John M. Elliott


John M. Elliott has extensive and successful trial and appellate experience in federal and state courts throughout Pennsylvania and nationally, and in regulatory and administrative agencies, litigating complex commercial matters, and is also known for his significant public service. The Legal Intelligencer described John as a “legal titan” and one of the “region’s most powerful litigators whose courtroom styles are legendary.” The Legal also recognized John for having won the largest single-plaintiff jury verdict ($6.6 million) in the history of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

John M. Elliott

Legal Experience That Stands Out

John’s practice includes litigating significant cases involving constitutional issues affecting businesses, healthcare, civil rights, antitrust, employment, corporate issues, regulatory issues, internal investigations, insurance, professional liability, defamation, mass torts, and class actions.

A native of Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region, John has dedicated himself to public service. He was recently a lead presenter at the Pro Bono Institute’s Washington, D.C., conference, urging expanded legal services for the elderly, returning veterans, and the indigent.

His commitment to public service includes serving as Chairman of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, supervising the ethics of Pennsylvania lawyers. He was appointed by the United States Secretary of State to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Conferences on the Human Dimension in Paris and on Democratic Institutions in Oslo. He also served as a member of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board. He was a Presidential appointee to the White House Coal Advisory Commission. He has served on several boards and committees of the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar Associations, and has served as a faculty member and lecturer for the American Law Institute, the American, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar Associations, the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. In addition, he is the author of several publications for the American, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar Associations, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, and various professional and academic journals.

John was awarded an LL.D. by St. Vincent College in 1985. In 1995, Cardinal Cahal B. Daly of Ireland dedicated the Salamanca Archives at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Ireland, in his honor, and in 2001 Cardinal Desmond Connell conferred upon him the Gold Medal of St. Patrick.

Representative Matters

  • Advanta Corp. v. Milton Riseman, _ S.Ct. _ (Mem), 2003 WL 397546, 71 USLW 3429 (U.S., Feb. 24, 2003) (No. 02-882) (Petition for Writ of Certiorari Denied); Riseman v. Advanta Corp., 39 Fed. Appx. 761, 2002 WL 1480773 (3rd Cir. (Pa.)) (3d Cir. (Pa.), Jul. 8, 2002) (No. 01-3707, 01-3844) (verdict affirmed, but reduced in part); Riseman v. Advanta Corp., 2001 WL 1175126 (E.D. Pa., Sept. 12, 2001) (No. 98-CV-6671) (verdict affirmed). Lead trial counsel; largest single-plaintiff employment discrimination jury verdict in history of Eastern District of Pennsylvania. $3.9 million that was statutorily enhanced to $5.9 million, plus attorneys’ fees under Pennsylvania and federal statutes.
  • Wright v. County of Montgomery (E.D. Pa. C.A. 96-CV-4597), 2003 WL 177093 (E.D. Pa. 2003). Lead trial counsel, won total defense verdict defending county against multimillion-dollar federal civil rights §§1981, 1983, 1984, and 1985 suit by the county’s Housing Director, who was discharged after a HUD audit documented improprieties, mismanagement, and misrepresentations to U.S. grand jury, HUD auditors, and county officials.
  • Second and Ashbourne Associates, et al. v. Cheltenham Township, (E.D. Pa. C.A. 88-6400) 1990 WL 165894. U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania; lead trial counsel for township and its individual commissioners, won complete defense jury verdict in §1983 alleged discrimination case.
  • Realen Valley Forge Greenes Associates v. Thomas J. Timoney, as Receiver for the Hankin Family Partnership and The Hankin Family Partnership, No. 05-09127, Court of Common Pleas, Montgomery County; lead counsel in declaratory judgment action concerning payment of additional purchase price of $50-$100,000 million for 140-acre parcel adjacent to King of Prussia Mall.
  • Pennsylvania Coal Mining Association et. al. v. Insurance Department of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania & William J. Sheppard, Insurance Commissioner, 471 Pa. 437, 370 A.2d 685; Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (Decided 2/28/1977); reversed Commonwealth Court Order and set aside hundreds of millions of dollars until approved by Insurance Commissioner after proper notice, due process, and opportunity to be heard.

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  • Georgetown University Law Center, LL.B., 1966
    • Highest honors in Constitutional Law, Conflicts of Law, and Legal Ethics
  • St. Vincent College, A.B., 1963
    • Highest Departmental Honors in Economics
    • Four-year varsity baseball letterman and captain of the 1963 West Penn Conference championship baseball team
    • Member of St. Vincent’s Athletic Hall of Fame
Bar Admissions
  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
Honors and Awards
  • The Legal Intelligencer, Lifetime Achievement Award, 2015
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Philadelphia Magazine
  • Counselor Magazine
  • Top 100 Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Super Lawyer
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating