Brett A. Wolfson has been with the firm since 2003. Brett has sat first and second chair with Jack Snyder for trials involving catastrophic injuries in Pennsylvania and New Jersey state and federal courts. Brett litigates catastrophic injury and/or death cases involving products, construction/industrial/workplace, commercial motor vehicle, medical professional and premises liability. Damages and settlement demands for these cases are frequently in the tens-of-millions range. Among the specialties of Brett’s practice group is late retention in a case, after discovery has been completed and within months or sometimes weeks to the start of trial, litigating the cases to trial and verdict. Brett also frequently litigates cases from pre-pleadings investigations through discovery stages and also litigates non-catastrophic injury cases.
A Philadelphia native, Brett obtained his law degree in 1999 from Rutgers University School of Law in Camden and his Bachelors degree in Philosophy from West Chester University, Pennsylvania, in 1993. Brett has also served under two Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judges, as a law clerk to the Honorable Joseph D. O’Keefe while he was Supervising Judge of the Complex Litigation Center and the Honorable Sandra Mazer Moss as a Team Leader for a major jury program. During undergraduate, Brett interned for the Chester County Public Defender’s office and during law school Brett participated in an externship for the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Civil Division.
Brett has been rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell and was listed in the 2015 edition of Philadelphia's Top Rated Lawyers. He serves as a Judge Pro Tem for the Dispute Resolution Center of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. He volunteers for the Support Center for Child Advocates and participates in fundraising for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Delaware Valley Chapter.
Selected Representative Matters:
Medical Malpractice, wrongful death (Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 2016) – Brett successfully obtained dismissal of internist, hospitalist, and emergency room physicians after about eight (8) days of trial before jury, shortly before closing arguments, where it was alleged the physicians were negligent for a delay in diagnosis of lung cancer resulting in premature death of patient.
Premises Liability, 100 stitches to facial laceration, torn lip, permanent scar (Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 2015) – Retained 6 weeks before trial, Brett successfully obtained low jury verdict including a finding of 45% comparative negligence against plaintiff. Plaintiff fell from an unguarded step in a gym landing face first onto a recumbent bike. Brett did not call any defense experts resting on his cross-examination of plaintiffs’ experts. Plaintiff declined a pre-trial offer of $150,000; the jury verdict of $80,000 was reduced to $44,000 after the 45% reduction for comparative negligence.
Medical Malpractice, wrongful death (Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 2011) – Brett successfully obtained a dismissal of a pulmonologist shortly before trial where it was alleged he was negligent and responsible for a five-year delay in diagnosis of lung cancer.
Medical Malpractice, delay in diagnosis of lung cancer (Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 2009) – Brett successfully obtained the dismissal of a cardiologist shortly before jury selection where it was alleged that he negligently failed to properly refer plaintiff for follow-up after a chest x-ray from a cardiac exam revealed a spot in his lung. The doctor’s chart documented that he had in fact advised plaintiff and his primary physician.
Industrial Accident, more than 50% body surface 2nd and 3rd degree burns (Middlesex County, New Jersey, 2009) – Brett sat second chair at a trial in which a 43-year-old man was severely burned to over 50% of his body when raw phosphorus he was unloading from a railcar ignited due to his alleged lack of training and inadequate personal protective equipment. Plaintiff’s demand prior to trial was $25 million and the case settled on the fifteenth day of trial for $4.4 million after Brett examined a co-worker who had observed the personal protective equipment plaintiff should have been wearing.
Motor Vehicle Accident, permanent brain and bodily injured and wrongful death (Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 2008) – Brett was successful in obtaining a dismissal in favor of owners of a hoagie shop that sold malt liquors where a worker was fired for arriving at work drunk and was instructed to leave the premises. While driving home his car struck two pedestrian young girls killing one and leaving the other permanently in a wheel chair. Plaintiff obtained a default judgment in the amount of $13.5 million against the uninsured driver (imprisoned for vehicular homicide) for which the owners could have been responsible to pay had they been found liable. Brett also argued in front of the Pennsylvania Superior Court in opposition to the plaintiff’s appeal where the dismissal was affirmed.
Industrial Accident, wrongful death (Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 2007) – Brett sat second chair at trial where a 32-year-old plaintiff fell into a paper mill pulper (150-degree water) and died from second and third degree burns several hours after he was pulled out. Plaintiff demanded $70 million before trial and after a 2½-week trial, plaintiff accepted a $6 million settlement while the jury was in the middle of deliberations and had been instructed by the court to consider punitive damages.
Medical Malpractice, delay in diagnosis of bladder cancer in a child (Delaware County, Media, Pennsylvania, 2006) – Brett sat first chair at trial defending a pediatrician alleged to be responsible for a five month delay in diagnosis of rhabdomyosarcoma of the bladder of a five-year-old girl. She was complaining of difficulty urinating when her mother contacted the doctor’s office stating “I think my daughter has cancer.” The pediatrician instructed the mother to bring her daughter to the office for an exam and urine culture and urinalysis. Despite his instruction to bring the girl in for an exam, the pediatrician did not see or hear from the mother again although she had contacted the practice group. Treatment involved bladder removal and radiation which will likely prevent her from bearing children. The defense proved that her treatment options did not change due to any delay. After five days of trial, the pediatrician was dismissed when another physician in the practice group settled.
Pharmacist liability, child born with birth defects from medication (Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 2006) – Brett sat second chair at trial where an infant who suffered brain damage and severe birth defects and malformations allegedly due to his mother’s ingestion of medication contraindicated during her pregnancy. The trial proceeded solely against the pharmacist for an alleged failure to identify the contraindication and counsel the mother. After a 2½-week trial wherein the plaintiff’s economist alleged $92 million in past, present and future damages, a Philadelphia jury returned a defense verdict. This case was received six weeks before trial.
Industrial accident, amputation of arm and leg (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 2004) – Brett sat second chair at the trial of a 46-year-old man who lost his left arm and right leg when his arm was crushed between two industrial rollers in a paper mill. The plaintiff’s demand was $15 million and after three weeks of trial the jury returned a defense verdict.
- New Jersey
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
West Chester University, B.A., Philosophy, 1993
Rutgers University School of Law, J.D., 1999
American Bar Association
Pennsylvania Bar Association
Member, Defense Research Institute (DRI)
Judge Pro Tem, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Dispute Resolution Center
Support Center for Child Advocates