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professional liability

Conrad O’Brien attorneys understand the unique needs of the professional community because the Firm has represented its leaders for decades.  Conrad O’Brien is the law firm that global law firms choose to protect the reputations of their lawyers.  Conrad O’Brien is also the law firm of choice for a world renowned hospital and its distinguished roster of physicians.  These highly regarded practitioners turn to us because they trust the integrity, sound judgment, and skill of our lawyers. 

representation of lawyers and law firms 

The Firm has many achievements in representing clients in legal malpractice cases.

Representative engagements include the following: 

  • A client sued one of the world’s largest law firms in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas for  malpractice over advice regarding transactions governed by a federal statute, The Trading with the Enemy Act.  Although the original claim sought damages in excess of $100 million, Conrad O’Brien used a combination of motions to dismiss, for summary judgment, and in limine to pare the claims down.  By the beginning of trial, the law firm’s total exposure had been reduced to less than $20 million.  By the end of trial, the law firm was exonerated entirely. The jury returned a complete defense verdict.  When the plaintiffs appealed the verdict to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, Conrad O’Brien’s attorneys achieved an affirmance of the verdict. 
  • A client sued one of the largest law firms in Philadelphia with respect to its handling of settlement negotiations.  The plaintiff sought a seven-figure damages award, but Conrad O’Brien’s attorneys mounted an effective defense that refocused the attention of the case where it properly belonged: on the informed decisions of the plaintiff himself.  By the end of trial, a jury agreed that the plaintiff’s claim lacked merit, and it rendered a complete defense verdict. 
  • The Firm represented two AmLaw 100 law firms in an action alleging that both firms had failed to file a copyright infringement action against a company that had infringed plaintiffs’ design in a sculpture.  A third law firm later filed the copyright infringement claim in federal court six years after plaintiffs discovered the infringement; in that case, the federal judge permitted plaintiffs’ claim to proceed for the three years prior to the filing of the suit, but barred all damages that occurred more than three years before suit.  In the malpractice action, plaintiffs sought recovery of the damages barred by the federal court.  At trial, Conrad O’Brien’s attorneys elicited evidence that plaintiffs had made an informed decision not to pursue copyright litigation against the alleged infringer.  After Conrad O’Brien’s cross-examination of the lead plaintiff, the plaintiffs’ demand dropped significantly and the parties agreed to settle the dispute. 
  • Conrad O’Brien represented another AmLaw 100 law firm in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in a legal malpractice action, in which plaintiffs alleged that our client’s trial attorneys had failed to object to the court’s directive that the concurrence of six of the eight jurors would constitute the trial verdict-which was less than the required seven of eight jurors’ concurrence – after which a jury verdict was rendered against plaintiffs.  The case settled on favorable terms after picking a jury but prior to opening statements. 
  • The firm won a motion for summary judgment in a case brought against a large Philadelphia law firm by a former client, alleging that the law firm failed to perfect an appeal of the dismissal of the client’s multi-million dollar claim for delay damages on a construction project.  The court granted summary judgment in our client’s favor, ruling that the plaintiff suffered no damages because the dismissal of the client’s claim would have been affirmed on appeal.  The case then settled.  
  • In a putative federal class action filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Conrad O’Brien attorneys represent a plaintiffs’ personal injury attorney.  The attorney and his co-defendants were alleged in the multiple-count complaint to have breached fiduciary duties owed to their clients, asbestos personal injury claimants, by failing to disclose settlement terms that allegedly benefitted certain clients over others.  Our attorneys initially defeated class certification and successfully moved for summary judgment on all claims; however, the Third Circuit remanded the case on the narrow issue of whether the breach of fiduciary claims were viable under Texas state law.  After further motions to dismiss were granted and an appeal taken, the case was remanded for a second time.  Plaintiffs again moved for class certification, resulting in the denial of class certification for the second time in the case.  The Third Circuit recently denied plaintiffs’ Petition for Leave to Appeal the class certification denial pursuant to Fed. R.C.P 23(f).
  • A regional law firm chose Conrad O’Brien to represent it in a case alleging abuse of process.  We stopped the case at its very beginning by moving successfully to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim.
  • The firm represented local lawyers in an action filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas alleging that they negligently permitted a default judgment to be entered against their client.  We won the case on a motion for summary judgment.
  • Conrad O’Brien represented a law firm in a malpractice action filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  The claims were complex and multifaceted.  They concerned the firm’s negotiation of a security agreement and subordination agreement for the plaintiff; the firm’s representation of the plaintiff as a creditor in subsequent bankruptcy proceedings; and discussions between the firm and the plaintiff regarding the release of malpractice claims.  We moved the case into a posture where the dispute would be mediated, and then represented the client in a mediation that resolved all of the claims to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.
  • A major law firm and one of its patent attorneys were sued over a missed deadline for a foreign patent application.  The plaintiff’s claims started out at over $10 million and were based largely on the theory that the lost patent application reduced the royalty potential for the new product.  Conrad O’Brien challenged the damages potential of the case on two fronts.  First, we presented a legal challenge to the standing of the plaintiff to sue with respect to the largest portion of the claim.  Second, we lined up a team of experts – which included a foreign patent law expert, a product market expert, and an intellectual property valuation expert – all of whom worked together to demonstrate that it was very unlikely that the royalty stream would be diminished at all.  The approach worked, and the matter was settled for a portion of the original demand.
  • Conrad O’Brien was retained by an AmLaw 100 law firm to represent it in a highly-publicized lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania by a former client seeking, inter alia, to enjoin our client’s representation of a current client in a possible acquisition of the former client.  Conrad O’Brien’s attorneys obtained a stay in the Pennsylvania court; thereafter, our client successfully defeated the former client’s attempt to disqualify it from the representation in the Delaware Chancery Court.        

representation of doctors and hospitals

Conrad O’Brien represents physicians and hospitals in connection with professional liability cases.  Among our clients are Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a pediatric hospital with a worldwide reputation.  On behalf of clients like CHOP, Conrad O’Brien attorneys have successfully tried to defense verdicts cases involving death and catastrophic personal injuries.

Conrad O’Brien’s attorneys have an in-depth knowledge of human anatomy and many of the medical specialties that are used to treat disease.  We have established strong relationships with experts in various medical practices who help us develop effective defenses and make clear and simple trial presentations.  The typical medical malpractice case also involves coordinating different resources that are available to the clients.  Client reserves, insurance carriers, excess carriers, and governmental payors all often have stakes in the outcomes of cases.  We know how to manage and coordinate these resources as we work to resolve cases.

These cases are often most effectively resolved outside of the courtroom.  We therefore work with our clients and their opponents in a variety of alternative dispute resolution settings to resolve cases cost effectively.  We have used techniques like mediations, high-low arbitrations, and summary jury trials to bring cases to closure in ways that are designed to contain the risks and costs associated with traditional litigation.

Our representations include the following cases which were tried to a defense verdict:

  • Successfully tried to verdict a case alleging the wrongful death of a child who underwent a tonsillectomy.
  • Successfully tried to verdict a claim by a pregnant woman alleging exposure to HIV and German measles in a hospital setting.
  • Obtained a directed verdict in a case involving catastrophic brain injury from alleged obstetrical malpractice.
  • Successfully tried to verdict a claim against a world renowned urologist for alleged medical malpractice in the treatment of intestinal disease.