal district court, asserting claims under Title IX as well as common law claims for breach of contract, negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and equitable relief.  Following the filing of the complaint, additional information became available, which both parties believed raised questions about the impartiality of the college judiciary panel that heard our client’s case.  The college agreed that the new information raised sufficient questions about the fairness of the hearing to warrant vacating the panel’s finding and sanctions. 
  • Nationwide practice representing and counseling students who are facing university disciplinary matters or in the appeals phase following an adverse finding in the initial proceedings; additionally have successfully negotiated with universities on behalf of students regarding potential Title IX/breach of contract actions in an effort to get student disciplinary findings vacated or modified without the need for litigation. 

publications and speaking engagements

Informal Discussion of Settlements: What is Possible?, Lycurgus Group, LLC, Third Annual Symposium on Representing Students Accused of Sexual Assault (February 2017)

Evolving Case Law on Title IX Civil Litigation: The Changing Landscape, Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) Higher Education Conference (November 2016)

Whether ‘tis Nobler…: How Recent Student Lawsuits Have Fared in the Courts, ATIXA (Association of Title IX Coordinators)/ SCOPE (School and College Organization for Pennsylvania Educators) Joint National Conference (October 2016)

The View from the Trenches: Stories from a Title IX Respondent's Attorney, University of South Florida Title IX Summit (September 2016)

Defending the Campus Sexual Misconduct Case: Strategies for Handling Disciplinary and Criminal Proceedings, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers webinar (July 2016)

How to Avoid a Title IX Lawsuit by the Accused Student, Rowan University Title IX Summit (June 2016)

Co-Author, "What Steps to Take if You're a Title IX Respondent", The Legal Intelligencer (March 29, 2016) (http://www.conradobrien.com/news/what-steps-to-take-if-youre-a-title-ix-respondent

How to Avoid a Title IX Lawsuit, Second Annual Symposium on Representing Students Accused of Sexual Assault (February 2016)

Major in English for Love and Money, Bryn Mawr College Alumnae Presentation (February 2016) 

Quoted in "The Other Side of the College Sexual Assault Crisis", Newsweek, Max Kutner (December 10, 2015) (http://www.conradobrien.com/news/the-other-side-of-the-college-sexual-assault-crisis)

Panel Moderator, Lunch with Judge Ramy I. Djerassi, Philadelphia Bar Association, Business Law Section, Business Litigation Committee (October 2015)

How to Avoid a Title IX Lawsuit, ATIXA (Association of Title IX Coordinators)/ SCOPE (School and College Organization for Pennsylvania Educators) Joint National Conference (October 2015)

Title IX Litigation Case Update, Philadelphia Bar Institute (PBI) Higher Education Conference (June 2015)

Settlement Agreements in the Title IX Context:  Key Components and a Wish List, Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE) Spring Meeting (April 2015).

Getting Your Evidence In At Trial and Using it Effectively in a Business Case, American Bar Association 2015 Business Law Section Spring Meeting (April 2015).

Yes Means Yes, The Latest on Title IX and Sexual Assault, Cape Institute (August 2015, April 2015, December 2014).

Tips from the Trenches:  Effectively Representing Students In Campus Sexual Misconduct Proceedings and Related Litigation, First Annual Symposium on Navigating Due Process and Title IX Issues in Campus Sexual Assault Procedures: Constitutional, Statutory, Contractual, and Tort Considerations (October 2014).

Cyber Security and Data Breaches, The Legal Landscape, Sixth Annual American Bar Association's National Institute on Corporate Investigations and Forum for In-House Counsel (April 2014).

Federal Tax Considerations in the Administration of a Receivership, Annual Conference of The National Association of Federal Equity Receivers (NAFER) (September 2013).

How to Effectively Address Data Breaches, ABA Fifth Annual National Institute on Internal Corporate Investigations and Forum for In-House Counsel (Moderator) (April 2013).

Enforcement, Disclosure and Global Compliance Expectations: FCPA, the UK Bribery Act and  Beyond, U.S. - Ireland Legal Symposium (October 2012).

The Duty to Defend:  Who Pays the Bills?, PBI Business Insurance (June 2012). 

What Every Transactional Lawyer Needs to Know About Doing Business with the Public Sector, DELVACCA (September 2011).

What Corporate Counsel Need to Know About the Refocused SEC, DELVACCA 2011 In-House Counsel Conference (April 2011).

How to Conduct an Effective Internal Corporate Investigation: Avoid the Many Landmines, DELVACCA 2010 In-House Counsel Conference (May 2010).

State Physician Disclosure Trends: Is Your Company in Compliance or Is It Exposed to Potential Government Investigations?, DELVACCA Health Biotech & Pharma Committee Institute (January 2010).

Co-author, "Steps To Take When The Government Comes Calling", Executive Counsel, Vol. 6, No. 3 (July/August 2009).

Ethical Issues in Federal Insurance Regulation: There's a New Sheriff in Town, 13th Annual PBI Insurance Institute (April 2009).

Are You Ready for the Friday Afternoon S.E.C. or D.O.J. Subpoena?, DELVACCA presentation in conjunction with the Litigation and Ethics Committees (December 2008).

Criminal Law 101 for Insurance Professionals, Insurance Society of Philadelphia.