Our litigators aggressively defend our clients:
Michael obtained a jury verdict for a landlord accused of negligence by his tenant. The tenant alleged that a leaking gutter above her front door caused ice to form on the concrete porch in front of her front door. The tenant claimed that while taking the trash out one morning, she slipped on a spot of ice and broke her ankle that eventually required five surgeries. After three days of testimony from various witnesses and experts, the jury did not find the landlord negligent.
Two top executives sued their former financial institution for more than $10 million, but Michael Crocenzi made sure the company didn’t have to pay. The two executives said their former employer violated their state whistleblower law for firing them after they complained the company didn’t follow the directives of federal regulators – a charge refuted by the company. Crocenzi convinced a county jury the financial institution did not violate the whistleblower law and the jury rendered a verdict in favor of the financial institution.
After a 2017 decision Michael won for a radiology group being sued for breach of contract and defamation, he revisited the case in 2018 on appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court. With the plaintiff seeking $330,000 in compensation, costs of litigation and attorneys’ fees, Crocenzi scored a second victory in the case as the state Superior Court agreed with the lower court ruling after reviewing the briefs and listening to oral arguments this spring.
Justin Tomevi & Brian Ott
The duo represented the beneficiary of an estate in a will contest dispute with his stepsisters in Berks County. Upon the death of their client’s father, no will could be found and pursuant to Pennsylvania’s intestacy laws, their client would have received the entire estate. However, the stepsisters surfaced and alleged that their stepfather had created a handwritten will that split his estate equally among his son and the stepsisters. At trial, Justin’s cross examination exposed the flaws in both the stepsisters’ testimony and the purported handwritten will. The judge entered a decision rejecting the handwritten will and affirming that Justin and Brian’s clients would be the sole beneficiary of the six-figure estate.
Salvatore Anastasi & Joshua Schwartz
The pair was instrumental in authoring an American Bar Association amicus brief filed in a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit patent case that will ensure “access to justice,” a core principle of the ABA. The two combined with Chicago attorneys to write the brief for the ABA in Nantkwest, Inc. v. Matal. The brief was quoted by the court panel in reversing a previous decision that allowed for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to collect attorney fees in certain appeals cases.
Justin Tomevi, Scott Landis & Randy Moyer
The team represented the beneficiary of the estate of his late mother. Their client’s late mother’s will left her assets to her son and had appointed her accountant to serve as executor and trustee of her estate proceeds. However, when the mother had unexpectedly passed away, a large portion of her funds from a real estate transaction, were held in a joint account owned by the late mother and her accountant. The accountant suggested that under the Pennsylvania Multi-Party Account Act, that the funds in the account belonged to the accountant, not the son. The Barley team quickly compiled a petition to force the accountant to turn the over the funds. In response, the accountant reversed course and agreed that she no longer was going to claim that she wanted the funds, but she now wanted to serve as trustee of the trust created to benefit the son by the late mother’s will. The Barley team pushed back again and demanded that based on the accountant’s actions, she should have no role in the estate. After threatening further litigation, the accountant completely backed down and turned over all of the funds and abandoned all involvement with the trust.
Justin represented a national bank in a claim brought in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas by a secondary beneficiary of a six-figure IRA held by the bank. The beneficiary petitioned the court asking for an order forcing the bank to ignore the beneficiary designation’s instructions which required the funds be issued to a trust. The beneficiary also asked the court to sanction the bank for refusing to cooperate with the proposed bypass of the primary beneficiary. Once retained by the bank, Justin convinced the beneficiary only days before the hearing to withdraw his petition and acknowledge that the IRA funds would only be payable to the primary beneficiary.
The owner of a helicopter leasing company retained Justin to assist with the repossession of a helicopter from a challenging customer in Allegheny County. The customer was several months into a lease of a helicopter and stopped completing maintenance on the helicopter and refused to cooperate with the Federal Aviation Administration’s requests for inspections. Justin and his client carefully orchestrated and executed a strategy for repossessing the helicopter, which was chained down and mechanically disabled in a locked airport facility. After successfully repossessing the helicopter in the early morning hours, the customer filed a preliminary injunction motion in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas asking the court to force Justin’s client to return the helicopter. A preliminary injunction hearing was scheduled to occur only 72 hours after the motion was filed. After Justin filed a response threatening to seek attorney’s fees and other sanctions at the injunction hearing, the customer agreed moments before the hearing was to begin to withdraw its demand to have the helicopter returned.
