Rapid Response for Catastrophic Accidents Only


U.S. Supreme Court Shows Interest in FAAAA Preemption Case

By: Joseph R. Fowler and Matthew D. Vodzak The Supreme Court of the United States shows interest in a case about preemption of state tort lawsuits against freight brokers. FHMS Partners, Joseph Fowler and Matthew Vodzak, discuss the case in their recent article. Click here for the full article. 

Joseph McNulty

FHMS Granted Preliminary Objections in Liability Case

In the matter of Eisenhower v. Pottsgrove School District, et al., Plaintiff student alleged injuries to her surgically repaired foot when she jumped off the back of the school bus during a required school bus evacuation drill run by an independent third party bus company.  FHMS filed Preliminary Objections on behalf of the District arguing… Read More ❯

Spaulding and Vodzak Discusses OSHA’s Expected Emergency Temporary Standard Regarding the Pandemic

FHMS Partners, Andrew J. Spaulding and Matthew D. Vodzak, provide a brief overview of the federal government’s recently announced plan to direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issue an Emergency Temporary Standard for all employers with 100 or more employees to require vaccines or negative COVID-19 test. Click here to read the full article.

Joseph Fowler

Fowler Presents at CLM Alliance Conference

FHMS Partner, Joseph Fowler, joined Michelle Leighton, David Cades, Daniel Deitch and John Messersmith for the annual Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) Conference in Atlanta to present the human factors edge in reviewing videos in liability cases. The panel addressed post-accident investigations, how to protect and preserve evidence and response times. For more information… Read More ❯

2021 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Congratulations to our attorneys who were named 2021 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars: Joseph Fowler – Super Lawyer Gregory Hirtzel – Super Lawyer  Joseph McNulty – Super Lawyer Andrew Spaulding – Super Lawyer  Jeremy Abidiwan-Lupo – Rising Star  Dennis Chow – Rising Star  FHMS attorneys have been recognized as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars… Read More ❯

Matthew Vodzak

Matthew Vodzak Appointed as Co-Chair of the Amicus Committee of PADC

Matthew Vodzak was recently appointed as Co-Chair of the Amicus Committee of the Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel (PADC). PADC is a nonprofit association of approximately 300 lawyers from the five-county Philadelphia area. Organized in 1947, PADC is the oldest continuously operating local defense organization in the United States. PADC protects and advances the interests… Read More ❯

Hirtzel and Novak’s Manifestation Rule Publicized on The Gavel

FHMS partner Gregory Hirtzel and associate Benjamin Novak‘s article, A Case for Why the First Manifestation Rule Should be Applied in Construction Defect Cases, was recently selected for publication on The Gavel. The Gavel is a National claims defense network that provides verdicts, news, and resources for claims and risk professionals. Click here to read… Read More ❯

Bogdan v. American Legion Post 153: Superior Court Allows Appellate Review of Insurer Intervention to Determine Indemnity

By: Matthew D. Vodzak and Maximillian A. Santiago, Jr. In reference to the matter of Bogdan v. American Legion Post 153, the Pennsylvania Superior Court allowed appellate review of insurer intervention to determine indemnity. The Superior Court has given clarification on the range of an insurer’s responsibility to indemnify when a lawsuit against an insured… Read More ❯

Hirtzel, Lettieri, Novak Win Motion to Dismiss Breach of Insurance Contract

By: Gregory Hirtzel, Frances Lettieri, and Benjamin Novak FHMS attorneys Gregory Hirtzel, Frances Lettieri, and Benjamin Novak recently secured a dismissal in a federal case involving an alleged breach of insurance contract. The decision reinforces the rule that coverage under a liability insurance policy is not triggered unless there is a claim by a third… Read More ❯

A Case for Why the First Manifestation Rule Should be Applied in Construction Defect Cases

By: Gregory S. Hirtzel and Benjamin P. Novak The first manifestation rule is straightforward to apply, derived from policy language, and consistent with the notion that insurance exists to cover fortuitous losses. Recently, however, there has been a push in Pennsylvania to replace the first manifestation rule with the “continuous” or “triple” trigger rule in construction… Read More ❯

