Eli is a litigator who works closely with clients to help them achieve their business and litigation goals. He has counseled and protected the interests of companies in a range of industries, including consumer products, construction, commercial equipment, energy, finance, healthcare, transportation, insurance, and real estate, and has handled cases in every stage of litigation—from pre-suit negotiations through trial—as well as on appeal. Eli is also comfortable navigating the unique legal, communications, and public relations issues that accompany litigation involving government agencies, having successfully represented several government agencies defend against various types of claims.
In the corporate and commercial arena, Eli has represented clients in lawsuits involving fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and breaches of contract related to mergers and acquisitions, consulting agreements, distributor agreements, construction contracts, insurance policies, and SaaS licensing agreements. On multiple occasions, moreover, Eli has successfully negotiated a resolution before either party filed a lawsuit, favorably and efficiently resolving disputes involving medical billing, insurance coverage, and indemnification.
A member of the Firm’s Mass Tort and Product Liability practice groups, Eli also maintains an active practice defending product manufacturers, raw material suppliers, contractors, employers, and property owners against complex-exposure claims involving various chemicals and substances, including asbestos, benzene, and talc. He constantly works to stay up-to-date on developments in clients’ industries, and helps clients do the same through regular published updates, seminars, and in-house trainings. Eli’s familiarity with the relevant science, medicine, and regulations help him develop new defenses, work closely with expert witnesses, counsel clients about potential compliance issues, and advise clients about best practices to help reduce litigation risk and costs.
Eli has also defended clients in numerous suits involving catastrophic worksite injuries or fatalities, successfully using mediation and various risk-transfer strategies to achieve an early, efficient, and favorable resolution.
- Obtained summary judgment in an asbestos-related personal-injury action on behalf of a motorcycle manufacturer. The plaintiff contested the motion, pointing to testimony that he allegedly inhaled asbestos dust while changing the brakes on a motorcycle the client purportedly had manufactured and sold. Eli successfully convinced the court the record failed to show the client manufactured or sold the relevant component, failed to show the component contained asbestos, and even if it had, any exposure would have been de minimis.
- Obtained an early dismissal of product-liability claims against a consumer-products manufacturer by demonstrating the client was not subject to jurisdiction in Pennsylvania on the plaintiffs’ claims. The plaintiffs argued the Pennsylvania court’s assertion of jurisdiction over the nonresident defendant was appropriate because, among other reasons, the client allegedly sourced from Philadelphia raw materials used in the manufacture of its product. Combining case law controlling the burden of proof and the record developed in the case, Eli successfully convinced the court that the plaintiffs had failed to present the evidence necessary to overcome the client’s motion to dismiss, requiring the dismissal of all claims against the client.
- Successfully negotiated the dismissal of product-liability, negligence, and fraud claims against a former talc producer.
- Obtained a dismissal of product-liability claims against a consumer-products manufacturer for a lack of personal jurisdiction. The client was one of several defendants named in a lawsuit filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in which the plaintiff sought damages for cancer he allegedly developed as a result of working with products the plaintiff contended the defendants manufactured or sold. The Court permitted the plaintiff to take jurisdictional discovery, but after a hearing, the Court dismissed the claims against the firm’s client.
- Favorably resolved litigation involving the enforceability of a non-compete provision on behalf of a manufacturing company. The lawsuit, brought by a company with which the client formerly had contracted to serve as a sales representative, was complicated by the need to protect the client’s trade secrets and market share. A resolution was reached within months that protected these interests and minimized the cost and risk of continued litigation.
- Served as trial counsel on behalf of a former power plant owner in a trial involving long-tail toxic-tort claims brought by a former employee. As one of the first trials in the country involving a former employee’s tort claim for latent disease against a former employer, the trial required addressing numerous issues of first impression.
- Defended a general contractor and its principal in a lawsuit brought by a laborer who died after falling from a height during construction. The case was complicated by several factors, including the laborer’s catastrophic injuries, a lack of sufficient insurance coverage, and the plaintiff’s efforts to collect damages from the principal directly. After pursuing third-party claims against subcontractors and working with the plaintiff’s counsel to identify alternative sources from which the plaintiff might recover, the case settled without the general contractor or its principal contributing to the settlement.
- Represented a regional transportation company in an appeal challenging an adverse quarter-million-dollar jury award. The Commonwealth Court agreed the case should have been dismissed before being submitted to the jury and ordered the award be vacated, and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania denied the petition for allocatur.
- Represented a regional transportation company defending against a class of personal-injury claims. The plaintiffs attempted to introduce evidence of atypically expensive medical costs, increasing their alleged damages tenfold. After researching the medical-billing industry’s best practices and aggressively pursuing discovery from the plaintiffs’ experts, Eli convinced the court that the plaintiffs could be entitled to no more than twenty-five percent of their alleged medical costs. The pending claims subsequently settled for a favorable sum, and the client has not seen claims involving similar tactics since.
- American Bar Association
- Pennsylvania Bar Association
- Philadelphia Bar Association
- Defense Research Institute
Awards and Recognition:
- Received a 2021 Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch recognition for Commercial Litigation; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants
- Selected for inclusion in Pennsylvania Super Lawyers – Rising Stars
News and Insights
- “Pennsylvania Superior Court Holds [C]overt Allegations in Underlying Complaint Sufficient to Trigger Coverage,” Eckert Seamans’ Legal Update, December 6, 2019.
- “Pennsylvania Federal Court Declares the Exercise of Registration-Based General Jurisdiction Unconstitutional,” Eckert Seamans’ Legal Update, June 14, 2019.
- “California Court Declares a Mistrial in Talc Powder Case,” Eckert Seamans’ Legal Update, September 25, 2018.
- “Third Circuit Rules Maritime Negligence Claims May Survive ‘Bare Metal’ Defense,” co-author, Westlaw Journal Asbestos, February 2018.
- “An Update on Personal Jurisdiction,” co-author, Thompson Reuters Westlaw, August 2017.
- “Premises Liability & Risk Transfer,” presented to attorneys and claims adjusters at Zurich American Insurance Company, November 2019.
- “Personal jurisdiction issues and defending employers against product-liability claims,” co-presenter, Allianz Resolution Management US, September 2017.
- “Personal Jurisdiction Update,” co-presenter, Resolute Management, Inc., July 2017.
- “Update on Pennsylvania Product-Liability Law,” co-presented to Resolute Management, Inc., April 2017.
- “Talc and Ovarian Cancer Litigation Overview,” Perrin Conferences Live CLE Webinar, January 2017.
- “Practical Insights into Premises Liability Cases,” Dispute Resolution Institute Personal Injury Practicum, November 2016.
- “Understanding, Defending Against, and Valuing Cosmetic-Talc Claims,” in-house presentation to Resolute Management, Inc., March 2016.