Justin represented a private student housing developer in a tax assessment appeal. After the York County Board of Assessment Appeals refused to reduce the $2.7 million assessment of the property, Justin appealed the decision to the York County Court of Common Pleas. After the parties exchanged appraisals, the municipality agreed to reduce the assessment by nearly $1 million, resulting in significant tax savings of over $225,000 for the developer over the next five years.
Justin Tomevi defended different professional guardians in two actions in the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas – Orphans Court Division seeking to remove them from their appointment. In one case, two of the four children alleged that the guardian was overbilling the estate and not providing sufficient communication. In the other matter, one of the four children was challenging the guardian’s decision to keep her mother living in the family home, rather than a nursing facility. In both cases, Justin secured orders that maintained the guardians in place despite the allegations, which were discounted by the court.
Justin Tomevi successfully represented an individual in a contempt hearing in the Adams County Court of Common Pleas. The contempt hearing arose from a dispute between a recently divorced couple regarding payment obligations for their child’s college tuition. In response to the husband’s petition for contempt, Justin was retained to represent the wife in defense of the petition. After a hearing, the court dismissed the husband’s petition without the need for the wife to put on any evidence, finding that the wife was not in contempt of the separation agreement.
Lindsey Cook & Justin Tomevi
The two represented a property owner in a dispute over a shared sewage line in Adams County. The property owner’s neighbor unlawfully installed a shut-off valve on the sewage line and routinely would sever access to the property owner’s access to the sewage line. The Barley Snyder team obtained an order from the Adams County Court of Common Pleas requiring the neighbor to remove the shut-off valve. Further, based on the neighbor’s bad faith actions, the team convinced the court to sanction the neighbor.
Stephanie DiVittore, Paul Minnich & Justin Tomevi
The trio successfully defended an executor in response to a petition to remove that executor in the Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas – Orphan’s Court Division. Two children of the decedent alleged that the executor had mismanaged funds and items of personal property. The Barley team responded aggressively to the allegations as false and misleading. At the hearing, Stephanie strategically crossexamined the petitioners, debilitating their claim and providing the court with a basis to grant Stephanie’s motion to dismiss the case without the need for the executor to put on any evidence. The court also awarded sanctions in favor of the executor.
George Werner & Paul Minnich
George and Paul won a $650,000 decision for a client whose property was condemned by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation under eminent domain. The decision, along with other damages, was more than twice what PennDOT offered to the client initially to buy the property. The jury deliberated on the case less than five minutes.
George defended a hospital in a contract and defamation suit brought by physicians after the client reported a possible medical event to the appropriate state agency. In a week-and-a-half trial, George navigated through many complicated issues and expert testimony. After four-and-a-half hours of deliberation, the jury came back with a verdict for the hospital.
Joshua obtained summary judgment for a large corporate client in a pregnancy discrimination case in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The plaintiff contended not only that she was fired inappropriately, but also that she was kept in a room and prevented from using the bathroom, resulting in labor complications. Following the plaintiff’s deposition, the judge adopted our argument that no reasonable juror could find discrimination under the circumstances.
The Commonwealth Court agreed with Joshua's interpretation of the law in a breach of contract action brought against a municipality. The Commonwealth Court overturned an earlier decision from the lower court on Joshua’s argument that the original trial judge had incorrectly applied the law, finding in favor of Barley’s municipal client.
Peter successfully defended a Central Pennsylvania dental and orthodontist group from a claim for damages stemming from allegedly mismanaged orthodontic treatments. Peter was successful in presenting evidence that showed that the plaintiff was not entitled to any damages under the terms of the services agreement, and was able to secure a judgment in his client’s favor following a bench trial in August.