Joseph Fowler

Joseph Fowler Named Leader of The Gavel Transportation Group

FHMS Partner Joseph Fowler was chosen to lead the Transportation Group of The Gavel, a national claims defense network. The group consists of vetted attorneys throughout the country who have significant experience defending transportation cases. Under his leadership, the Transportation Group plans to be a collaborative resource for advancing the defense of these cases across… Read More ❯

Eckell and Spaulding Present Webinar on Premises Liability Law

FHMS partners Lee Eckell and Andrew Spaulding presented a webinar on the basics of premises liability law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The webinar provided attorneys and insurance industry claims handlers with basic knowledge on how to defend premises liability claims. Mr. Eckell and Mr. Spaulding used real case examples to discuss topics such as… Read More ❯

Lettieri, Chow, and Molotsky Present Webinars to Insurance Professionals

Last month, FHMS partners Frances Lettieri, Dennis Chow, and Allan Molotsky presented two webinars to insurance professionals. The first webinar was given on December 15, 2020. Ms. Lettieri, Mr. Chow, and Mr. Molotsky presented the latest case law updates and discussed coverage litigation trends. On December 16, 2020, Ms. Lettieri, Mr. Chow, and Mr. Molotsky… Read More ❯

Lettieri and Chow Present Webinar on Condominium and Homeowners Associate Claims

FHMS partners Frances Lettieri and Dennis Chow presented a webinar to insurance professionals reviewing Director and Officer’s coverage for condominium and homeowners associations.  This presentation was designed as a training program to provide an overview for the handling of such claims.

Pennsylvania Superior Court Fast Tracks Personal Jurisdiction Case on Consent

By: Matthew Vodzak The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will decide whether Pennsylvania’s long arm personal jurisdiction statute is constitutional. That statute permits Pennsylvania to exercise general personal jurisdiction over foreign companies that are registered to do business in Pennsylvania. FHMS Partner Matt Vodzak provides insight on how the Pennsylvania Supreme Court might rule. Click here to… Read More ❯

Joseph Fowler

Fowler Presents Webinar to Lancer Insurance Company

On Tuesday, December 8th, FHMS Partner Joseph Fowler presented a 2-hour webinar to Lancer Insurance Company. Mr. Fowler was joined in presenting the webinar by David Farina, Esq. of Cray and Huber of Chicago, Il. Mr. Fowler and Mr. Farina discussed how to effectively use biomechanics experts to defend cases, how to document and preserve… Read More ❯

Joseph Fowler

Fowler Presents Webinar to Carolina Casualty Insurance Company

On Friday, December 4th, FHMS Partner Joseph Fowler participated in a live webinar presentation to commercial vehicle insurance company, Carolina Casualty. Fowler was joined by six other members of the Gavel Network. The CLE-accredited webinar featured three sessions and ended with a trucking potpourri. Fowler, alongside Michael Hostetter of Nall & Miller, led the first… Read More ❯

Hirtzel, Chow, and Novak Present Webinar on Auto Case Law and UM/UIM Coverage

On Thursday, December 3rd, Gregory Hirtzel, Dennis Chow, and Benjamin Novak presented a lunchtime webinar on some of Pennsylvania’s most recent court decisions regarding auto case law and UM/UIM coverage. The topics discussed included coverage election forms, UM and UIM coverage exclusions, whether the admissibility of future medical bills are subject to the MVFRL’s cost… Read More ❯

Hirtzel and Lettieri Present Webinar on Reservation of Rights

On Thursday, November 19th, partners Gregory Hirtzel and Frances Lettieri presented a webinar on Reservation of Rights. Hirtzel, a seasoned litigator in all manner of high exposure casualty claims whose practice crosses over into risk transfer and insurance coverage matters and Lettieri, a partner in the firm’s Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith practice, provided a… Read More ❯

Frances Lettier

Lettieri Presents Webinar to Insurance Professionals

On Thursday, October 22nd, Frances A. Lettieri, a Partner in the firm’s Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith practice, presented a webinar to insurance professionals. The webinar reviewed recent Pennsylvania court decisions that address reservation of rights letters, the duty to defend, and construction defect coverage litigation. She also discussed the potential implications of House Bill… Read More ❯

