Danielle M. Vugrinovich

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Danielle concentrates a portion of her practice litigating Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claims brought by debtors against the collectors assigned to recover the debt.  Danielle also defends collectors in suits alleging claims for the violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Telephone Consumer Protection Act. She is frequently called on to speak nationally on topics related to the collection industry. She also dedicates a portion of her practice to mass and toxic torts relating to asbestos exposure.  Danielle’s asbestos practice includes all phases of litigation throughout the life of a case.  She also is experienced in handling premises liability, automobile accident cases, construction and general insurance defense.

Additionally, Danielle practices in the area of employment law relative to public and private entities. She has litigated federal claims brought pursuant to Title VII, the Family Medical Leave Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as pendant state law claims for whistleblower activities and violations of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Danielle also has experience litigating employment cases at the administrative level before both the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

Further, Danielle regularly defends police officers, municipal officials and municipalities in claims for alleged Section 1983 civil rights violations including excessive use of force, false arrest and unreasonable search and seizure.  As well, Danielle defends various professionals when sued for matters relating to their employment.   

In 1998, Danielle graduated from Duquesne University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. In 2001, she earned her juris doctor from Duquesne University School of Law.

Significant Representative Matters

Obtained summary judgment in favor of a Borough, its Chief, a Detective, a Lieutenant and a School Resource Officer, in a civil rights lawsuit alleging that no probable cause existed to charge the Plaintiff, a local high school teacher, with witness intimidation arising from an alleged incident involving a female student in his class who was a victim of institutional sexual assault by another teacher.

Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a life insurance agent in a fraud and negligence action. The agent was alleged to have forged certain policy documents in an effort to "churn" the existing policies the plaintiffs possessed into additional policies rather than increase the amount of coverage of the original policies.

Obtained summary judgment on behalf of an alleged joint employer in a Family Medical Leave Act and Americans with Disabilities Act case, successfully arguing that the entity did not qualify as a joint employer; thus, it was not subject to liability under either Act.

Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a real estate agent for allegedly failing to disclose that the property at issue did not have public sewer system.

Summary judgment granted for insurer in a claim for breach of contract and bad faith where the homeowner made a claim for vandalism when his tenant did not finish renovating the leased premises.  The Court held that the damages were not "sudden and accidental" and that the policy exclusions for faulty workmanship and renovations were applicable as a matter of law.

Obtained summary judgment in a civil rights case in which the plaintiff alleged a violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights claiming excessive use of force was applied during his arrest and detention. 

Obtained favorable decision based upon governmental immunity in municipal tort action alleging negligence of the municipal authority's contractor in the connection of the water line to the plaintiff's residence. 

Summary judgment granted in a private entity employment case in which the plaintiff alleged gender and age discrimination while employed as a diagnostic imaging marketing representative. 

Summary judgment granted in a civil rights case in which the plaintiff alleged a violation of his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure and claimed that he was subject to racial profiling. 

Summary judgment granted in a civil rights case in which the plaintiff alleged the violation of his First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983, violation of 1985 and state law claims of malicious prosecution, false arrest/false imprisonment, and conspiracy against a municipality for its police officers' response to a call from his residence. 

Summary judgment granted in municipal entity employment case in which the employee alleged she was subjected to race and disability discrimination after she was terminated following a reduction in force. 

Classes/Seminars Taught

Stop! Gavel Time!:  A Collection and Cross Claim Mock Trial,  National Creditors Bar Association, Fall Convention, Nashville, TN, October 2018

We Don't Know Where We Are, But We Are Making Really Good Time:  Keeping Up with Ever Changing Technology and the Conundrums It Presents, National Creditors Bar Association, Spring Convention, Austin, TX, May 2018

Solving the "Meaningful Involvement" Puzzle, National Creditors Bar Association, Washington, D.C., Fall Convention, October 2017

Recent Litigation Trends and How to Avoid Them, National Association for Retail Collection Attorneys Spring Convention, May 2015

Primer on the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, June 10, 2014

"Reasonable Investigations" under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, ACA International Convention, San Diego, CA, July 2013

Primer on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, June 18, 2013

Employment Liability in the Cyber Age, Marshall Dennehey / AIG Employment Seminar, Pittsburgh, PA, May 2, 2013

Primer on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 2011

The FDCPA: Jerman v. Carlisle and the Impact on the Bona Fide Error Defense, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 2010

Primer on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 2010

Published Works

"Best Practices Regarding Stacking Waivers in Pennsylvania", Legal Updates for Insurance Agents & Brokers, June 2019

"The Need for Clarity in Counseling Customers," Legal Updates for Insurance Agents & Brokers, November 16, 2018

"Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Are Not Protected Classes under Title VII…Or Are They?," Defense Digest, Vol. 23, No. 2, June 2017

"Qualified Immunity Not Strictly for Governmental Employees Anymore," Defense Digest, Vol. 18, No. 3, September 2012

"The Supreme Court Considers the Privacy Rights of a Public Employee's Communications on an Electronic Device Provided by the Public Employer," Defense Digest, Volume 16, No. 3, September 2010 

Admissions
Pennsylvania
2001
U.S. District Court Western District of Pennsylvania
2001
U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit
2017
Education
Duquesne University School of Law (J.D., 2001)
Duquesne University (B.A., 1998)
Honors & awards
Pennsylvania Super Lawyer Rising Star
2016
Associations & memberships
ACA International (The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals)
Allegheny County Bar Association
The National Creditors Bar Association (NCBA)
Pennsylvania Bar Association
Year joined
2007