John J. Hare
Areas of Practice
John is the chair of the firm's ten-attorney Appellate Advocacy and Post-Trial Practice Group. He has litigated more than 350 appeals in state and federal appellate courts. As litigation counsel, John has represented individuals, insurers, and corporations in some of the most high-profile litigation in recent Pennsylvania history, including dozens of cases with verdicts and settlements in excess of $10 million. As amicus curiae counsel, John has represented a diverse clientele, including the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the Pennsylvania Defense Institute, the Pennsylvania Medical Society, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and academics interested in the outcome of appellate litigation.
Pennsylvania Super Lawyers magazine has recognized John as a Top 100 lawyer in both Philadelphia and Pennsylvania based on a peer selection and evaluation process. He has also been selected as a Super Lawyer in the area of appellate practice every year since 2008. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel, and he has an AV Preeminent (5.0/5.0) rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating for professional competence.
John serves as chair of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Civil Procedural Rules Committee, and he formerly served on the Board of Governors of the Bar Association of the Third Federal Circuit and as co-chair of the amicus curiae committee of the Pennsylvania Defense Institute. He is also actively involved in bar association activities and regularly speaks on appellate topics.
John has edited and co-authored two books on Pennsylvania appellate courts. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania; Life and Law in the Commonwealth, 1684-2017, was published by the Pennsylvania State University Press in 2018. Keystone of Justice: The Pennsylvania Superior Court, 1895-1995, was published by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2000.
John is regularly called upon by the media to provide insight and commentary on significant legal issues. To view recent articles in which John is quoted, scroll down to the Media Commentary section below.
In a case in which John filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Pennsylvania Defense Institute, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously reversed a Commonwealth Court decision quashing the defendant school district's appeal and remanding for consideration of the appeal on the merits. Wolk v. School District of Lower Merion, 197 A.3d 730 (Pa., December 11, 2018).
The Pennsylvania Superior Court vacated a $35 million judgment against John's client and remanded for a new trial. Straw v. Golon et al.,187 A.3d 966 (Pa. Super., May 11, 2018), appeal denied, 2019 Pa.LEXIS 950 (February 15, 2019).
In a case in which John filed an amicus curiae brief for a group of 22 university-based experts on sex crimes, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held by a vote of 5-1 that the retroactive registration of sex offenders under Pennsylvania's Megan's Law is unconstitutional. John's brief addressed extensive research showing that Megan's Law registries actually suppress the reporting and prosecution of sex crimes. Commonwealth v. Muniz, 2017 Pa. LEXIS 1682 (Pa., July 19, 2017).
The Pennsylvania Superior Court, sitting en banc, vacated a $14.5 million verdict and remanded for a new trial based upon the erroneous admission of expert testimony and prejudicial statements by opposing counsel. Nelson v. American Standard, et al., 2014 Pa. Super. 286 (Pa. Super., December 23, 2014)(en banc), appeal denied, (Pa., June 21, 2017).
In a case in which John filed an amicus curiae brief for the ASPCA, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court struck down regulations of the Department of Agriculture that permitted commercial dog breeders to restrict nursing mothers' access to exercise areas and use wire flooring in their cages. The Commonwealth Court held that the Department lacked authority to pass regulations that violated Pennsylvania's Dog Law. Keith v. Commonwealth ex rel. Pa. Dep't of Agric., 151 A.3d 687, 689 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2016).
In a case in which John filed an amicus brief for the Pennsylvania Defense Institute and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court invalidated Philadelphia's mandatory consolidation of asbestos cases for trial. Rost v. Ford Motor Co., 151 A.3d 1032 (Pa. 2016).
In a case in which John filed an amicus curiae brief for the Pennsylvania Defense Institute, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously upheld the reversal of a multimillion dollar verdict against an electric company on the basis that the plaintiff had not satisfied the "retained control" exception to the general rule of nonliability for independent contractors. Nertavich v. PPL Electric Utilities, No. 21 EAP 2015 (Pa. 2015).
By a vote of 6-0, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed a judgment as a matter of law for John's clients, a Pennsylvania police department and a police officer, and held that police owe neither a statutory nor a common law duty to unknown passengers in fleeing vehicles. The plaintiff had been killed during a high speed pursuit. The Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police, The Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Municipal League, and the Pennsylvania Association of Boroughs joined together as amici curiae to support John's position in the Supreme Court. Sellers v. Township of Abington et al., 2014 Pa. Lexis. 3463 (December 29, 2014).