Joseph Fowler

Fowler to Present Webinar for Northfield and Northland Insurance Companies

FHMS Partner Joseph Fowler will participate in a live webinar presentation to Northfield and Northland insurance companies on Wednesday, October 28. The webinar will include six attorneys from the Gavel Network. In addition to Fowler, John Messersmith (Kalbaugh Pfund & Messersmith), Daniel Santaniello (Luks Santaniello Petrillo & Cohen), Derrick Dewitt (Dewitt Paruolo & Meek), Michael… Read More ❯

Fowler and Taranto Present Webinar on Catastrophic Incidents

Joseph Fowler and Damian Taranto of FHMS, along with Justin P. Schorr, Ph.D., Lt. Col. Bryan J. Smith, P.E., and Robert Kinder, Jr. of DJS Associates, recently presented a webinar on catastrophic incidents. The three-hour webinar educated attendees on how to avoid, prepare for, and react to these incidents. The speakers used data, collection technology,… Read More ❯

Joseph Fowler

PA Supreme Court Rules on Uber Driver’s Demand for Unemployment Benefits in Lowman v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review

On July 24, 2020, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania decided a matter of first impression: whether an otherwise eligible claimant seeking unemployment benefits is “self-employed” and therefore ineligible for those benefits while working as an Uber driver. The Court’s opinion analyzed the appropriate test for determining self-employment under the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law (“Act”)[1] and… Read More ❯

Gregory Hirtzel

Greg Hirtzel and Cody Kauffman Win Summary Judgment in PA First Amendment Case

FHMS attorneys Greg Hirtzel and Cody Kauffman secured summary judgment in favor of their clients in a case that turned on whether a school board and school district violated the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association. This was the first opinion of its kind issued by Judge Jennifer P. Wilson of… Read More ❯

FHMS Initials

Fowler, Campbell, and Vodzak Win Post-Trial Motion in Philadelphia: Judgment Entered for Defendants

In October 2019, Joe Fowler and Jacqui Campbell obtained a defense verdict after eight days of trial in Griffin v. Advanced Disposal Services, a Philadelphia County case with contested liability and catastrophic injuries. The plaintiffs filed a Motion for Post-Trial Relief claiming 20 different errors warranted a new trial. Among other things, the plaintiffs’ challenged… Read More ❯

Matthew Vodzak

Matthew Vodzak Presents Webinar on COVID-19 and Liability Waivers

Matthew Vodzak and Bryan Schwartz of Odell Studner Group, LLC presented a lunchtime webinar on COVID-19 and liability waivers. The presentation provided an overview of Pennsylvania and New Jersey law regarding pre-injury liability waivers and how courts might evaluate them. The use of pre-injury liability waivers is an emerging trend in light of the potential… Read More ❯

FHMS Attorneys Named 2020 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Congratulations to our FHMS attorneys who were named 2020 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars: Joseph Fowler – Super Lawyer – Personal Injury Gregory Hirtzel – Super Lawyer – Transportation Joseph McNulty – Super Lawyer – Civil Litigation Defense Andrew Spaulding – Super Lawyer – Construction Litigation Dennis Chow – Rising Star – Insurance Coverage… Read More ❯

Joseph Fowler

Joseph Fowler Presents Webinar with NSM Insurance and Forty Two Group

Joseph R. Fowler presented a webinar with NSM Insurance Group and leaders in the school bus industry. The webinar discussed ways in which school bus operators have been affected by the pandemic and how to proactively plan for a post-COVID landscape. The topics included navigating COVID-19, negotiating with school districts, potential claims and issues to… Read More ❯

Making History & Moving Forward: What Bostock Means for You, Your Company & Inclusiveness in the Workplace Presentation

Please join Ashley R. Lynam, co-Chair of the firm’s Sexual Misconduct Liability Practice Group, for a presentation on July 13, 2020 at 12:00pm ET titled, “Making History & Moving Forward: What Bostock Means for You, Your Company & Inclusiveness in the Workplace,” where she will discuss the monumental Supreme Court decision which ensured Title VII… Read More ❯

