Defense Digest, Vol. 29, No. 2, June 2023

On the Pulse…Our Scranton, Pennsylvania, Office

The Scranton office of Marshall Dennehey is now in its 30th year. The firm began in Scranton with two attorneys practicing workers’ compensation law. Over the years, it has grown, and today, when it is at full capacity, there are 23 lawyers in the office. Attorneys presently working in the Scranton office, including myself, Ben Nicolosi, Leo Bohanski, Ross Carrozza, Pat Boland, and Robert Smith, have been with the firm over two decades. Many of those just mentioned have been here for over 25 years, and Ross has been here since the office opened. Over the last few years, several of our longest-tenured and esteemed attorneys have retired. Jim Pocius, John Aponick, Jim Wilson, Joe Vender, and Jennifer Callahan all retired, each having had between 20 and 30 years experience with the firm. Replacing that talent is almost impossible, but we have been very fortunate to bring on some young attorneys and lateral hires who have allowed our office to continue to flourish and grow. The experience and talent in our practice department is unmatched in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Those groups include workers’ compensation, casualty, professional liability, and health care.

The workers’ compensation group is led by Mike Sebastian. Mike has worked in the workers’ compensation realm for over 30 years and has a long and distinguished list of clients who rely on him for all their workers’ compensation matters. As he has for many years, Ross Carrozza also ably litigates workers’ compensation cases. In addition, Ross is a leading expert in Medicare Set-Asides. The 60 years of combined experience possessed by Mike and Ross in workers’ compensation is an asset to the Scranton office and allows us to handle the most involved and difficult workers’ compensation cases. 

The Casualty Department in the Scranton office presently has six attorneys: Ben Nicolosi, John Nealon, Leo Bohanski, Sarah Argo, Mike Connolly, and myself. Our experience in the casualty arena is envied by all of our competitors. Collectively, the department has tried over 200 cases to verdict in the counties in which we serve. Presently, I act as the firm’s Auto Liability Practice Group Chair. Ben Nicolosi handles high-profile trucking accident and product liability matters. Although many of the cases the department handles contain requests for punitive damages, no one in our department has ever been hit with a punitive damage award. Considering the volume of cases we handle and their serious nature, that is truly an accomplishment. There is not a casualty case or issue the Scranton office has not handled, and handled effectively. The Casualty Department litigates auto accidents, dram shop cases, product liability matters, construction defect cases, slip and falls, and any other type of casualty case that finds its way to our office. 

Our Professionally Liability Department, when fully staffed, is the largest department in our office. Presently, William McPartland, who is the Co-Chair of our Special Education Law Practice Group, works with several school districts throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. Many of the school districts in Luzerne, Lackawanna, and the outlying counties rely on Will for all of their education law practice needs. He also handles employment law and civil rights cases. Mark Kozlowski and Patrick Boland have very similar practices, which include civil rights, municipal, and professional liability practice litigation. They represent attorneys, engineers, and architects, and do a significant amount of work with homeowners associations and any disputes arising therein. Their practice continues to grow. Presently, Jordan Mazzoni, an associate, works with both of them, assisting with their growing practice. 

Rob Smith is also in the Professional Lability Department, handling (almost exclusively) bad faith cases. Rob has a very large practice in this extremely specialized area, and several carriers look to him to handle their bad faith litigation. Underinsured motorist and uninsured motorist cases continue to be one of the biggest practice areas in the state for bad faith. Rob would certainly be considered an expert in that area. 

Finally, Tom Specht is a member of our Appellate Advocacy and Post-Trial Practice Group. He litigates appeals in state and federal courts, having done so for the past 25 years. He also handles serious and complex pre-trial matters/motions (of a dispositive nature) and assists trial counsel in their preparation for trial, as well as appellate trial monitoring and motion/strategic assistance at trial. Tom’s practice is extremely varied, in that he litigates cases from every practice area within the firm and has the ability and experience to assist at any stage of the litigation process. He is a helpful, valuable resource for all of the attorneys in the office. 

Our Professional Liability Department in the Scranton office is larger than those of all of our competitors in the area combined. This means that, if you were to put all of the professional liability attorneys in Northeastern Pennsylvania, other than those working for Marshall Dennehey, in one room, and the Marshall Dennehey attorneys in another, our department would outnumber the attorneys in the other room. Their expertise is unmatched. The variety of cases they handle is truly something to marvel at. 

Last, but not least, is our Health Care Department. It is composed of five attorneys presently and will be expanding shortly. Victoria Scanlon is the supervising attorney in the Health Care Liability Practice Group of the Scranton office. She is an experienced litigator with nearly 20 years of experience representing physicians, midwives, nurse practitioners, nurses, physical therapists, hospitals, ambulatory service centers, and more. She also works with long-term personal care facilities and providers. Vicky has tried many cases to verdict and is an outstanding trial attorney. 