By a vote of 7-0, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed the Superior Court and the trial court and ruled that John’s client, a general contractor, was immune from suit under Pennsylvania’s statutory employer doctrine. The ruling nullified a large verdict against the general contractor. Twenty-one construction and insurance industry groups joined together as amici to support John’s appeal to the Supreme Court. Patton v. Worthington Associates, 2014 Pa. LEXIS 788 (March 26, 2014).
The Pennsylvania Superior Court dismissed a highly-publicized death case filed against John's client in Pennsylvania based upon the doctrine of forum non conveniens under Pennsylvania's long-arm statute, 42 Pa.C.S. § 5322(e). Jones v. Morey's Pier Inc., No. 2990 EDA 2012 (March 10, 2014)
The Pennsylvania Superior Court ordered the transfer of 18 asbestos cases out of Philadelphia to a more appropriate venue based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens. Stettler v. Allied Signal et al., 795 EDA 2012 (Pa. Super., January 21, 2014)
In its second ruling in the case in two years, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the Superior Court's reversal of a trial court finding that an insurer was not prejudiced by the insured's failure to report a phantom vehicle within the 30-day time limit set forth in the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 1702. The Supreme Court held that an insured reasonably can be expected to alert the insurer of the phantom vehicle within a month's time and, while an insurer cannot deny coverage absent prejudice cause by late notice, showing such prejudice does not require proof of what the insurer would have found had timely notice been provided. Vanderhoff v. Harleysville Insurance Co., 2013 Pa. Lexis 2581 (Pa. 2013).
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc and deciding an issue of first impression, held that a school district and its assistant principal were properly granted summary judgment because students’ allegations of bullying against other students did not establish a special relationship or state-created danger that must exist before a constitutional duty to protect arose under Fourteenth Amendment. Morrow v. Balaski, 719 F.3d 160 (3d Cir. 2013).
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that, even if medical treatment provided to a prisoner constitutes medical malpractice, it does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution unless it results from deliberate indifference to the prisoner’s rights. Positano v. Wetzel, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 14020 (3d Cir. 2013).
In a case in which John filed an amicus curiae brief, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed the Pennsylvania Superior Court and held that a physician has no duty to warn and advise third-party non-patients of a patient's communicable disease. Seebold v. Prison Health Servs., Inc., 57 A.3d 1232 (Pa. 2013).
The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed a trial court's transfer of venue under the doctrine of forum non conveniens, the first such decision by a Pennsylvania appellate court in nine years. Stoner v. Penn Kleen, 2012 Pa. Super. 218, 2012 Pa.Super. LEXIS 2932 (Pa. Super. 2012).
In a case of first impression, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a putative class action against John's client, a national manufacturer of automobile anti-theft systems, and held that the client was not liable under the New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act, which permits a broad array of damages for violations of any federal or state consumer protection law, because its warranty did not violate any clearly established right under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. McGarvey v. Penske Auto Group, Inc., et al., 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 13450 (July 2, 2012).
In the first Pennsylvania decision addressing the recoverability of attorneys' fees on a jury's award of future medical expenses under the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (MCARE) Act, the Court held that such fees are paid out of, not in addition to, the award of future medical expenses, after reduction to present value. This ruling substantially reduced the value of a claim against John's client. Sayler v. Skutches, 2012 PA Super 23, 2012 Pa. Super. LEXIS 25 (Pa. Super., February 6, 2012).
The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court vacated a large judgment against John's client, a township, and remanded for the entry of judgment notwithstanding the verdict, on the basis that the trial evidence failed to demonstrate that the township was responsible for the decedent's death. Rahman v. Falls Township, 2012 Pa. Commw. Unpub. LEXIS 126 (Pa.Cmwlth., January 6, 2012).
The Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the ruling of the trial court and awarded a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, vacating a large verdict against John's client, a mutual insurance company, on the basis that the insurer's conduct in handling a fire damage claim did not constitute bad faith as a matter of law. Edkin v. Brethren Mutual Insurance Co., 1331 MDA 2009 (Pa. Super., February 4, 2011).
The Pennsylvania Superior Court vacated an adverse jury verdict and remanded for a new trial in favor of John's client, one of the world's leading construction firms, in its claim for contractual indemnity. Skanska USA Buildings, Inc. v. Gory Mechanical Contractors, 345 EDA 2010 (Pa. Super., January 19, 2011).
