Frederick P. Santarelli

Shareholder & President

Frederick P. Santarelli is a senior trial and appellate attorney with significant experience litigating in federal and state courts and administrative agencies throughout the country, with an emphasis on complex commercial disputes, class actions, corporate director/officer claims, insurance, employment, healthcare, and multi-district litigation matters. He has served as court-appointed lead class action plaintiffs’ counsel, class action defense counsel, and lead trial counsel in litigating, to a successful conclusion, many cases valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. Since 2015, he has served as President of the firm.

Frederick P. Santarelli

Legal Experience That Stands Out

Fred’s practice includes extensive experience litigating cases involving whistleblowers, Title VII claims, Fair Labor Standards Act and wage and hour claims, constitutional claims for plaintiffs and defendants, insurance insolvency and coverage cases, healthcare cases for payors and providers, injunctions enforcing restrictive covenants and non-compete obligations, business torts and interference claims, white-collar criminal defense matters, and civil and criminal racketeering cases. In addition, Fred 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.

He frequently argues before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and other federal courts, including winning arguments in the class action De Asencio, et al. v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 500 F.3d 361 (3d Cir. 2007), establishing precedent under the FLSA for workers’ claims under the Act; Ario v. Ingram Micro et al., 965 A.2d 1194 (PA. Supreme Ct., 2009), establishing important precedent for insurance policyholders and companies; and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital v. Haubrich, 162 A.3d 384 (2017), establishing important precedent resolving the decades-long ambiguity in the law for both employees and employers regarding personnel files.

In 2016, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court appointed Fred as Vice Chairman of the Court’s Civil Procedural Rules Committee, which is comprised of 15 lawyers and judges who assist the Supreme Court in preparation, revision, publication, and administration of the Rules of Civil Procedure governing Pennsylvania Courts. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court initially appointed Fred to the committee in 2011, and reappointed him for a second three-year term in 2014.

A legal thought leader, Fred has served on the faculty of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, speaking on complex issues that arise in class action litigation under federal and state wage and hour laws, and has co-authored materials for continuing legal education seminars, including, “Tough Issues in Wage & Hour Law.” He also presented a continuing legal education seminar for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on the law and procedure for injunctive relief.

Fred joined the firm in 1990 following a two-year judicial clerkship with the Hon. James C. Crumlish, Jr., President Judge of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. He became a shareholder in 1996.

While earning his J.D. from Widener University Delaware Law School, Fred worked full-time and served as an associate editor of the law review. He 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)).

A 1980 graduate of Saint Joseph’s Preparatory High School in Philadelphia, Fred has remained a long-time resident of South Philadelphia and is active in numerous community and charitable organizations including the South Philadelphia Businesspersons’ Association.

Representative Matters

  • The nationally significant Fair Labor Standards Act class action, De Asencio, et al. v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 500 F.3d 361 (3d Cir. 2007),  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 Fred represented an employee claiming violation of her constitutional rights.
  • Winning dismissal of numerous constitutional claims alleged by a property developer against Philadelphia’s Land Bank, Feibush v. City of Philadelphia, et al.

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  • Widener University Delaware Law School, J.D., 1988, cum laude
    • Associate Editor for the Law Review – Delaware Journal of Corporate Law
    • Moot Court Honor Society
    • Richard S. Rodney American Inn of Court
  • Juniata College, B.S., 1984
    • Most Valuable Lineman and Co-MVP of Varsity Football Team
Bar Admissions
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
  • Supreme Court of New Jersey
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania
  • Western District of Pennsylvania
Honors and Awards
  • Top 100 Pennsylvania Super Lawyer, 2011 – 2021
  • Top 100 Philadelphia Super Lawyer, 2011 – 2021
  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyer, 2004 – 2021
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating
  • Fellow of Litigation Counsel of America (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.)