Matthew Vodzak Files Amicus Brief in Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Matthew Vodzak recently filed an amicus curiae brief in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on behalf of the Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel. PADC is a nonprofit association of approximately 300 lawyers from the five-county Philadelphia area. PADC protects and advances the interests of civil defendants and their counsel, shares knowledge within the defense trial bar,… Read More ❯

FHMS Initials

Pennsylvania Superior Court Clarifies Standard for Reservations of Rights

April 30, 2020 On Friday, April 24, 2020, a divided Pennsylvania Superior Court panel decided Selective Way Ins. Co. v. MAK Services, Inc. 2020 PA Super 103. This case has important implications for insurance carriers who issue, and defend insureds subject to, reservations of rights. Partners, Allan C. Molotsky, Frances A. Lettieri, Dennis Chow, and… Read More ❯

Jacqueline Campbell

How to Prepare for Potential COVID-19 Claims

Fowler Hirtzel McNulty and Spaulding have been closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and the various orders and guidance issued by our local, state and federal government. In accordance with the “stay-at-home” order, many businesses are closed, however, the life sustaining businesses remain open. We anticipate that there may be employees or consumers who will… Read More ❯

FHMS Initials

PA Senate Bill 1114 Seeks to Extend Insurance Coverage Due to COVID-19

On April 15, 2020, the COVID-19 Insurance Relief Act, Senate Bill 1114 was introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate. Senate Bill 1114 is the Pennsylvania’s first legislative attempt to respond to property and business interruption claims arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic. SB 1114 would require insurance policies covering property damage, including business interruption insurance, to… Read More ❯

FHMS Initials

Pennsylvania Court Closures Extended

Recently, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a supplemental order extending the Pennsylvania court closures through April 30, 2020. Along with this extended closure comes important considerations related to time computations, the Statute of Limitations, and case management deadlines. FHMS remains committed to keeping our clients abreast of these considerations to best protect our clients’ interests… Read More ❯

FHMS Initials

FHMS Fully Functional

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the City of Philadelphia has ordered a shutdown of all non-essential businesses starting on March 17th and continuing until March 27th. All Philadelphia Courts will be closed until April 6th. Please note that the counties in PA do not have uniformity in this crisis. Some courts are open and others… Read More ❯

Joseph Fowler

Joe Fowler Speaks At Churchill Casualty’s Risk Control Workshop

Joe Fowler along with Frank Flatch, from Silvi Group Companies, presented at Churchill Casualty’s Risk Workshop earlier this month. This discussion identified the best way to collect data from an accident scene and the types of procedures to establish for post-accident response. The best practices presentation demonstrated the effects of implementing technology to a practice…. Read More ❯

Joe Fowler and Jacqueline Campbell Receives The Golden Gavel

Westfield Insurance recognized Joe Fowler and Jacqueline Campbell with their Golden Gavel Award. They showed recognition to Joe and Jacqueline’s success in a lawsuit that was handled on Westfield’s behalf in Philadelphia County. This lawsuit consisted of the Plaintiff sustaining permanent injuries from a tractor that he hot-wired running over his foot. There were claims… Read More ❯

FHMS Initials

Joe McNulty and Randy Keiser Obtain Summary Judgment

Joe McNulty and Randy Keiser obtained summary judgment for a supermarket in a slip and fall case in Pennsylvania. The plaintiff claimed that she fell near a ramp in the sidewalk adjacent to the supermarket. Joe and Randy argued that the fall occurred in a common area as defined in the lease and that the… Read More ❯

FHMS Initials

Andrew Spaulding & Matthew Vodzak Attain Dismissal in Underinsured Motorist Matter

Andrew Spaulding and Matthew Vodzak recently obtained dismissal of an underinsured motorist claim filed against FHMS’s clients. FHMS represented a nationwide building-materials company and its insurer. A company employee claimed that he was injured while operating a work vehicle and sued seeking underinsured motorist benefits. FHMS counterclaimed for declaratory relief that no underinsured motorist coverage existed since… Read More ❯