In a decision reconciling two conflicting lines of cases, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court ruling that John's client, an insurer, had a duty to defend a lawsuit claiming that the intoxicated insured assaulted and attempted to kill the plaintiff before taking his own life. The central issue in the case was whether and to what extent allegations of intoxication can convert otherwise intentional conduct into an accident for purposes of securing insurance coverage. Addressing "tension" in the existing case law, the Court reasoned in its published decision that Pennsylvania public policy forbids the extension of insurance coverage to obviously intentional conduct and that allegations of intoxication can create a duty to defend only when the allegations indicate that the insured was so intoxicated that he lacked conscious awareness of his actions or lacked the ability to form intent. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co v. The Estate of Thomas Mehlman, 589 F.3d 105 (3d Cir., 2009).
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the judgment of the federal district court and upheld the dismissal of all claims against John's client, a law firm, on the basis that the plaintiff's claims were barred by the statute of limitations and the doctrine of collateral estoppel. Seawright v. Greenberg, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 9248 (3d Cir. 2007).
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the judgment of the federal district court and upheld the dismissal of the plaintiff's claims against John's clients, attorneys and their law firm, on the basis that the plaintiff had failed to prove the necessary element of causation. My Le Duong v. Nationwide Ins. Co., 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 27617 (3d Cir. 2006).
The Pennsylvania Superior Court vacated a large verdict against John's client and remanded for a new trial on the basis that the jury should have been allowed to consider whether the plaintiff's claims were barred by the statute of limitations. Urbach v. Kentile, Inc., et al., 915 A.2d 159 (Pa. Super. 2006), appeal denied, 2007 Pa. LEXIS 1351 (Pa. 2007).
In the first comprehensive appellate decision interpreting Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1042.3-1042.6, Pennsylvania's tort reform measure intended to increase the threshold of merit for professional liability actions, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the ruling of the trial court and remanded for the entry of judgment as a matter of law in favor of John's client, a physician, based upon the plaintiff's failure to file a certificate of merit in support of his medical malpractice claim. O'Hara v. Randall, 879 A.2d 240 (Pa. Super. 2005).
The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed the ruling of the trial court, which entered judgment for John's client, that the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Phillies owed no duty to a spectator at a baseball game who was partially blinded when hit by a foul ball. Pakett v. The City of Philadelphia et al, 871 A.2d 304 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005).
The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the ruling of the trial court and held that the plaintiff was not entitled to retry her claims against John's client, a hospital. Stalsitz v. Allentown Hospital, 814 A.2d 766 (Pa. Super. 2004).
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the judgment of the federal district court and dismissed the plaintiff's civil rights claims on the basis that John's clients, county officials, were entitled to absolute immunity from liability for actions taken in their official capacities. Laverdure v. County of Montgomery, 324 F.3d 123 (3d Cir. 2003).
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed the judgment of the federal district court and ruled that an ordinance passed by John's client, a Pennsylvania municipality, did not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. Philadelphia Owners Association v. City of Philadelphia et al, 57 Fed. Appx. 961 (3d Cir. 2003).
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed two lower courts and awarded a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, erasing a substantial judgment against John's client, a professional corporation, on the basis that the plaintiff's res ipsa loquitur theory of liability was invalid as a matter of law. Toogood v. Rogal, 824 A.2d 1140 (Pa. 2003).
In the first appellate decision interpreting and applying Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1006(a.1), Pennsylvania's tort reform measure involving venue, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the ruling of the trial court and held that the plaintiff's medical malpractice action against John's client, a physician, must be transferred out of Philadelphia County. Connor v. Crozer Keystone Health Sys., 832 A.2d 1112 (Pa. Super. 2003).
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the judgment of the federal district court and upheld the dismissal of the plaintiff's product liability claims against John's client, a manufacturer of scaffolding equipment, after a jury found that the manufacturer was not responsible for the construction accident that injured the plaintiff. Johnson v. Vanguard Manufacturing, 34 Fed. Appx. 858 (3d Cir. 2002).
