On the Pulse...Profile of Cherry Hill Office

The Township of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, lies five miles east of Philadelphia. The area's original inhabitants were the Lenni-Lenape Native Americans who lived peacefully among some of the followers of William Penn, after their arrival in the Garden State in the late 1600s. On March 13, 1844, residents incorporated the Township under the name Delaware Township, the official beginning of the municipality. The Township is now home to more than 70,000 residents and businesses, including the Cherry Hill office of Marshall, Dennehey, Warner Coleman & Goggin.

More than 140 years after Cherry Hill's incorporation, during the late spring of 1984, a few attorneys from Marshall, Dennehey's central office in Philadelphia established the first true office for the firm in the state of New Jersey. From those small beginnings has grown our Cherry Hill operation of more than 100, including almost 50 attorneys, 10 paralegals, and 48 support staff. Recently, the office underwent a significant expansion and renovation in order to allow for continuing and anticipated substantial growth.

The Cherry Hill Office maintains an inventory of just under 4,000 files which are ably handled by attorneys assigned to one of our four departments-Professional Liability, Casualty, Health Care, and Workers' Compensation and Employment.

Our Casualty Department has grown substantially over the past few years. Shareholders Barbara Davis, Paul Johnson, Peter Lentini, Carolyn Bogart, Kevin McKeon, Douglas Suplee, Walt Klekotka, Diane Magram, and Lary Zucker provide the backbone of the department.

Barbara Davis, supervisor of the casualty group, Pete Lentini, Walt Klekotka, and Carolyn Bogart handle general liability matters which include automobile liability, premises liability, liquor liability, products liability, pharmaceutical malpractice, and no fault. These attorneys have substantial experience in all litigation forums, from bench and jury trials to arbitrations and ADR. The group is ably supported by a fine group of associates which include Jessica Wachstein, Mari Grimes, Chris Marcucci, and Suzanne Finiello.

Larry Zucker, assisted by Kevin McGoldrick, is one of the senior members of the office with more than 35 years experience as a trial attorney. Lary has developed unique expertise in handling cases involving the amusement and entertainment industry. In fact, Lary is legal counsel to the New Jersey Amusement Association, a trade association of amusement parks, theme parks, and water parks. As counsel to the Association, Lary is an advocate on regulatory and legislative matters. Lary has also been active in establishing MDWC&G as a partner in national amusement industry insurance programs for bowling, roller skating, and recreational go-karts, among others.

Our Special Investigation/Fraud group has undergone many changes over the past few years. The group litigates fraud matters, from property damage claims (arson) to first party claims. A good deal of their work involves investigating medical provider fraud in New Jersey. The unit is led by Doug Alba and Jeff Rapattoni who are supported by Rachel Von Rhine, Jim Johnson, Joann Diaz, and Nick Kierniesky. The group has developed strategies designed to recognize and uncover patterns of fraudulent activity. Personnel often participate in providing training for insurance carriers and SIU/Fraud organizations both within and outside New Jersey. This unit is recognized as one of the leading SIU/Fraud units in the state.

Kevin McKeon and Doug Suplee handle Warranty/Lemon Law claims for a variety of automobile manufactures as well as manufactures of a myriad of other products. Both Kevin and Doug have tried several warranty claims to successful conclusion.

Paul Johnson, joined by associate Nadira Kirkland, runs our Asbestos unit. The group continues the firm's long tradition of delivering skilled and cost-effective services in toxic tort litigation. Additionally, the practice includes some general liability and trucking litigation.

Our Professional Liability Department is home to a number of senior litigators well renowned throughout the state. Shareholders in the department include Jack Slimm, Steve Polansky, John Osorio, Dana Argeris, Lila Wynne, Larry Berg, Tracy Burnley, Walt Kawalec, Rich Goldstein, and Matt Behr. These individuals posses enormous expertise and significant trial proficiency in all areas of professional liability defense.

John "Jack" Slimm is the elder statesman of the Cherry Hill office who specializes in handling legal malpractice claims, but he also works on a variety of professional liability and complex commercial claims. Jack is joined by Art Wheeler and Dante Rohr. This is truly one of the most respected litigation teams in the southern half of the state.

