Defense Digest, Vol. 25, No. 4, December 2019

On the Pulse…Our Erie, Pennsylvania Office

When Marshall Dennehey opened its Erie, Pennsylvania office in the Fall of 1996, it was the final link in the firm’s commitment to cover all corners of the Keystone state. Since opening as a one-attorney operation in quarters above a hair salon next to the Erie County Courthouse (where smells of hair perm chemicals would occasionally waft up from the first floor), the Erie office has expanded to five attorneys who collectively have well over 100 years of experience as litigators. We now work from an office complex in revitalized downtown Erie that is within walking distance of the federal and state courthouses, and from which we handle cases in the 10 counties of northwest Pennsylvania and areas of western New York.

Our office is unique in that almost all of our attorneys are licensed to practice in New York State, as well as Pennsylvania, and have handled casualty and health care cases throughout western New York, including in Buffalo and Rochester. We have ready access to the courts in New York through the close proximity of the office (20 miles) to the state and familiarity with businesses in the area that have operations in New York.

The steady growth and expansion of Marshall Dennehey’s presence in Erie mirrors the city’s revitalization and development. Erie’s presence on the Great Lakes makes it a natural port for business, and, for years, the lakefront area was a focus of industrial activity. Erie continues as a leader in plastics manufacturing, locomotive building, logistics supply and ship repairs. While maintaining a strong industrial base, the city has diversified its economy and now features thriving universities, first-class health care facilities and the country’s largest medical college. The service economy is the biggest area of local employment, headed by a local Fortune 500 property and casualty insurance company, whose headquarters down the street from our offices is undergoing a $100 million expansion to accommodate its more than 2,000 local employees.

The practices of our attorneys in Erie reflect the economies of the region. Our casualty practice, led by shareholder Patrick Carey, with great assistance from associate G. Michael Garcia, II, handles matters involving product and premises liability, transportation and trucking accidents, construction defects and damages, and subrogation claims. The defendants represented in these cases include large and small manufacturers, medical suppliers, contractors, and local businesses of all types.

We also have a thriving professional liability practice in Erie. I oversee many of these cases where we defend insurers and self-insureds in matters involving civil rights, municipal liability, employment practices, insurance coverage and bad faith, and professional errors and omissions. Our clients include state and local government and municipalities, law enforcement, lawyers, architects and engineers, real estate and insurance agents, public officials, and private and public employers. We have handled a number of high-profile cases of local interest.

The health care group, under the direction of shareholder Thom Lent, defends and tries medical malpractice lawsuits on a regular basis. This group, including associate Bethany Blood, represents individual physicians, medical practice groups, long-term care facilities, and hospitals in the region. The Erie office often networks with attorneys in the firm’s other offices, as needed, for strategic defense of the most complex and high-exposure health care cases.

We also represent defendants in workers’ compensation litigation. My experience working with employers in employment matters allows for a unique understanding of all facets of the employee-employer relationship inherent to such cases.

The Erie region is undergoing a renaissance, and the attorneys in this office are poised to support that effort. We feel fortunate to live and practice in this part of the state, which has so much to offer. Many are not aware that Erie is home to Presque Isle State Park, one of the state’s most popular parks with 1.5 million annual visitors. Presque Island is a 3,200-acre natural peninsula that juts out into Lake Erie and Pennsylvania’s only shore on the Great Lakes. It has miles of sandy beaches for fresh water swimming, trails for hiking and biking, safe harbors for boating and fishing, and scenic vistas to watch gorgeous sunsets and observe nature. It is a hidden gem that residents well know, but that visitors to the area are increasingly coming to appreciate.

As we celebrate the Erie office’s 23rd anniversary, we look forward to continuing to provide top-notch legal services to our clients in defense litigation for years to come.

*Jay, a shareholder, is the managing attorney of our Erie, Pennsylvania office. He can be reached at 814.480.7802 or



Defense Digest, Vol. 25, No. 4, December 2019 is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING pursuant to New York RPC 7.1. © 2019 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm. For reprints, contact