Michael J. Connolly

Shareholder

A member of the firm’s Casualty Department, Mike primarily handles matters involving premises liability, automobile, and general liability.  Mike has defended a number of industrial workplace accident cases, and regularly deals with matters involving Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) regulations and standards.  

Mike has handled wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases, surface mining accidents, motor vehicle, product liability and UIM claims.  He has also presented seminars within the hotel and hospitality industry concerning risk management and how to address claims common to the industry.  Mike’s civil litigation experience previously included representing insurance carriers and their insureds in the firm’s professional liability department in the field of municipal and civil rights litigation.

An honors graduate of the University of Scranton, Mike then received his juris doctor from Drexel University with distinction in the field of Insurance Law.  Mike clerked for the Honorable Chester T. Harhut, former President Judge of Lackawanna County and worked for the Lackawanna County District Attorney.  Admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Mike is also a member of the American Bar Association, Pennsylvania Bar Association and Lackawanna County Bar Association.  Mike previously worked with the Law School Admission Council as an administrator of the Law School Admission Test for prospective law students, as well as with the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners on the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Exam.  Mike regularly volunteers assistance to community leaders within his hometown on legal matters.

Significant Representative Matters

Obtained a compulsory nonsuit at the close of the plaintiff’s case during a jury trial in Luzerne County.  The case stemmed from a fall that occurred in a grocery store.  It was undisputed that the plaintiff experienced a hard fall after stepping on a bottle containing an energy drink while shopping.  Plaintiff suffered several injuries including serious nerve damage to both legs as a result of the fall. Although the plaintiff had alleged both actual and constructive notice of the allegedly dangerous condition created by the bottle on the floor, she failed to introduce any evidence beyond mere speculation of that notice, and the court granted the nonsuit.

Successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of commercial property owners under the immunity available to owners who hire independent contractors to perform work on the owners’ property.  Plaintiff was operating an electric saw as part of a building demolition project when he lost his footing and fell from a roof sustaining serious injuries. We demonstrated why none of the available exceptions to the immunity rule applied to the subject property owners.  Summary judgment was granted under Pennsylvania’s recognition of immunity for property owners who hire competent independent contractors to complete a project, when the owners retain no control over project details, supervision, or safety.

Successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of a real estate company in a property destruction case in which a moving company was hired to enter, clean, and winterize a property prior to the real estate company’s listing the property for sale.  Instead, the moving company went to the wrong house and emptied and destroyed all of the Plaintiff’s belongings and contents.  Plaintiff sued various defendants, including the real estate company which had no role in hiring the moving company, nor any knowledge of the wrongfully destroyed property.  Plaintiff attempted to connect all of the defendants involved through various theories of agency, conspiracy and identity theft.  Summary judgment was granted in favor of the real estate company after it was shown that Plaintiff failed to establish the requisite burden of proof for the claims under Pennsylvania’s agency laws, as well as the laws on identity theft and conspiracy. 

Published Works

"Expert Medical Evidence Mandatory on Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress Claims," Defense Digest, Vol. 22, No. 4, December 2016

Admissions
Pennsylvania
2010
U.S. District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania
2010
Education
Drexel University Kline School of Law (J.D., 2010)
University of Scranton (B.A., B.S., cum laude, 2007)
Honors & awards
Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2015-2019
Associations & memberships
American Bar Association
Lackawanna County Bar Association
Pennsylvania Bar Association
Year joined
2010