Patricia concentrates a portion of her practice on insurance coverage and bad faith matters as well as employment litigation. She provides guidance to insurance carriers concerning coverage issues and litigates claims for coverage and bad faith. She has tried several bad faith lawsuits in state and federal court. Additionally, she has substantial experience in handling complex discovery issues presented in bad faith lawsuits.
Patricia also routinely defended public entities and private employers from discrimination claims based on race, sex, religion, age, and disability. She defends employers and public entities in state whistleblower claims, as well as employment claims brought under Section 1983, such as those arising under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Patricia has represented employers before the National Labor Relations Board and has successfully tried many cases before the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the EEOC, various county courts of common pleas, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and the United States District Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Further, Patricia's experience also includes the defense of a wide range of claims for intentional torts, civil rights violations, and any claim that may fall under a public entity's errors and omissions policy, employment policy, and general liability policy. She has tried numerous civil rights cases to verdict, including claims arising out of police pursuits, false arrests, excessive use of force, denial of due process, and zoning matters.
Patricia received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Florida in 1986, and in 1990, she achieved her juris doctor from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been an active trial lawyer since 1990 and employed with Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin since 1995. She was elected shareholder in 1999. Her past experience also includes service in the role of solicitor to local municipalities. She is a frequent speaker on employment matters and has authored several articles for the firm's Defense Digest. Patricia has received an AV Peer Review rating by LexisNexis Martindale Hubbell.
Significant Representative Matters
Defense verdict against an insurance carrier for breach of contract for denying a property loss claim and also obtained a $30,000 judgment against the plaintiff under the Pennsylvania insurance fraud statute for submitting a fraudulent claim.
Defense verdict for a Pennsylvania municipality against several police officers' claims for first amendment violations and age discrimination.
Defense verdict for a Pennsylvania county against a former employee's claim that she was subjected to race discrimination, racial harassment, and retaliation.
Summary judgment secured for employer law firm against a part-time attorney's claim that she was discriminated against, subjected to hostile work environment, and retaliated against based on her status as a working mother.
Defense verdict for insurance carrier in a bad faith trial arising out of the carrier's coverage position taken on an automobile stacking issue.
Successfully defended insurance broker in a claim for alleged negligence in failing to cancel a policy binder.
Defense verdict for municipal employer against a former employee's claim that he was terminated in violation of the state whistleblower law.
Defense verdict for municipality whose snowplow hit an oncoming vehicle head-on against claim for personal injuries of vehicle occupant.
Summary judgment secured for municipal employer against first amendment claims of several police officers claiming to have been defamed and subjected to a retaliatory investigation.
Summary judgment secured for Pennsylvania school district against former school board secretary's claim that she was terminated in violation of her first amendment rights and state whistleblower law.
Summary judgment secured for publicly traded company against former employee's claim that the company unevenly applied sales quotas to older workers, resulting in dismissal of the employee
Areas of Practice
University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1990 J.D.
University of Florida, 1986
B.S., with honors
Major: Business Administration
"Pennsylvania Superior Court Is the First State Appellate Court To Address the Unfair Insurance Practices Act Protection for Victims of Abuse," Defense Digest, Vol. 19, No. 3, September 2013
"Pennsylvania Superior Court Panel Has Found That an Insured's Conduct Is Not Subject to Scrutiny in a Subsequent Bad Faith Law Suit," Defense Digest, Vol. 17, No. 3, September 2011
"Are Damages For Emotional Distress Recoverable In a Pennsylvania Bad Faith Lawsuit Even Though the Bad Faith Statute Does Not Provide For Such Damages?," Defense Digest, Vol. 16, No. 1, March 2010
"Top Court Limits The Scope of a Public Employee's First Amendment Retaliation Claim," Defense Digest, Vol. 12, No. 3, September 2006
"The First Amendment's Rising Popularity in Municipal Employment Litigation," Defense Digest, Vol. 10, No. 2, June 2004
"Is Every Worker With a Physical Impairment Afforded Protection Under the ADA?," Defense Digest, Vol. 8, No. 1, March 2002
"The Anatomy of a Civil Rights Malicious Prosecution Claim," Co-Author, Defense Digest, Vol. 8, No. 1, March 2002
"Pennsylvania Supreme Court Limits Employment At-Will," Defense Digest, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1999
Whitesell v. Dobson Communications, 102 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA), aff'd 2009 LEXIS 25791 (U.S. App.)
Diede v. City of McKeesport, 654 F. Supp. 2d 363 (W.D. Pa. 2009)
Moore v. Darlington Township, 690 F. Supp. 2d 378 (W.D. Pa. 2009)
Borough of West Mifflin v. Lancaster, 45 F.3d 780 (1995)
Heller v. Fulare, 454 F. 3d 174 (3d Cir. 2006)
Keefer v. Durkos, 2006 US Dist LEXIS 68519 Loughren v. USAA, 909 A.2d 896 (Pa. Super. 2006)
Employment Liability in the Cyber Age, Marshall Dennehey / AIG Employment Seminar, Pittsburgh, PA, May 2, 2013
Speaker on various topics including employment claims, civil rights litigation, federal practice and insurance bad faith
Past Employment Positions
Solicitor, various Pennsylvania municipalities
Areas of Practice
- University of Pittsburgh School of Law (J.D., 1990)
- University of Florida (B.S., 1986)
- Pennsylvania, 1990
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1999
Associations & Memberships
- Allegheny Bar Association
- American Bar Association
- Pennsylvania Bar Association