In Memorium – Donald J. P. Sweeney – 1938-2021Please Click Here
14Apr 2019

Sweeney & Sheehan attorneys Elizabeth Weber, Brian Dib, Joe Hauschildt and Frank Gattuso presented panel discussion concerning different forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to the South Jersey Claims Association on April 3, 2019. The class was presented to insurance industry professionals and attorneys with certified continuing education credits provided at the Hotel ML in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey.

12Feb 2019

Sweeney & Sheehan Partner J. Michael Kunsch obtained summary judgment in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania following a successful Daubert challenge of plaintiffs’ liability expert in a product liability case. Plaintiffs asserted claims of strict liability, negligence and breach of warranty against the manufacturer and seller of a fiberglass stepladder. The husband-plaintiff fell off the ladder in the master bathroom of his home while painting a skylight. He had positioned the ladder on a tarp, and claimed the ladder feet slipped and caused his fall. The ladder contained a warning to “Set all four feet on a firm level surface. Do not place on unstable, loose or slippery surfaces.” Despite the presence of that warning, plaintiffs’ engineering expert opined that the ladder should have had a specific warning about the danger of the ladder slipping when placed on a tarp on a smooth tile surface. The Court found the expert’s opinion did not satisfy the Daubert reliability and fit requirements, noting that he made no inspections of the ladder or scene, performed no tests, cited no relevant industry standards, offered inconsistent opinions, and simply accepted plaintiff’s testimony about how the accident happened. After precluding the expert, the Court further found that no reasonable jury could conclude that the ladder was defective and entered summary judgment.

01Oct 2018

Sweeney & Sheehan Partners Robyn McGrath, J. Michael Kunsch and Warren Voter gave presentations at the 2018 USLAW Fall Client Conference in Montreal, Canada.  Ms. McGrath participated in a panel discussion, Paid Leave Laws Impacting Employers Nationwide, in the Employment & Labor Law Group.  Mr. Kunsch participated on a panel discussion, Don’t Be Left Holding the Bag: How to Insulate Yourself from Insolvent (Foreign) Suppliers and Manufacturers, and Mr. Voter participated on a panel discussion, Dealing with the Pitfalls of National/International Claims Exposures When the Bad Claim Hits Your Desk, in the Complex Tort and Product Liability Group.

01Oct 2018

Sweeney & Sheehan partner Neal Thakkar has been recognized as a top appellate attorney by SJ Magazine, a publication serving southern New Jersey. The top attorney list is drawn from nominations by other attorneys in the region and then independently vetted. Neal has handled more than twenty appeals in the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey, the Superior and Commonwealth Courts of Pennsylvania, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

01Mar 2018

Sweeney & Sheehan is pleased to announce that William L. Foley, Jr. has joined the Firm as a Partner. Bill has been practicing workers’ compensation defense for 33 years and was most recently a co-founder of a workers’ compensation defense firm in Media, PA. Prior to that Bill was a partner in a large defense firm He received his B.S. degree with honors from Boston University and his J.D. from Temple School of Law. He is co-editor of Bisel’s PA Workers’ Compensation Update, a monthly publication. He is a member of the American, Pennsylvania, and Delaware County Bar Associations and has been an active member of the Delaware County Bar Association’s Workers’ Compensation Committee. He is a frequent lecturer on employment-related topics and has published a number of articles on the subject. Bill was selected to Super Lawyers in 2005 – 2006, 2008 – 2009, 2011 – 2018.

12Jun 2017

During its annual Golf Classic on May 12, 2017, the South Jersey Claims Association honored Sweeney & Sheehan for its more than 20 years of commitment and support of the organization. The SJCA is a non-profit association dedicated to the promotion of insurance education, ethical claims practices, and fellowship among a wide range of insurance professionals. Sweeney & Sheehan attorneys have taught countless SJCA continuing education classes, attended SJCA meetings and functions, and served in essential roles within the SJCA. Partners Frank Gattuso and Neal Thakkar have each served as SJCA Presidents in the past, and currently serve on the SJCA Board of Directors as Director of Legal Affairs and Director of Information, respectively. Additionally, Associate Joseph M. Hauschildt, Jr., serves as the current President of the SJCA.

12Jun 2017

Sweeney & Sheehan Partner Patrick Sweeney has been named Chair of the 2017 Defense Research Institute Annual Meeting, scheduled for October 4-8, 2017 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago. DRI is the largest international membership organization of attorneys defending the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation. For more information about DRI or the Annual Meeting, please visit www.dri.org.

03Feb 2017

Sweeney & Sheehan is pleased to announce the election of senior associate Neal A. Thakkar to firm partnership. Mr. Thakkar practices in the areas of premises liability, product liability, general negligence, legal malpractice and insurance coverage, and specializes in appellate practice.

20Jun 2016

Associates Neal Thakkar and Joe Hauschildt recently prevailed in New Jersey’s Appellate Division in Lassandro v. Pep Boys, a case involving the intentional wrong exception to the exclusive remedy provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act. Under the Act, if an employee is entitled to recover workers’ compensation benefits, he is barred from suing his employer in tort unless the employer committed an intentional wrong. To overcome the bar, the plaintiff must prove that the employer’s act was substantially certain to result in injury or death, and that the resulting injury was plainly beyond what the legislature intended to immunize. This is a formidable standard that permits a plaintiff to recover in tort only under the most egregious of circumstances.

Here, the plaintiff was a service technician at Pep Boys, and he was injured while loading a vehicle onto a lift when the lift suddenly dropped, causing him to fall and injure his knee. The lift’s safety mechanisms had been disabled by another technician for convenience, but not at the direction of management. There had been no prior close calls with the lift, and the modification did not increase profit or productivity at the expense of safety. The evidence did show, however, that Pep Boys should have been aware that the safeties were defeated, and that it permitted the condition to exist for at least two years.

Plaintiff recovered workers’ compensation benefits, but sued Pep Boys for damages. The trial court denied summary judgment, but the Appellate Division granted leave to appeal and reversed. In its opinion, the court found that while Pep Boys’ conduct was arguably negligent, creating a risk of injury by omission is not tantamount to acting with the substantial certainty that an injury would result. Further, the court held that the injury suffered by plaintiff was not one that plainly beyond what the legislature intended to immunize, as the nature of the plaintiff’s employment led to the risk of injury.

Joe Hauschildt, a former Appellate Division clerk, wrote the brief, and Neal Thakkar argued the case. The opinion can be found here: http://www.njlawarchive.com/201606101025091314065283