The “New” Pennsylvania Supreme Court; Reflections on the Last Three-Plus Years, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, September 9, 2019
Your Case is in the News; Handling High-Profile Litigation, Moderator, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, 2019 Spring Conference, April 13, 2019
The Pennsylvania Constitution: An Independent Source of Rights and Judicial Power, Pennsylvania State Trial Judges Conference, February 21, 2019
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania: Life and Law in the Commonwealth, 1684-2017: A Conversation, hosted by Duquesne University for Pennsylvania Supreme Court, October 24, 2018
What Can We Learn from Nancy Raynor?, Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel, June 2015
Winning Your Case on Appeal, Pennsylvania Defense Institute, 45th Annual Conference, July 17-19, 2013
Winning (or Not Losing) Your Case on Appeal, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, May 2010
Appellate Mediation in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, December 2009
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania; Life and Law in the Commonwealth, 1684-2017 (Hare ed., Penn State, 2018)
"What’s New In 2017? Filing Trends and Developments In Asbestos Litigation," Mealey's Litigation Reports, August 16, 2017
"Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant; Solutions to the Concealment of Asbestos Trust Filings in Tort Litigation," For The Defense, April 2016
"Uncloaking Bankruptcy Trust Filings In Asbestos Litigation: Refuting the Myths About Transparency," Mealey's Asbestos Bankruptcy Report and Mealey's Litigation Report Asbestos, April 2016
"Uncloaking Bankruptcy Trust Filings In Asbestos Litigation: A Survey Of Solutions To The Types Of Conduct Exposed In Garlock's Bankruptcy," Mealey's Asbestos Bankrupcty Report, August 28, 2015
“A New Product Liability Paradigm,” Defense Digest, Vol. 21, No. 1, March 2015
Case Law Alerts, contributor, 2012-present
"Protecting Their Own; The Power Of Administrative Agencies To Enforce Regulations Through Litigation," Defense Digest, May 2003
"The Legal Doctrines Of Waiver And Estoppel May Not Be Used To Expand The Scope Of An Insurance Policy To Cover Excluded Risks," Defense Digest, September 2002
"Defining 'Beneficiary' In A Wrongful Death Action Under The Pennsylvania Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association Act," Defense Digest, August 2001
"Pennsylvania Appellate News," Defense Digest, 2001-2008
Keystone of Justice: A History of the Pennsylvania Superior Court; 1895-1995, co-author with Hon. P. Tamilia, Superior Court of Pa., Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, January 2000
"Note, Freedom of the Press and the Right to a Fair Trial in Pennsylvania," 30 Duq.L.Rev. 760, 1992
"Pennsylvania Cases to Watch in 2020", Law 360, January 3, 2020
"Drifting Away From Precedent?: Some See Pa. Supreme Court Upending Established Case Law," Pennsylvania Law Weekly, December 23, 2019
"The Biggest Pa. Appellate Rulings Of 2019: Midyear Report," Law360, July 3, 2019
"Pa. Jurisdiction in Grenfell Tower Suit May be Tested by Evolving Case Law," The Legal Intelligencer, June 12, 2019
“Law Firms Going ‘Old School’ as Phila. Court System Struggles to Recover From Computer Virus,” The Legal Intelligencer, May 31, 2019
"At Last, Unpublished Superior Court Opinions Can Be Cited. Now What?," The Legal Intelligencer, March 29, 2019
"This Pennsylvania Committee Is Proposing Changes That Benefit Five Of Its Members' Law Firms," Forbes and Pennsylvania Record, February 19, 2019
"Tough Sell On Cancer Link Awaits At 1st Philly Talc Trial," Law360, February 5, 2019
"CBS Tells Justices No Liability For Asbestos Added By Others, Law360, September 20, 2018
"The Biggest Pa. Appellate Rulings Of 2018: Midyear Report," Law360, July 12, 2018
"Judge Says Pa.'s Corporate Registration Law Doesn't Create Jurisdiction," The Legal Intelligencer, June 11, 2018
"Superior Court Throws Out $32M Wrongful Death Award," The Legal Intelligencer, May 3, 2018
"Pa. Tort Ruling Highlights Discrepancies in Jury Instructions," Law360, February 23, 2018
"Commonwealth Court: Philly Beverage Tax is Legal," WHYY's Keystone Crossroads, June 14, 2017. John's interview about the soda tax also aired on WHYY's Morning Edition program on June 16, 2017.
"Changes to PA Tort Law Not Coming Fast Enough, Attorneys Say," Law360, April 20, 2017
"Justices' 'Abnormal' Requests Pose Legislative Challenges," The Legal Intelligencer, October 7, 2017
"Attorneys Agree Ban on Citing Nonprecedential Opinions is a Hurdle," The Legal Intelligencer, September 1, 2016
"The Biggest PA Appeals Court Decisions So Far in 2016," Law360, August 4, 2016
"Appellate Courts Prepare to Transition Interim Appointees," The Legal Intelligencer, July 11, 2016
"Zimmer Win May Force Harder Look at Runaway Verdicts," Law360, June 10, 2016
"'When in Doubt, Appeal' in Consolidated Cases," The Legal Intelligencer, May 31, 2016
"Superior Court's 2016 Output Low on Civil Rulings," The Legal Intelligencer, May 27, 2016
"Revamped PA High Court Looks To Make Mark on Tort Law," Law360, February 4, 2016
"Supreme Court Orders Reargument in 26 Cases From 2015," The Legal Intelligencer, January 22, 2016.