Missy Dziak, a shareholder, as well, and has, for more than a decade, defended nurses, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and really anyone in the health care field. She is licensed in both Pennsylvania and New York. Aside from medical malpractice, she also represents and advises one of the largest national independent food service distributors, providing strategic legal guidance in high-exposure litigation. Missy serves on Marshall Dennehey’s Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Committee, which works to improve the recruitment, retention, and advancement of diverse attorneys and professionals. Missy is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Commission on Women and Profession and the Promotion of Women. She also has tried several cases to verdict in both Pennsylvania and New York. 

Matt Keris is a shareholder in the Health Care Department who defends doctors as well as long-term care facilities. He is the Chair of the Electronic Medical Record and Audit Trail Practice Group. Matt tried the first case in Pennsylvania to verdict during the COVID-19 pandemic in July of 2020. Matt is the president of the DRI Foundation, which focuses on wellness and charitable interests affiliated with the Defense Research Institute. He is a former DRI board member and is currently on the steering committee for the Annual Insurance Roundtable. Matt was formerly president of the Pennsylvania Defense Institute and continues to serve as co-chair of the Medical Malpractice Liability Committee. Finally, he has twice-served as president of the Pennsylvania Association for Healthcare Risk Management and is an active member of the Claims and Litigation Alliance for American Legal Connections. Matt has tried many cases to verdict with over 20 years of experience in the field. 

Rob Aldrich has worked his entire career defending health care professionals and institutions against malpractice liability claims in Pennsylvania and New York. Rob specializes in defending dental malpractice and long-term care liability cases. Rob also has extensive experience defending trucking and transportation companies in auto liability cases. Finally, he serves as an at-large board member for the Pennsylvania Defense Institute. 

Patty Lafferty also has been a great addition to the healthcare department. Patty has 20 years of litigation experience, with approximately ten years focusing solely on the defense of health care providers. She represents physicians, nurses, advance practice providers, physician group hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities in medical malpractice cases throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. Prior to joining us, Patty tried cases as a prosecutor in the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office. She tried multiple felony and misdemeanor cases. She was also an Assistant City Solicitor for the City of Scranton, working with the mayor, prior to joining Marshall Dennehey. Patty is an active member in the legal community, serving on the Board of Directors for the Lackawanna County Bar Association. 

As outlined above, the Health Care Department has tried dozens and dozens of cases to verdict. Their experience and knowledge makes them the leading medical malpractice department in Northeastern Pennsylvania. 

Scranton continues to be fortunate in that we have an experienced support staff that can be depended on to go well above and beyond their job classifications. We have several paralegals and administrative support staff who have been with us for 10-25 years. Their dedication to their jobs and the attorneys they work with is appreciated. Each and every one of them can be counted on to assist in any project or trial that may be on the horizon. They are willing and able to help when others are either out of the office or overworked. The teamwork and comradery amongst and between them is an asset to our firm. 

The team of professionals assembled in the Scranton office provides outstanding legal services to all of the clients. Presently, our footprint in Pennsylvania consists of Tioga, Bradford, Susquehanna, Wayne, Lycoming, Sullivan, Wyoming, Montour, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Monroe, and Carbon counties, as well as the Middle and Eastern Districts of Pennsylvania, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. 

All of the attorneys mentioned above live and, for the most part, grew up in the Northeast Pennsylvania area. Our knowledge of the courts, judges, and the procedures followed in each of the counties and federal courts around us allows this office to represent our clients in a professional and efficient manner, which the courts truly appreciate. Our attorneys are on a first-name basis with many of the judges we litigate before and their support staff. This allows us to represent our clients in a way that is unrivaled in the area.

Also interesting is the differences in the counties in which we work. Most of the counties would be considered extremely conservative, but three of them are considered by our clients to be leaning liberal or extremely liberal. Having the knowledge to navigate these counties and courts goes a long way in providing the best advice and representation to our clients. 

Our office’s experience and ability to handle a wide variety of cases at any stage of the litigation process—investigation, pretrial, discovery, trial, arbitration, mediation, settlement, or appeal—allows our clients to rest easy, knowing that they are getting excellent representation no matter the type of case or its procedural posture. The amount of work we receive in Northeastern Pennsylvania from our clients is greatly appreciated, and I believe is attributable to the fine work done by each of our attorneys, paralegals, and administrative staff. We are simply the best law firm (not just defense) in Northeast Pennsylvania.



Defense Digest, Vol. 29, No. 2, June 2023, is prepared by Marshall Dennehey 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. © 2023 Marshall Dennehey. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm. For reprints, contact