Jay is the managing partner of the firm's Erie office. He practices in the Professional Liability Department, where he represents employers and insurers in employment and workers' compensation matters. Jay's experience in handling these types of cases, in addition to litigating in state and federal courts, provides him with a broad perspective and the ability to address a variety of employment-related matters for his clients.
Jay defends and counsels clients on employment disputes involving hiring, termination, discipline, discrimination, wrongful discharge, retaliation, premises liability, workplace violence, disability, OHSA, and wage and hour investigations throughout western Pennsylvania. He has also represented large manufacturers, retail establishments, family-owned businesses, health care organizations, construction companies, school districts, municipalities and non-profit agencies in all types of workplace injury cases including toxic exposure, traumatic injury and repetitive motion.
Jay is a frequent speaker on workers' compensation and employment-related topics for employers and insurance professionals throughout Pennsylvania. He has long served as co-author of the firm's monthly publication, What's Hot in Workers' Compensation, and the year-end summary of the Top 10 Cases in Workers' Compensation. Jay is actively involved in a number of professional organizations and serves as the vice chair of the Erie County Bar Association Workers' Compensation Section.
An Erie native and graduate of Gannon University (where he was the recipient of the Medal of Honor), Jay received his law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School. He began his career in Chicago with a major Midwestern defense litigation firm and then worked for a defense firm in Pittsburgh before relocating home to Erie with Marshall Dennehey in 1997.
Significant Representative Matters
Successfully resolved high-damage medical malpractice lawsuit involving the death of a three-month-old child where damages exposure was seven figures, with clear liability and potential punitive exposure for low six figures prior to trial on the basis of supportive expert testimony.
Won appeal of toxic chemical exposure workers' compensation case where the judge found an employee died of cancer due to exposure from Benzene in workplace and awarded substantial, lifetime widow's benefits in excess of $500,000. Award reversed on appeal to Commonwealth Court on basis of the argument that widow's claim was barred by application of statute of limitations.
Successfully appealed denial of hearing loss claim in workers' compensation case through extensive use of after-acquired evidence to demonstrate workplace exposure to noise did not rise to level of OSHA threshold limit.
Use of medical experts from seven different disciplines to mitigate exposure in medical malpractice claim involving three-month-old child.
Developed expert testimony from occupational medicine, toxicology, neurology, neuropsychology, industrial hygiene and psychiatry to defend alleged toxic chemical exposure in the workplace.
Obtained dismissal of a federal civil rights action on behalf of the County of Erie in which a grandmother asserted a constitutional right to the care and custody of a grandchild against the interests of an adoptive family with whom the child was placed by the court. Successfully argued that no court has recognized such a right on behalf of a grandparent.
Successfully obtained summary judgment in the U.S. District Court, and upheld on appeal, of a federal civil rights claim by a father alleging that a local children and youth agency negligently filed a report of suspected child abuse against him. The court agreed that the local agency acted consistent with the Child Protective Services Law and did not cause a deprivation of the parent’s rights.
Persuaded plaintiffs to voluntarily withdraw a complaint, which alleged that a county agency intentionally sabotaged the plaintiffs from adopting children placed in their custody, on the basis of absolute immunity under the Pennsylvania Subdivision Political Tort Claims Act.
What's Hot in Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation, Marshall Dennehey newsletter, 2002-present
"Natural Gas 'Gold Rush:' Injury and Occupational Exposure in Pennsylvania From the Marcellus Shale Gas Explosion," Energy Law Supplement, The Legal Intelligencer, July 2011
"Job Availability in Current Economic Crisis: Is It Time to Reconsider Funded Employment?," Workers' Compensation (PSIA Newsletter), March 2009
"Using Causation As A Defense To Negligence," Defense Digest, 2003
"Calculation of Average Weekly Wage for Employees on Leave of Absence or Unpaid Illness," Pennsylvania Self-Insurers' Association Newsletter, May 1998
Hot Topics in Employment, Marshall Dennehey Employment Seminar, Philadelphia, PA, October 10, 2013
Workplace Violence, Pennsylvania Association for Health Care Risk Management Fall Education Forum, September 13, 2013
Best Practices in ADA, FMLA and Workers' Compensation, Lorman Education Services, Erie, PA, August 27, 2013
Workplace Violence: Liability Issues, Pennsylvania Defense Institute Annual Conference, Bedford Springs, PA, July 18, 2013
Cyber Data Breach: The Latest Threat to Workplace Security, Human Resource Management Association of Northwest Pennsylvania Annual Conference, Erie, PA, May 30, 2013
Employment Liability in the Cyber Age, Marshall Dennehey Employment Seminar, Pittsburgh, PA, May 2, 2013
Workplace Violence - Concerns in the Insurance Industry, Insurance Club of Erie
Afforadable Care Act, American Inn of Court - Erie, PA
Municipal Liability, Pennsylvania County Commissioners Association
Labor and Employment, Adjunct Faculty, Gannon University
Act 57 Amendments to the Workers' Compensation Act
Impairment Rating Evaluations to Reduce Exposure to Total Disability Benefits
Maximizing an Insurance Carrier's Right to Subrogation
Employer Liability for Workplace Violence
Americans With Disabilities Act and its Interplay with Workers' Compensation
Family and Medical Leave Act
Employment, Workers' Compensation, Medical Malpractice, Insurance Agent E&O
Workers' Compensation Affecting School Districts
Pennsylvania and New Jersey Workers' Compensation
Past Employment Positions
Thomson, Rhodes & Cowie, P.C., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Notre Dame Law School, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1985 J.D.
Law Journal: Journal of Legislation
University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1991 Trial Advocacy Program
Gannon University, Erie, Pennsylvania 1982 B.A.
Honors: Cum Laude
Honors: Medal of Honor
- Gannon University (B.A., cum laude, 1982)
- Notre Dame Law School (J.D., 1985)
- Pennsylvania, 1989
- Illinois, 1985
Associations & Memberships
- Erie County Bar Association, Vice Chair, Workers' Compensation Section, 2014
- Insurance Club of Erie County, President, 2005-2006 (two terms)
- Pennsylvania Bar Association