Although the firm's practice is general, but litigation oriented, the areas of practice outlined below describe how we spend much of our time and effort.
Throughout the years, our lawyers have handled thousands of personal injury and property damage lawsuits arising from a multitude of activities. The firm has handled auto, products liability, premises liability, municipal liability and all kinds of general casualty cases from both sides—the claimants’ and the insurance company’s. In addition, the firm has for years represented clients in a wide variety of professional liability suits involving, among others, physicians, hospitals and nursing homes, lawyers, accountants, and real estate professionals. In the business and commercial areas, the lawyers at Masterson Braunfeld regularly are involved in contract, lease, warranty and general business litigation, including actions for tortious interference with contractual relations, wrongful use of civil proceedings and wrongful termination and wage collection.
INSURANCE POLICY ISSUES
We regularly counsel businesses, professionals, individuals and insurance companies in matters concerning insurance coverage and limitations, policy limits issues and claims of all kinds related to general liability, fire and casualty and professional liability policies. We are often called upon to deal with disclaimers of coverage, policy interpretation, reservation of rights letters, and the rights and priorities of primary and excess carriers. We believe our experience on both sides of these disputes serves all of our clients well and enhances credibility within litigation.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
We have placed all of the information about our Alternative Dispute Resolution services in a separate menu, from which you can access, review and download materials of your choice. Just click on the ADR tab on the top menu.
PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE SEPARATION/PARTNERSHIP AND SHAREHOLDER DISSOLUTION
The so-called professional or business “divorce” is an apt metaphor. When partnership or shareholder disputes lead to dissolution, buyouts or litigation, the emotional toll on the parties is often worse than the financial or inter-personal matters that caused the need to sever relationships. We feel that these situations require us to fulfill our obligation to the client as counselors first and litigators second. We have guided numerous lawyers, physicians and businessmen through the maze of conflicting emotions, attitudes and legal possibilities, and have over many years successfully settled, arbitrated, mediated or tried these types of disputes.
RESTRICTIVE COVENANT AND EMPLOYMENT RESTRICTION/UNFAIR COMPETITION
It has become increasingly common for employers to require their employees to enter into non-competition and/or non-disclosure agreements that can substantially affect an employee’s ability to work elsewhere upon termination of the original employment. We regularly review these types of agreements with both employers and employees, and help them assess the reasonableness and/or enforceability of the post employment restriction. We have drafted and revised these agreements so as to provide a clear understanding of what will occur upon the employee’s termination, whether from at will status or from an employment contract, and for cause, or for no reason. Most often, when these cases require litigation, it is in a court of Equity, and temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions are the relief most often sought. This is a demanding type of litigation, often requiring emergency applications to the courts, and we have successfully dealt with these types of cases on behalf of employees and large and small businesses alike.
COUNSELING TO PROFESSIONALS
Given our extensive background in representing professionals in malpractice and other liability matters, individually and through insurance carriers, we are particularly qualified to counsel doctors, lawyers and others with regard to management of their liability risks, as well as with respect to professional liability insurance issues and disputes. We are often retained as personal counsel in litigation where the client is being defended by an insurance company-appointed lawyer, especially when rights are reserved or coverage has been limited or denied. We often work along side of appointed defense counsel to work through settlement issues, particularly when judgments in excess of insurance policy limits are possible. We counsel and have represented doctors, lawyers, appraisers and real estate agents in disciplinary matters.
Andrew L. Braunfeld has been retained by both plaintiffs and defendants to review and consult as an expert witness in both legal liability and insurance coverage and bad faith cases. He has also rendered opinions in fee disputes between lawyers and their clients.
As noted in his biographical materials, Andrew Braunfeld serves as a Discovery Master for the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas. In recent years he has served as a private “special master” at the request of litigants, and sometimes directly by Court Appointment. In complex cases—often document intensive—the cost of this service is usually less than the cost of the extensive motion practice which the cases would otherwise generate. Often the discovery disputes are resolved by agreement or by less contentious and less formal argument.
An interesting development in Andy Braunfeld’s practice has been the number of requests from other lawyers for consultation on their cases. Sometimes these requests involve help with trial strategy or preparation, the taking of critical depositions, or whether or not to settle or remove the case to ADR. Often counsel request assistance with issues surrounding complicated releases, or negotiation with stubborn insurance carriers, excess insurers or the MCARE fund. While unusual in years past, this type of consulting and assistance to counsel is probably the result of more and more lawyers practicing by themselves or in smaller practices without the availability of mentoring from experienced lawyers.