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Joseph R. Fowler

Joseph R. Fowler

Contact Info

P 215-789-4840
F 215-987-2269
jfowler@fhmslaw.com

Philadelphia Office
2000 Market Street, Suite 550
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Education

  • Villanova University School of Law (J.D., 1989)
  • Villanova University (B.A., 1986)

Bar Memberships

  • Pennsylvania, 1989

Joseph R. Fowler is a founding partner of the firm and the managing partner of the firm’s Philadelphia office. Mr. Fowler focuses his practice on the defense and investigation of commercial vehicle and construction accident cases for trucking companies, public transportation companies and their insurers. He also represents construction companies and sub-contractors in catastrophic losses. Mr. Fowler defends bad faith and UM/UIM cases and is routinely appointed as a defense arbitrator for numerous insurance carriers. He regularly represents commercial property owners in severe injury cases.

For over 24 years, Mr. Fowler has directed the investigation and defense of catastrophic commercial vehicle accidents from the date of loss. This includes the immediate counseling of drivers and safety directors, the retention of accident reconstruction experts and evidence preservation. Mr. Fowler regularly counsels a variety of national commercial transportation companies to ensure their compliance with Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act regulations. In addition to his transportation work, Mr. Fowler routinely represents and counsels general contractors and subcontractors during their post-accident and OSHA investigations.

Mr. Fowler has extensive trial and appellate experience in both the Pennsylvania federal and state courts. He recently obtained a defense verdict in a case in which plaintiff claimed catastrophic injuries as a result of being rear-ended by a bus operated by the defendant bus company. Phillips Trial (2013). Mr. Fowler also successfully defended a construction company receiving a defense verdict where the defendant’s truck struck a low hanging cable line resulting in the death of a Verizon worker. Hetrick Trial (2012).

Mr. Fowler has drafted multiple white papers regarding the transportation industry. He speaks internationally on transportation-related topics for a variety of organizations including the Transportation Lawyers Association, Mealey’s Publications, Dispute Resolution Institute, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Lorman Education as well as numerous insurance companies and self-insureds.

Since 2007, Mr. Fowler has been recognized by his peers as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer as published by American Lawyer Media and Philadelphia Magazine. Mr. Fowler’s Martindale-Hubbell rating is AV, the highest rating given by Martindale-Hubbell.

  • Defense verdict in the case of Hetrick v. American Infrastructure following a two week trial in Chester County, Pennsylvania in favor of a construction company and driver. Demand from plaintiff’s counsel during the pretrial phase of the case was $12,000,000. Plaintiff suffered massive head injuries when defendants truck struck a telephone line which crossed the street. Plaintiffs’ expert opined that defendant saw the line pre-impact and should have stopped after hearing the line come in contact with the truck. Jury returned a verdict in one hour. Defendant presented both construction and accident reconstruction experts.
  • Defense verdict following a two week trial. Defendant commercial vehicle driver rear ended plaintiff’s vehicle when defendant yawned and took his eyes away from the roadway. Post-accident, Plaintiff unsuccessfully underwent spinal cord surgery which resulted in massive neurologic limitations. Plaintiff’s experts identified significant wage loss future medical expenses. Plaintiff demanded $3,000,000 at trial. The jury returned a verdict for defendant finding that defendant was not negligent. The Superior Court sustained the lower court’s decision to uphold the jury’s verdict.
  • Plaintiff was killed when the car she was riding in went off the road at a high rate of speed striking the client’s parked trailer. The trailer was parked approximately 17 feet from the edge of the roadway. The accident occurred when Pennsylvania law was still controlled by the Joint and Several Liability Act. The host tortfeasor, who was traveling 62 in a 25 mph zone, had clear liability. Plaintiff’s two experts opined that the accident would not have happened if the area had been better illuminated, if defendants had a clear zone on the side of the roadway that allowed vehicles to regain control and if the trailers were not lined up to form an “underride wall”. They also opined that the area on which the trailers were situated was poorly maintained due to depressions, bumps and railroad ties and which effected the driver’s ability to regain control. After an extensive Frye hearing, the Court found that neither expert, both of whom had testified in court hundreds of times, had utilized appropriate scientific methodology. All of the opinions with regard to negligence offered by the two experts were precluded as not supported by methodology generally accepted in the expert’s scientific community. Summary judgment was then granted on behalf of all defendants.