Scott devotes his practice to the defense of local governments, their elected and appointed officials and their employees. He represents public entities in cases arising under the federal civil rights statutes and Pennsylvania's Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act, including: zoning and land use regulation disputes, employment discrimination and personnel retaliation claims, law enforcement liability suits, school student discipline and education disputes, and personal injury actions arising out of alleged dangerous conditions of publicly maintained instrumentalities.
Scott has been a defense litigator since 1985, representing public sector defendants and their insurance carriers in hundreds of cases in the state and federal courts of Pennsylvania. He counsels counties, cities, townships, boroughs, municipal authorities, transportation authorities and regionalized police departments throughout western Pennsylvania. Scott provides formal presentations to insurance organizations and public entity associations on topics related to governmental risk management and the effective defense of claims brought against public entities.
In addition to his three decades of litigation experience in western Pennsylvania, Scott provides his clients with a unique focus on managing the legal, political and public relations challenges faced by local governments in defending the liability claims brought against them.
A native of the Pittsburgh area, Scott joined Marshall Dennehey at the inception of its Pittsburgh office in the summer of 1993. He became a shareholder in the firm in 1994 and has served as the managing attorney of the Pittsburgh office since 1995. He served two terms as a member of the firm's Board of Directors beginning in 2004. In 2005, the publishers of Law & Politics and Philadelphia Magazine identified Scott as a "Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" in the field of civil rights litigation.
After receiving undergraduate degrees in history and business management from West Virginia University in 1981, Scott earned his juris doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1984. He served as law clerk to the late Judge John F. Rauhauser, Jr. of the York County, Pennsylvania, Court of Common Pleas. He then returned to Pittsburgh to work as an associate for a general practice firm, where he began his practice in the area of federal civil rights defense in 1985. In 1988, he became associated with another Pittsburgh defense litigation firm where he devoted his practice entirely to defense litigation prior to joining Marshall Dennehey in 1993.
Significant Representative Matters
Represented a local county's children and youth services agency against civil rights claim brought by parents of small children placed in protective custody due to alcoholism and discord in the home. The law suit was dropped voluntarily by plaintiff's counsel while a motion for summary judgment was pending in federal court.
Retired city electrician was electrocuted while performing maintenance work under contract on lights at a city-owned baseball stadium. Estate brought suit under theory that the city failed to make its real property safe by "locking out" the switchgear for the stadium lights while the decedent was performing his work. Following jury trial, a defense verdict was rendered for the city on the basis that the decedent was in control of the work and of the electrical components at the stadium at the time of the accident.
Represented a borough police department besieged by a grand jury investigation, a federal criminal prosecution, and six civil rights law suits filed against its police officers. After obtaining a court order disqualifying the plaintiff's attorney who had initiated most of the litigation, Scott put together a team of outside attorneys to defend the criminal investigation and prosecution, and successfully settled all civil lawsuits for modest amounts. All litigation resolved with no findings of liability or wrongdoing and concluded with improved morale and functioning of the police department.
Automobile passenger was severely injured (and eventually died) when the car in which he was riding was struck upon pulling out from parking lot to make a left turn onto a busy four-lane state highway. The Estate brought suit against the township in which the accident occurred (among other defendants) alleging that the township had the power under state law to erect traffic control devices to reduce the known danger at the location of the accident but had failed to do so. Summary judgment was obtained on behalf of the township.
Obtained summary judgment in federal court on behalf of township police department and its chief alleged to have acted in conspiracy with other police departments to harass and intimidate a local family for political reasons.
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a state court judge sued in federal court in his capacity as a former county district attorney with regard to the decision to prosecute the plaintiff.
Following jury trial, obtained defense verdict for police officer sued under theory of using excessive force in arresting the plaintiff, who had become drunk and disorderly after winning the state lottery.
Areas of Practice
Eichenlaub v. Township of Indiana, 385 F.3d 274 (3d Cir. 2004)
Litigation Ramifications of Bullying in School, School Claims Services LLC, December, 12, 2014
Employment Claims Under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, Pennsylvania Bar Institute's Employment Law Institute West, Pittsburgh, 2006
Road Risk: Sources of Liability Arising from Highway Design and Maintenance, Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, Pittsburgh, Meadville, and Harrisburg, 2004
Federalization of Land Use, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Pittsburgh 2002
Writing and Revising Student Handbooks and Other Related School Issues in Pennsylvania, Lorman Education Services, Pittsburgh 2002
"It's Not What You Said, It's How You Said It: The Third Circuit Addresses Municipal Exposure to First Amendment Retaliation Claims Outside the Employment Context," Defense Digest, Vol. 11, No. 1, March 2005
"Student Violence and Student Discipline: Constitutional Catch 22," Defense Digest, Vol. 8, No. 4, December 2002
"Constitutional Attacks Upon the Power of Local Government to Regulate Land Use," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, PBI No. 2002-3001, 2002
"Student-On-Student Sexual Harassment: The Next Liability Minefield for School Districts," Defense Digest, Vol. 5, No. 5, October 1999
"Third Circuit Court of Appeals Gives the Green Light for Malpractice Actions Where an Attorney's Conduct 'Forces' a Client to Settle a Case," Co-Author, Defense Digest, Vol. 2, No. 9, 1996
"The Uncertain Status of Pennsylvania Law Regarding Social Host Liability of Minors," Defense Digest, Winter 1993/94
University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Pittsburgh, PA (J.D., 1984)
Honors: Order of the Barristers, National Merit Scholar, WVU Merit Scholar, Phi Kappa Phi
West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV (B.S., 1981)
Major: Business Management
West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV (B.A., 1981)
Honors: cum laude
Areas of Practice
- University of Pittsburgh School of Law (J.D., 1984)
- West Virginia University (B.A., cum laude, B.S., 1981)
- Pennsylvania, 1984
- U.S. District Court Western District of Pennsylvania, 1984
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1988
- U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit, 1994
Associations & Memberships
- Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County; member, Diversity Committee
- Allegheny County Bar Association; member, Gender Equality Committee
- Defense Research Institute
- Federal Bar Association
Honors & Awards
- Pennsylvania Super Lawyer , 2005
- Who's Who in American Law