Mr. Santarelli, the Firm’s President, has over 28 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 with the Firm continuously since entering private practice of law.
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, 2017 and 2018. 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, in numerous state and federal courts throughout the country. 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 including cutting edge litigations in the healthcare field and “privacy” litigations, Federal and State law “whistleblower” cases, employment litigations, such as Title VII claims, Fair Labor Standards Act and wage and hour claims; constitutional claims for plaintiffs and defendants; complex commercial and business litigations in numerous industries; director and officer claims; insurance coverage and insolvency litigations; health care litigation for payors and providers; injunctions enforcing restrictive covenants and non-compete obligations; business torts and interference claims; white collar criminal defense; civil and criminal racketeering cases for plaintiffs and defendants; and litigations involving government agencies for and against government parties.
Mr. Santarelli has argued many cases before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania as well as the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third Circuit and other federal Circuits. Among the cases he has successfully argued, Mr. Santarelli 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) (establishing precedent for defining “work” under Federal law)
- 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).
- 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.
- The unanimous decision in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania case of Haubrich v. Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, 162 A.3d 384 (Pa. 2017) (establishing important precedent resolving the decades long ambiguity in the law, for both employers and employees, in deciding when an employee has a right to obtain his or her personnel file).
- The unanimous decision in the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Apollo v. Pennsylvania Convention Center, obtaining an extraordinary Writ of Mandamus reversing the federal District Court, and securing disqualification of the District Court, in a case in which he represented an employee claiming violation of the employee’s constitutional rights.
- Winning dismissal of claims of alleging numerous constitutional claims by a property developer against Philadelphia’s Land Bank, Feibush v. City of Philadelphia, et al.
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.
Mr. Santarelli has been on the trial team for a nationwide health care company securing multi-million verdicts and settlements against health care providers on claims of health care fraud and abuse.
Mr. Santarelli has represented “whistleblowers” securing multi-million recoveries against pharmaceutical companies under federal and state false claims act statutes.
In a 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. Mr. Santarelli 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, as well as 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. Mr. Santarelli has also presented a Continuing Legal Education seminar for the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court on the law and procedure for injunctive relief.
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 also 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.
Mr. Santarelli has remained active in numerous community and charitable organizations in his hometown in Philadelphia.