Peter successfully defended a student in a paramedic program at a central Pennsylvania institute of higher education in a suit alleging misconduct by EMTs during an emergency call. The student was participating in a ride-along program with the EMTs when the alleged incident occurred. Through persistence and effective use of procedural mechanisms, Peter was able to obtain a dismissal for the paramedic student.
Justin Tomevi & Robert Tribeck
The pair represented a bank in a case that had been appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court by a mortgagor following a successful motion for summary judgment in a foreclosure action in Mifflin County involving a large commercial tract. On appeal, the mortgagor alleged several substantive and procedural defects to the loan and asked the Pennsylvania appellate courts to reverse the summary judgment order. After unsuccessfully appealing to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, the mortgagor asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to take the case. After the Barley team defended the decision of the Superior Court and trial court in its response, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied the mortgagor’s appeal and found in favor of the bank.
Joshua represented a major health care institution in defense of a premises liability action in Philadelphia County. The case involved an alleged slip and fall on snow on a sidewalk, resulting in a back injury. Josh first successfully argued that the case should be referred from the trial division to mandatory arbitration, then assisted the client in securing a full defense award after the arbitration hearing.
Joshua represented a central Pennsylvania-based, full-service drilling contractor and several of its employees in defense of a non-competition and misappropriation of trade secrets case brought by the employees’ former employer. The complaining former employer sought both emergency and preliminary injunctive relief. After first successfully arguing against the imposition of emergency relief, Josh guided his clients through extensive discovery and ultimately obtained the complete denial of the preliminary injunction request.
Joshua represented a major central Pennsylvania health care institution in a premises liability bench trial involving an alleged slip and fall on ice in a parking lot, with damages sought in excess of $100,000. Despite having to substitute a defense witness at the last minute due to unavailability, Josh helped the client secure a full defense verdict on all claims.
Matthew was able to obtain a comprehensive victory for a property investor relating to a multi-million dollar group of investment properties. The properties were units in a planned community association. The association had adopted a provision to limit ownership in the community to only two units and the president of the association had suspended the investor client’s voting rights in violation of a prior injunction order from the court. After a contempt hearing, the court found the association’s attempt to limit ownership was invalid and the association’s president had acted in bad faith in numerous respects, ultimately removing him as the association’s president and barring him from serving as an officer of any such association for a period of five years. The court also awarded the investor client all of its attorneys’ fees and costs stemming from the contempt hearing and lawsuit to invalidate the ownership restriction. In its opinion awarding attorneys’ fees, the court noted that Barley was “able to obtain a complete victory” in the matter for its client.
Matthew represented a former business owner in a dispute with the entities that purchased the business. The new owners had induced the seller to execute a personal guaranty in exchange for payment and a promise to remove the guaranty within six months. After the purchaser refused to make payment and remove the guaranty as required by the agreement, Matthew was able to obtain summary judgment for payment of the money owed and a permanent injunction and specific performance to remove the guaranty as promised.
Matthew was lead trial counsel in an adversary proceeding in bankruptcy court where the landlord sought to invalidate the bank’s lien against equipment to obtain payment of back rent owed by the company that had filed for bankruptcy protection. He successfully defeated the landlord’s attempt to invalidate the bank’s lien against the debtor’s equipment resulting in a judgment that awarded the bank over $200,000.
George Werner & Matthew Hennesy
The two successfully represented a manufacturer against claims by former works relating to alleged workplace injuries. As a result of George and Matt’s determined effort, the client has been dismissed from many of the cases and the court has held other claims frivolous.
Paul Minnich & Justin Tomevi
Paul and Justin secured summary judgment in a case with over $1 million in exposure for a banking client. A real estate developer customer of the bank alleged that the bank had failed to timely record a mortgage satisfaction piece for a property once encumbered by mortgages from the bank. The developer filed suit seeking a judgment of $1,025,000 from the bank under the Mortgage Satisfaction Act. After conducting targeted discovery, the Barley Snyder team developed an argument that the developer had failed to comply with certain provisions of the Mortgage Satisfaction Act and successfully established to the court that the bank had also acted in good faith. Upon consideration of competing summary judgment motions from the bank and the developer, the court promptly granted the bank’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed all of the developer’s claims.
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