A seasoned litigator with more than 20 years experience, Mr. Whitson represents a diverse clientele of manufacturers, service providers, government entities and individuals in state and federal courts throughout the country. His practice focuses on general commercial litigation, product liability, toxic torts and appellate advocacy. He also has substantial experience in asbestos litigation, aviation litigation, insurance coverage and environmental law. He acts as administrative partner of the Firm's Pittsburgh office.
A member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Group, Mr. Whitson is an approved mediator and early neutral evaluator with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and serves in a variety of ADR roles, including settlement counsel.
AREAS OF EXPERIENCE
Mr. Whitson's representative matters include:
Product Liability and Toxic Torts
- Prosecuted and defended breach of contract and breach of warranty claims on behalf of numerous clients including manufacturers of thermoplastic composites, medical devices and aircrafts; a real estate firm, a software licensing company, and a civil engineering firm.
- Prosecuted and defended numerous claims of misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, covenants not to compete, and similar claims on behalf of numerous clients including a cardiac monitoring company, a developer of telemedicine products, a manufacturer of air freshening products, a manufacturer of boilers and heat recovery steam generators, and a manufacturer of water purification technology.
- Prosecuted and defended numerous claims involving disputes among shareholders of corporations and members of limited liability companies, including entities involved in construction services, advertising services, and janitorial services.
- Represented a major health care provider in antitrust litigation with a large healthcare insurer and a competing health care provider, whose claims ultimately were dismissed. Led a team of 15 attorneys in extensive discovery efforts including predictive coding, drafted and argued numerous motions, and participated in overall strategy decisions and settlement negotiations.
- Represented an investor in a major film project in litigation with the film's producers over the credits and distributions due to the investor. Negotiated additional credits and distributions as part of a settlement of all claims.
- Represented potentially responsible parties in CERCLA cost recovery and contribution actions, including a five-week allocation trial which resulted in an allocation of less than 1 percent to the client.
- Represented the Trustee in the bankruptcy proceedings of a large food services company and affiliated entities, and successfully obtained an injunction preventing the president and owner of the bankrupt entities from dissipating assets.
- Represented a national brokerage firm in a dispute as to whether an alleged beneficiary defrauded the client's customer into naming him beneficiary of her brokerage account. Secured a nominal settlement with the alleged beneficiary to preserve the customer's assets.
- Replevied numerous assets, including airplanes, tractor trailers, a fire engine, an ice hockey rink, computer equipment, gasoline and printing presses, on behalf of various manufacturers and lenders
- Prosecuted claims on behalf of a factoring company against account debtors for payment of receivables purchased. Obtained two non-jury verdicts against account debtors and recovered 100 percent of total amount owed to the client.
- Represented insurance carriers in litigation over the applicability of policies to underlying asbestos and other toxic tort litigation, and obtained favorable settlements on behalf of the clients.
- Represented manufacturers of various aviation components in litigation surrounding aircraft accidents, including multidistrict litigation in which all claims against the client were dismissed.
- Represented a manufacturer of printing presses in various product liability actions arising from employees who suffered injuries including de-gloving and amputation while working on those presses. Obtained favorable settlements or complete dismissals in each instance.
- Represented a manufacturer of tungsten carbide in an action involving hard-metal disease in a customer's employee, and successfully negotiated an eight-party settlement.
- Represented a manufacturer of flooring tiles where tiles in a high school building failed to adhere to the underlying concrete, and litigation ensued over the cause of the failure. Client contributed a nominal amount to an overall settlement between numerous parties.
- Represented a manufacturer of corrugated boxes in an action alleging that defective boxes caused the destruction and spoliation of thousands of boxes of vegetables, and achieved a favorable settlement during trial.
- Represented manufacturers of various products, including brakes, printing presses, pumps, electrical products, cranes, heat exchangers, mufflers and joint compound in asbestos litigation.
- For one client, obtained dismissals or summary judgment in 570 individual cases without paying any amounts in settlements or judgments.
- Represented various manufacturers in litigation over the source of fires that caused extensive property damage.
- American Red Cross, Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter, Board Member
- Allegheny County Bar Foundation, Trustee, 2013-16
- Legal Services to Immigrants and Internationals, part of Jewish Family & Children's Service, Board of Directors
- Women and Girls Foundation, Board Director
ATTORNEY SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
Washington University School of Law, J.D., 1993
Duke University, B.S., 1990
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Pennsylvania
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Ohio
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Ohio
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia
New York, 1994
West Virginia, 2011
Honorable Thomas A. Wallitsch, Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County
- Allegheny County Bar Association, Appellate Practice Committee
- Allegheny County Bar Association, Court Rules Committee
- Allegheny County Bar Association, Gender Equality Task Force
- Allegheny County Bar Association, Public Service Committee
- Allegheny County Bar Foundation, Board of Trustees
- Claims and Litigation Management Alliance
- Defense Research Institute
- Leadership Pittsburgh XXVI
- 3rd Circuit Bar Association
- Recognized in Who's Who in Energy, 2014-15
- Sole recipient of the Client Choice Award for Product Liability in Pennsylvania (Client Choice Guide - USA & Canada), 2014
- Recipient of the Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award, 2012
- Named as a 2008 "Lawyer on The Fast Track" by The Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly
- Recipient of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Pro Bono Award, 2008
- Named a ‘Pennsylvania Rising Star’ by the publishers of Law & Politics and Super Lawyers, 2005