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Experienced. Respected. Responsive.


Gawthrop Greenwood was recently named Chester County’s “Best Lawyers” by the Daily Local News and “Best Law Firms” in U.S. News and Best Lawyers®, the leading survey of lawyers worldwide.

The firm’s Litigation Department is led by ten attorneys, including both general practice litigators and subject-matter focused practitioners. Each individual litigation attorney has been recognized as a leader in his or her field, being named to lists including  The Best Lawyers in America®, “Top Lawyers,” and Super Lawyers. Gawthrop’s litigators regularly practice in Pennsylvania’s state and federal courts and tribunals, as well as in Delaware and New Jersey. They work closely with team members in the Business & Real Estate, Trust & Estates, and Municipal Law & Government Departments.

Gawthrop Greenwood’s litigation clients come from a broad cross section of sectors including public and privately held corporations, non-profit corporations, insurance companies, municipalities and government agencies, banks and financial service firms, individuals and small businesses, licensed professionals and their practice groups, construction companies and real estate developers.

In a litigation situation, our experienced and knowledgeable lawyers will analyze your case to evaluate and exploit your strengths and your adversary’s weaknesses. We recognize that litigation is expensive both in terms of financial costs and in the diversion of your energy and focus. Accordingly, we strive to work within your budget and expectations and will apply a customized litigation strategy to achieve your goals.

Key Contact

John E. D. Larkin

Stephen McDonnell

Gawthrop Greenwood’s Litigation Department has advocated successfully for its clients, including in the following cases:

Construction Claims Dispute

The firm recently obtained a significant award in favor of its general contractor client for unpaid materials and services, attorneys’ fees and interest, all of which were due from the owner of a luxury home in Avalon, New Jersey. The award was rendered by an arbitrator from the American Arbitration Association following a six-day hearing pursuant to the parties’ original construction contract, which called for mediation and arbitration of all disputes arising from the project. The owner’s counter claim for alleged overpayment to the firm’s client was rejected in its entirety.

UCC Battle of the Forms

After a victory on motion for summary judgment, Gawthrop Greenwood settled this case’s remaining issues in an amicable settlement, without the risk and expense of trial.

The case was a multi-state “battle of the forms” litigation in federal court over allegedly defective construction equipment that Gawthrop’s client had purchased. Gawthrop won the legal battle on motion for summary judgment, and its client’s terms of purchase were deemed to be enforceable. After narrowing the issues by resolving the battle of the forms, the District Court directed the parties to reconsider settlement.

Sexual Harassment

Gawthrop recently tried a sexual harassment and gender discrimination matter to a jury in Chester County, and won on all claims.

In this case, a longstanding corporate client was alleged to have sexually harassed an employee by both making unwanted sexual advances and, also, terminating the employee when she rebuffed them. The employee alleged that her supervisor had touched her inappropriately, but other witnesses directly contradicted the majority of her claims. The case could not settle on reasonable terms, and was tried to a jury in the Court of Common Pleas; Gawthrop’s client won on all claims.

Business Divorce

After victory in pre-trial motions practice, Gawthrop settled a recent business-divorce on terms favorable to the client.

This case was a multi-state litigation between two equal members in an LLC. One member alleged he had been “shut out” of the business by his partner, and demanded that he be paid back-wages and distributions. The out-of-state partner filed a countersuit alleging that Gawthrop’s client had abandoned the business, leaving him with increased costs to meet his deliverables. He also demanded that the case be transferred to his own home state where, having taken over the company, he alleged the business was now located. Gawthrop’s client prevailed on the forum dispute in Pennsylvania and, on the eve of trial, obtained a favorable settlement.


Gawthrop recently tried a condemnation matter over seven days and, in a forty-three page decision, won on all issues.

Gawthrop Greenwood’s Municipal Law Group serves as solicitor to many of Chester County’s zoning hearing boards, schools, townships and other municipal entities. One Township sought to condemn nine acres of land, more or less, to construct a road and ancillary storm water facilities. The adjacent property owners objected to the condemnation, which resulted in a seven-day hearing on preliminary objections. The trial court ruled in favor of the Township on every objection. The matter is now on appeal.

Derivative Action

Gawthrop settled a recent derivative action on favorable terms, avoiding the risk and expense of trial.

Gawthrop Greenwood’s Trusts & Estates Department represented the plaintiff in this derivative action, an Executrix exercising control of an estate’s shares in a regional transportation and equipment company. During the process of settling the estate, the executrix became concerned that the company’s director and principal shareholder was diverting business assets to his own benefit. The Litigation Department, working in concert with the Trust & Estates Team, filed a derivative action on behalf of the estate and the company for waste and fraud. The matter resulted in an amicable settlement that benefited all parties without the risk and expense of trial.

A Very Unconventional Copyright Defense

By engaging in outside-the-box pleadings practice, Gawthrop avoided hundreds of thousands of dollars in risk.

In this unconventional copyright defense, Gawthrop’s client was sued for an unintentional breach of the federal copyright laws by a frequent filer in the District Courts. With the client’s consent, Gawthrop made an early offer of settlement for nominal value and, when it was rejected, a nominal offer of judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. The plaintiff rejected the offer of judgment, and filed a motion for summary judgment. In an unconventional move, Gawthrop wrote in support of the motion for summary judgment (with the client’s consent) but advocated that the judgment amount should be nominal, since the copyright holder was not injured, and the infringement was accidental. The District Court agreed with Gawthrop, and entered an award that was even lower than the earlier settlement offer, resulting in a positive outcome for the client.

Professional Negligence

Gawthrop’s litigators tried a fraud and professional negligence claim against a corporations’ general counsel to a federal bench, and won on all claims.

In this shareholder oppression case, the plaintiff alleged that her father had gifted her a majority stake in the family company, but that her majority position had been wrongfully usurped by faulty bookkeeping by the company’s CEO. She simultaneously brought a claim against the company’s general counsel for, allegedly, assisting the CEO with his scheme. Gawthrop was retained to defend the company’s general counsel in this complex shareholder dispute. Following extensive discovery and a federal bench trial, our client was found not liable on every count.

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With offices in West Chester, Berwyn and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as well as Greater Wilmington, Delaware,
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