"Intermediate Courts Must Weather Vacancies," The Legal Intelligencer, January 9, 2016
"Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin Tearfully Apologizes, Defends Reputation in Porn Email Hearing," Allentown Morning Call, December 21, 2015
"Eakin, 'Bruno' and the State of Judicial Discipline in PA," The Legal Intelligencer, December 18, 2015
"JCB Faces Challenges in Proving Violations by Eakin," The Legal Intelligencer, December 11, 2015
"Litigants May Test High Court After Turnover," Pennsylvania Law Weekly, November 17, 2015
"Dems' PA High Court Sweep Could Shake Up Enviro, Tort Law," Law360, November 4, 2015
"Report: Supreme Court Should Defer to JCB on Eakin Emails," The Legal Intelligencer, November 3, 2015
"Zimmer Ruling Continues Pa. Justices’ Pro-Plaintiff Trend," Law360, October 28, 2015
"Lawyers Say Discipline, Not Removal, Likely for Eakin," Pennsylvania Law Weekly, October 20, 2015
"Rekindled Email Scandal Tests State Supreme Court, Again," The Legal Intelligencer, October 6, 2015
"Saylor's Comments Raise More Questions Over AG Kane's Fate," The Legal Intelligencer, September 30, 2015
"Fee Sanctions Must Be Filed Soon After Final Order," Pennsylvania Law Weekly, September 28, 2015
"Rule Changes Clear Up Legal Gray Area in Post-Trial Motions," Legal Intelligencer, July 14, 2015
"Raising Pa. Supreme Court Output Easier Said Than Done?," Pennsylvania Law Weekly, March 31, 2015
"Police Owe No Duty to Unknown Passengers in Fleeing Car," The Legal Intelligencer, January 5, 2015
"Pennsylvania Cases To Watch In 2015," Law360, January 2, 2015
"En Banc Superior Court Tosses $14.5M Asbestos Verdict," The Legal Intelligencer, December 29, 2014
"Pa. En Banc Panel Boots $14.5M Asbestos Verdict," Law360, December 24, 2014
"Collateral Order Appeals on the Rise in Pennsylvania," The Legal Intelligencer, (Dec. 12, 2014)
"Pa. Supreme Court Won't Take up Appeal of 18 Asbestos Cases," The Legal Intelligencer (Dec. 8, 2014)
"With Vacancies Looming, High Court Increases Productivity," The Legal Intelligencer (Dec. 2, 2014)
"Justices to Eye Philadelphia Asbestos Consolidation Procedure," Pennsylvania Law Weekly, (Nov. 18, 2014)
"Ford Appeal Could Aid Defendants In Philly Asbestos Cases," Law360, (Nov. 13, 2014)
"Wolf's Win Sets Stage For Pa. Supreme Court Shakeup," Law360, (Nov. 5, 2014)
“Pa. Porn Scandal Ups Pressure For Judicial Merit Selection,” Law360 (October 21, 2014)
“$20M Knee Injury Dispute Could Rejigger Pa. Tort Law,” Law360 (October 6, 2014)
“Parties Spar Over Tossed $14.5 Mil. Asbestos Verdict,” The Legal Intelligencer (August 12, 2014)
“After Quiet First Half, 4 PA High Court Cases To Watch,” Law360, July 16, 2014
“Pa. Ruling Limits Asbestos Claims In Construction Suits,” Law360, July 2, 2014
“Attorneys Shocked by Senate Proposal to Slash Judiciary,” The Legal Intelligencer, June 5, 2014
"Dive into PSU Sanctions Shows Breadth of Judicial Discretion," Pennsylvania Law Weekly, April 28, 2014
“PA. Supreme Court Reaffirms Statutory Employer Doctrine,” The Legal Intelligencer, March 31, 2014
“Pa. Appeals Court Won't Reconsider Asbestos Suits' Transfer,” Law360, March 31, 2014
“Pa. High Court Keeps Tort Immunity For General Contractors,” Law360, March 27, 2014
“Tardy Statement of Errors Causes Waiver of Appeal,” The Legal Intelligencer, March 17, 2014
“Pa. Court Says Amusement Park Death Suit Belongs in NJ,” Law360, March 12, 2014
“Are Appeals Courts Showing More Mercy for Procedural Errors,” The Legal Intelligencer, February 10, 2014