Mr. Santarelli, the Firm’s President, has over 26 years’ experience in commercial litigation (trial and appellate) in both state and federal courts, including numerous civil jury and bench trials, as well as trying criminal jury trials to verdict. Fred joined Elliott Greenleaf in 1990 following a judicial clerkship in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, becoming a shareholder in 1996. He is presently a member of the firm’s board of directors.
Fred has been selected as one of Pennsylvania’s “SuperLawyers” (as recognized in Philadelphia Magazine) in every year in which the designation has been awarded since 2004, based on a statewide poll of over 50,000 Judges and lawyers selecting the top 5% of all Pennsylvania lawyers. Mr. Santarelli has been selected as “Top 100” in Pennsylvania, as well as “Top 100” in Philadelphia, in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. He has also achieved a peer review rating of AV® from a national peer review rating system, the highest such rating available to an individual lawyer, reflecting professional excellence and highest levels of professional legal skills, ethics and integrity.
Based on his experience and expertise in civil litigation, in 2011 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court appointed Mr. Santarelli to the Supreme Court’s Civil Procedural Rules Committee, comprised of 15 lawyers and Judges from across Pennsylvania who assists the Supreme Court in the preparation, revision, publication and administration of the Rules of Civil Procedure governing Pennsylvania Courts. The Supreme Court reappointed Fred for a second term in 2014. In 2016, Fred was appointed Vice Chairman of the Committee.
Mr. Santarelli is also a Fellow of Litigation Counsel of America, an invitation-only nationwide trial lawyer honorary society whose Membership is limited to 3,500 Fellows, representing less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers.
Fred has extensive experience in Pennsylvania’s trial and appellate courts in both the state and federal system, and has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in multiple and diverse areas of the law. This includes being selected as court-appointed lead class counsel on the plaintiff side in class actions, and also defending class actions; representing both individual plaintiffs and company defendants in employment litigations, such as Title VII claims, Fair Labor Standards Act and wage and hour claims; constitutional claims; complex commercial and business litigations in numerous industries; director and officer claims; insurance coverage and insolvency litigations; health care litigation; injunctions enforcing restrictive covenants and non-compete obligations; business torts and interference claims; white collar criminal defense; civil and criminal racketeering cases; and litigations involving government agencies.
Mr. Santarelli has argued before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He presented the winning oral arguments in the nationally-significant Fair Labor Standards Act class action, De Asencio, et al. v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 500 F.3d 361 (3d Cir. 2007), cert. denied, 128 S. Ct. 2902 (2008); as well as in the precedent-setting case of Ario v. Ingram Micro et al., 965 A.2d 1194 (Pa. 2009), establishing important precedent for insurance policyholders, insurance companies and insurance company receiverships. Mr. Santarelli was also counsel in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court case of Lesko v. Frankford Hospital, 11 A.3d 917 (2011), winning reversal of the Superior Court and trial court decisions, in order to enforce proper contract interpretation principles to reverse a $1.6 million judgment against the Firm’s client.
Among Fred’s jury trials in state court, after four weeks of trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, the firm’s client, a regional health care system, won nonsuit in a nursing home wrongful death case alleging corporate negligence and vicarious liability. Mr. Santarelli previously tried the case to a jury for three weeks, until the court granted the defense motion for mistrial during plaintiff’s case, which precipitated the retrial resulting in nonsuit and for the firm’s client. In another recent case, in federal court, his client won dismissal of a federal civil rights suit alleging his clients conspired with state government agents alleged to have caused tens of millions of dollars in commercial damages to plaintiffs; and, secured affirmance in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, followed by an award requiring the plaintiffs to pay Mr. Santarelli’s clients’ attorneys’ fees.
As lead class counsel for a class of workers in federal court, Mr. Santarelli secured a multi-million dollar award for an employer’s violations of federal labor laws. In another recent federal civil rights action, in representing a worker improperly fired by a governmental body, Mr. Santarelli successfully argued for a writ of mandamus in the Third Circuit for disqualification of the District Judge who was originally assigned to the case, as well as vacating adverse orders entered by the District Court.
In addition to his experience in trial and appellate courts, Mr. Santarelli has tried cases before governmental and administrative agencies, and commercial arbitration matters under the American Arbitration Association rules and the American Health Lawyers Association rules, including a defense verdict, after 22 days of trial, on contract and related commercial claims seeking over $10,000,000 in alleged damages.
Mr. Santarelli has served as a speaker on the faculty of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute for Continuing Legal Education, speaking on the complex issues that arise in class action litigation under federal and state wage and hour laws (“Tough Issues in Wage & Hour Law “, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, March 2003), and also co-authoring other materials for Continuing Legal Education Seminars.
Fred is a 1988 cum laude graduate of Widener University School of Law (Wilmington, Delaware). While working full-time throughout law school, Mr. Santarelli served as an editor of the law review, and published an article that has been cited in several judicial opinions (Santarelli, Preliminary Injunctions In Delaware: The Need for A Clearer Standard, 13 Del.J.Corp.L. 107 (1988)).
Mr. Santarelli graduated 1984 from Juniata College, majoring in Business Administration. He was the most valuable lineman and co-MVP of the varsity football team. A graduate of Saint Joseph’s Preparatory High School in Philadelphia, in 1980, he has remained a long-term resident of South Philadelphia.