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Ralph G. Wellington

Partner
T 215-751-2488
    Ralph Wellington, who served as Chairman of the Firm from 1998 to 2010, is a partner in the Litigation Department. His practice has included significant matters throughout the United States in class actions; aviation and railroad law; business and corporate disputes; art law; and trusts and estates.

    Mr. Wellington’s litigation practice has included representation of chemical and transportation companies in environmental class actions; aviation and railroad companies in commercial and accident cases; financial institutions in commercial and fiduciary disputes; and non-profit foundations in complex matters. He has also argued many appellate matters, including before the United States Supreme Court, several of the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, and numerous state appellate courts. Mr. Wellington has also been retained by corporations to conduct internal investigations in response to alleged inappropriate use of corporate funds. He has served as well as an arbitrator and mediator in numerous matters.

    REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS 

     

    Alternative Dispute Resolution Experience

    Has served as an arbitrator or mediator in numerous complex disputes, including the following representative matters:

    • Dispute between a former partner of a prominent law firm and his former firm over substantial fees to be paid from various class action lawsuits.
    • Dispute among several major insurance companies and a corporate insured arising from decades of liability claims. Issues included stacking, policy interpretation, exhaustion and allocation.
    • Multi-million dollar software contract dispute among three companies.
    • Dispute between two law firms over proper allocation of fees from major contingency case.
    • Claims of sexual discrimination and wrongful termination by a former attorney in a law firm.

    Has served as counsel in multiple ADR matters, including:

    • Dispute among several nationally prominent class action law firms over division of very substantial fees from a major settlement. Ultimately resolved during mediation process.
    • Arbitration between two companies over liability for environmental contamination. Case required several weeks of evidentiary hearings and argument.
    • Multiple mediations arising from accidents resulting in deaths and serious injuries.

    Litigation Experience

    Four decades of experience as a civil trial and appellate lawyer. Areas of trial focus have included significant corporate and business disputes; class actions; securities; trust and estate court matters; aviation and railroad law; professional ethics; product liability; environmental; contract and common law claims.

    Representative subject areas include:

    Class Actions

    • Lead counsel for chemical company in defeating medical and property damage class action brought on behalf of all residents of a nearby town.
    • Lead counsel for railroads in defeating medical and property damage class actions brought on behalf of all persons and businesses residing near a train chemical car derailment.
    • Lead counsel for construction company in a multi-billion dollar claim alleging fraud in the sale of bonds to fund a nuclear plant project.
    • Other cases include:
        • Antitrust cases involving allegations of price fixing.
        • Insurance practices, including voluntary market premiums.
        • Disclosure issues under the Federal securities laws.
        • Municipal bond defaults.
        • Adequacy of notice given to class members.

    Appellate Matters

    • Argument before the U.S. Supreme Court obtaining reversal of two Circuit Courts of Appeals decisions, and clarifying the law of job-related emotional distress claims under the Federal Employers Liability Act.
    • Argument before the Delaware Supreme Court, obtaining reversal for clients involving a matter of first impression as to whether there was insurance coverage for a settlement under the False Claims Act.
    • Argument before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, confirming that a tenured professor, dismissed for charges of sexual harassment, had been provided due process by the college.
    • Argument before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, confirming that qualified judicial immunity or qualified immunity protected Board members from personal suit and liability.
    • Before multiple state appellate courts as special appellate counsel.

    Aviation

    • Lead trial counsel for the engine manufacturer of the developmental V-22 Osprey aircraft following a crash in the Potomac River, resulting in a defense verdict.
    • Lead trial counsel for the corporate owner of a helicopter involved in a mid-air collision with a fixed-wing aircraft resulting in multiple death and injury claims.
    • Lead trial counsel in numerous cases involving general aviation aircraft and their engine and component part manufacturers.

    Internal Investigations

    • Conducted internal investigation of a Fortune 100 company concerning Board authorized expenditures directed to a public official.
    • Examined the financial activity of senior executives of an international company amid accusations of inappropriate use of corporate funds.

    Other Matters

    • Lead counsel for the Barnes Foundation in its successful, multi-year effort to amend the original indenture and obtain court permission to create a new art education center in Philadelphia.
    • Counsel for financial institutions in several matters where fiduciary responsibilities were alleged to have been breached.
    • Lead counsel for a major railroad in a multi-week arbitration involving a construction overrun and delay claim involving the installation of 2,000 miles of fiber-optic cable.
    • Has testified as an expert witness on the propriety of legal services rendered by law firms.

    Professional Dispute Resolution Training

    Has attended numerous training sessions including:

    • AAA, Effective Advocacy and Management in Arbitration
    • AAA Enough Already! Striking the Right Balance of Discovery in Arbitration
    • AAA Arbitration Awards: Safeguarding, Deciding & Writing Awards
    • AAA Arbitration Fundamentals and Best Practices for New AAA Arbitrators
    • AAA Arbitration Performance and Demeanor: Meeting Participant Expectations
    • CPR, Annual Meetings
    • CPR Spring Meeting

    Education

    • University of Michigan Law School, J.D.
    • Kalamazoo College, B.A.

    Bar Admissions

    • Pennsylvania

    Professional Affiliations

    • Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers since 1999
    • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers since 1997
    • Member, Board of Directors, International Academy of Trial Lawyers, 2012-2018
    • Member, CPR Panel of Distinguished Neutrals
    • Member, Arbitration Panel, American Arbitration Association
    • Board member, Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 2003-2013; vice president, 2008-2013
    • Board member, Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, 1993-2003; president, 1999-2001
    • Trustee, Kalamazoo College,1993-2006
    • American Bar Association; Philadelphia Bar Association (past chair of many committees)
    • Board member, Lutheran Settlement House, 2009-2016

    Other Distinctions

    • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America for Appellate Law, "Bet-The-Company" Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Banking and Finance Litigation, and Trusts and Estates Litigation, 2007-2019 
    • Recognized as a "Local Litigation Star" for Pennsylvania in Benchmark Litigation, 2011-2019 and Benchmark Appellate, 2013 
    • Named one of the region's top attorneys by SmartCEO for the "Legal Elite Readers Choice" award, 2011
    • Listed in Who's Who in American Law
    • Rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell®
    • Named a "Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" for business litigation, 2004-2018
    • Honored by the Philadelphia Inquirer as a 2018 Influencer of Law 
    • One of 78 attorneys selected worldwide for providing superior client service in independent survey of Fortune 1000 companies
    • One of 10 lawyers and judges asked by the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives to testify on issues leading to class action reform legislation