FHMS Awarded 2019 Top Gavel – Best Business Practices Partner

Annually, Westfield Insurance presents the Top Gavel – their Best Business Practices Partner award, to one of their partners. This award is the sole Golden Gavel given for the month of December. For 2019, Westfield Insurance has selected the FHMS team as the winner of the Top Gavel. This award honors the firm that was… Read More ❯

Joe McNulty Receives Golden Gavel Award

For his success in acting as counsel to a head injury matter, Joe McNulty was recognized and awarded the accredited Golden Gavel. The Golden Gavel is a formal monthly recognition program in which Westfield Insurance recognizes outstanding achievement by their outside counsel. McNulty’s expertise and guidance were utilized by Westfield in this particular lawsuit where… Read More ❯

FHMS Initials

Joe Fowler & Matthew Vodzak Litigated Successful Appeal in Delaware Supreme Court

Joe Fowler and Matthew Vodzak recently won an appeal in the Delaware Supreme Court.  FHMS represented a construction subcontractor sued when a single-car accident occurred in a roadwork zone.  The teenage driver was seriously injured, and her passenger died in the accident.  After discovery but before expert reports were exchanged, FHMS entered into a settlement… Read More ❯

Dennis Chow

Dennis Chow Presents E&O Webinar

Dennis Chow, a member of the firm’s Insurance Coverage & Bad Faith practice group, recently presented a webinar on errors and omissions and statutory regulatory liability coverage under garage/auto dealer policies.  The webinar provided training to insurance professionals for claims under the Truth in Lending Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Federal Regulation 455, and… Read More ❯

FHMS Initials

Spaulding, Fleming & Vodzak Obtained Dismissal

Andrew Spaulding, Alison Fleming, and Matthew Vodzak recently obtained dismissal of a subrogation action filed against FHMS’s clients, a commercial landlord and property manager. A tenant’s insurance company filed a subrogation action in Philadelphia state court action against FHMS’s clients for claims from a fire loss. FHMS successfully argued that the terms of the lease… Read More ❯

Allan Melotsky

Molotsky and Vodzak Obtained Summary Judgment

Allan Molotsky and Matthew Vodzak recently obtained summary judgment in Philadelphia in an insurance coverage action. FHMS represented an insurance company that insured a restaurant under a general liability policy. One of the restaurant’s employees killed a co-employee while at work. The deceased employee’s estate sued the restaurant, and the restaurant sought insurance coverage from… Read More ❯

Matthew Vodzak

Matthew Vodzak Litigated Successful Appeal

Matthew Vodzak litigated a successful appeal in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania in a slip-and-fall case. The plaintiff was at the home of FHMS’s client for a personal-training session. The plaintiff slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk, and fractured her leg. FHMS successfully obtained summary judgment in the trial court, and the plaintiff appealed…. Read More ❯

Justin Boehert

Justin Boehret Obtains Defense Verdict

Justin Boehret obtained a defense verdict in a jury trial in Bucks County.  Mr. Boehret, who practices in FHMS’s Allentown office, represented a driver in a contested intersectional accident.  The jury found our client free of any negligence.

Andrew Spaulding

Spaulding Presented Civility in Civil Litigation CLE

Founding FHMS partner, Andrew J. Spaulding, and Roy DeCaro of Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer presented a CLE on Friday, November 1, 2019 titled “Civility in Civil Litigation”.

Joseph Fowler

Fowler and Campbell Obtain Defense Verdict in Philadelphia Trial

Joe Fowler and Jacqui Campbell obtained a defense verdict after 8 days of trial in Griffin v. Advanced Disposal Services in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas before Judge Messiah Jackson on October 30, 2019.  The case was tried over 8 days.  Plaintiff’s demand at the start of trial was $5 million.  At the end… Read More ❯

Gregory Hirtzel

Gregory Hirtzel and Cody Kauffman Presented Traumatic Brain Injury Seminar

Greg Hirtzel and Cody Kauffman spoke at Donegal Insurance on October 15, 2019 on best practices in evaluating, handling and defending Traumatic Brain Injury claims.