John Osorio and Tracy Burnley, along with associates Ray Michaud, Greg Kelley and Mike Keller, compose the Architectural, Engineering & Construction Defect Litigation Practice Group. The group regularly defends a broad array of complicated construction-related claims, including design defect, professional malpractice, and personal injury. In addition to being a tremendously experienced and respected trial attorney, John Osorio also is Chair of the Architectural, Engineering & Construction Defect Litigation Practice Group at Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin.

Steve Polansky and Dana Argeris, assisted by associates Michael "Misha" Gorokhovich and George Deeney, address contractual indemnification, bad faith, and insurance coverage litigation. Their cases include commercial property, business interruption, professional liability, and general liability coverage.

Lila Wynne, Chair of the firm's Environmental & Toxic Tort Practice Group, has served as counsel in matters involving over 25 CERCLA Superfund sites and over 100 state enforcement sites. She has particular experience in handling Superfund claims, cost recovery and contribution actions, and private-party litigation involving multi-plaintiff property and personal injury claims. Along with Marc Jones, Lila defends complex environmental matters for insured and self-insured corporations of all sizes

Rich Goldstein and Matt Behr, assisted by Kara Pullman and Mike Keller, handle municipal liability, civil rights, public employment, education claims, and a variety of related professional liability matters. Rich is the managing attorney of the Cherry Hill office and also serves as the supervisor for the New Jersey Professional Liability group while maintaining a full case load. He is in his 29th year with the firm.

As a complement to our trial practice, we maintain a superlative appellate department headed by Walt Kawalec. Walt has prepared and argued cases on both the state and federal levels and offers to our clients a unique type of expertise in appellate practice that many firms do not have.

Long time shareholder Lynn Nahmani oversees our Health Care Practice Group which has grown by leaps and bounds since her arrival. She is joined by Sharon Campbell, Dave Lolli, Phil Anderson, and Michelle Moses. They defend physicians, hospitals, dentists, nurses, and a host of other health care providers, along with long-term care facilities. They regularly present seminars and training sessions for health care professionals and participate in medically accredited conferences.

Bob Fitzgerald heads our workers' compensation group. Along with Angela DeMary, Jammie Jackson, and Kristy Olivo, the group defends insured and self-insured employers, litigating a variety of issues raised by the New Jersey Workers' Compensation Act, including compensability, degrees of disability, contribution from other employers, and subrogation rights.

Larry Berg concentrates in employment-related matters, representing private profit and non-profit employers in discrimination, whistle blowing, and wrongful termination claims. He also regularly consults with clients about how to address personnel and human resource issues.

It would be a serious oversight not to recognize the essential support received daily from our highly skilled and dedicated office staff of paralegals, secretaries, file clerks, and accounting personnel. Led by the extraordianry efforts of our Office Manager, Sheila Stanley, who has been with us for more than 20 years, and her valuable Assistant Manager, Vicki Gureghian, the office runs smoothly, allowing our attorneys to do what they do best and to be immediately responsive to client needs. Marshall, Dennehey has recently recognized Sheila's value having appointed her Regional Manager of all staff in both of our New Jersey operations.

The firm's Cherry Hill Office is the largest of the firm's branch offices and one of the largest, if not the largest, defense litigation firms practicing in southern New Jersey. From our convenient location, we are able to easily cover the southern half of the state, which runs from Middlesex and Monmouth Counties in central New Jersey to Cape May and Salem Counties in the southernmost portions of the state. The majority of our attorneys are native to the area, have a good rapport with and knowledge of local judges and opposing attorneys, and are familiar with the population of potential jurors.

We are a part of a full-service, regional defense firm dedicated to furnishing expert legal services at competitive rates. We are always available to respond to inquiries concerning litigation-related topics.

We also offer a full range of seminars, presentations, training sessions, and other educational services designed to ensure that our clients are fully informed of new developments.

We wish to thank our clients for their past and continuing patronage, and we look forward to broadening the relationship in years to come.

* Rich Goldstein, a shareholder and managing attorney of our Cherry Hill, New Jersey, office, can be reached at (856) 414-6013 or rlgoldstein@mdwcg.com.

Defense Digest, Vol. 15, No. 3, September 2009