- Practice Areas
Firm President, Sheryl L. Axelrod, standing before a number of the attorneys she mentors — from left to right: Neelima Vanguri, Dan Oberdick, Melissa Pang, Damian Sammons, and Vanessa Snyder.
Firm President Sheryl Axelrod defends companies in their employment matters including in AIR-21 actions.
The Axelrod Firm understands that litigating a case and taking it to trial may not serve anyone’s best interests. Our clients, and attorneys and parties outside of our law firm, turn to us to help them resolve their matters as our partners are experienced in arbitration, private and court supervised mediation, as well as early case evaluation.
Firm President Sheryl Axelrod has been appointed a Judge Pro Tempore / Settlement Master by judges in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Commerce Court. There are less than 130 lawyers in Pennsylvania who have made this distinguished list.
The following is a recommendation from Scott Rothman, an attorney who appeared before Ms. Axelrod in her role as a Judge Pro Tempore / Settlement Master:
“Sheryl served as mediator in a complex real estate litigation case, involving ten parties and six law firms. The parties and their respective counsel viewed a resolution as unlikely heading into a mediation session. Sheryl came prepared with a firm grasp of complicated facts and a good understanding of some atypical issues of law. By the end of the day, what seemed impossible became a reality, a settlement was accomplished, and an expensive trial proceeding was averted. I would recommend Sheryl for mediation services for both her knowledge of substantive law and expertise with dispute resolution.”
Ms. Axelrod serves as a Settlement Master both by Court appointment and at the request of private parties, helping parties resolve cases involving business torts, general business litigation, construction litigation, employment litigation & non-compete agreements, multi-party litigation, personal injury litigation, and real estate & title litigation matters. She is also available to serve as a receiver.
Ms. Axelrod assisted the parties to resolve the following representative cases, serving as both the Receiver and Settlement Master in the last one:
A. Lisa Savitt
Firm Partner Lisa Savitt completed the rigorous training required to join the roster of AAA Arbitration Panelists for commercial arbitrations. This required demonstrating experience in the space and undergoing AAA mandated training.
Ms. Savitt is available to resolve general and bodily injury claims as well as commercial litigation disputes.
We offer appellate and major brief writing services. Firm President Sheryl Axelrod has been so well recognized in the field that the Superior Court (Pennsylvania’s state appellate court) requested that she explain Pennsylvania Appellate Practice to the public. You can watch video footage from the television program in which she did so. Two of her briefs in federal court cases have been published, including a brief filed in the Supreme Court of the United States.
Also, with former Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Justice Sandra Schultz Newman and Judge Genece E. Brinkley, Ms. Axelrod presented the Continuing Legal Education course “Successfully Navigating the Appeals Process.”
The Axelrod Firm Partners Sheryl Axelrod and Lisa Savitt are experienced aviation litigation attorneys in AIR-21 cases, product liability, tort, general liability, commercial counseling, litigation, and arbitration matters.
I. Lisa Savitt
Ms. Savitt started her legal career at the Regional Counsel’s Office of the Federal Aviation Administration and she worked for three years in London for a British aerospace specialty law firm supervising claims and litigation around the world.
She is a founder and former President of the International Aviation Womens Association. She has handled a breadth of aviation cases including the following representative matters.
A. Product, Tort, and General Liability Litigation, and Counseling
1. Represented a multinational component part manufacturer in two wrongful death and personal injury federal court actions arising out of accidents involving military helicopters. Issues included a focus on the complex electrical systems of helicopters and a government contractor defense. Cases involved extensive discovery including that directed to the U.S. military. One case settled on favorable terms. In the other, obtained summary judgment for the client.
2. Defended French bearing manufacturer in wrongful death action in state court in Cook County, Illinois arising out of a helicopter crash. Defended client against claims for strict products liability, negligence and breach of warranty. Retained multiple experts for the client including a metallurgist, accident reconstructionist, pilot, economist, a biomechanics forensic expert, and a maintenance expert. As a result of the defense mounted on client’s behalf, obtained a favorable settlement prior to trial.
3. Represented airport ground handling company in multiple wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits around the U.S. involving loaders and other vehicles.
4. Assisted in representation of manufacturer of autopilot arising out of crash of airplane in Newark, New Jersey resulting in four deaths, personal injuries and property damage. Participated in a six-week trial against the manufacturer and United States government by the estates of the pilot and passengers and the owner of business and property destroyed in crash. Obtained a complete defense verdict for our client.
5. Represented component manufacturer acting as national coordinating counsel in multiple lawsuits around the U.S. arising out accident of Air France Flight 447. The case, which resulted in multi-district litigation, was dismissed after a successful motion to dismiss on the basis of forum non conveniens.
6. Counseled French airplane engine manufacturer and worked with Mexican counsel regarding possible claim by Mexican distributor of engines and victims of airplane crash in Mexico.
7. Defended UK bearing manufacturer in complex product liability action in federal court in Texas arising out of helicopter crash in Gulf of Mexico that resulted in three deaths. After litigation that included depositions in the UK and France, represented manufacturer in mediation resulting in the manufacturer paying only a nominal settlement.
8. Represented an airport authority and its insurers in wrongful death and personal injury claims in United States and overseas arising out of collapse of terminal overseas. Claims included allegations of negligence related to construction and architectural defects. Obtained a favorable settlement for the client.
B. Commercial counseling, litigation, and arbitration
1. Acting for international aerospace company in dispute with maintenance, repair and overhaul company including analysis of Maintenance Services Agreement, investigation into damage to B737 engine and possible arbitration.
2. Acted as expert in international arbitration regarding breach of contract claim seeking to invalidate exculpatory clauses in international sales contract for major international aircraft company arising out of allegations of product defect.
3. Counseled major international aircraft component manufacturer in breach of contract claims and mitigation of damages in matter where alleged damages were $13 million.
4. Successfully represented major international insurance company in arbitration to resolve coverage dispute.
5. Successfully represented companies, including major health care provider, in advice and litigation for, inter alia, breach of contract and breach of warranty claims arising out of licensing agreements with software vendors; one case resulted in often cited opinion on breach of warranty issues – see Caudill Seed & Warehouse Co. v. Prophet 21, Inc., 123 F.Supp.2d 826 (E.D. Pa. 2000).
6. Represented a foreign aerospace company in contract and negligence issues arising out of JPATS prototype aircraft during test flight in Germany.
II. Sheryl Axelrod
Ms. Axelrod also has aviation experience including in AIR-21 litigation (also listed as its own practice area), with a passenger claim, and with appellate and major brief writing.
Firm President Sheryl Axelrod defends companies in their employment matters including in AIR-21 actions.
B. Appeals & Major Brief Writing and Passenger Claim
Ms. Axelrod successfully defended an airline company in the Third Circuit and the United States Supreme Court, from a claim by a passenger aboard an international flight. The passenger alleged that his refusal to leave a seat to which he was not assigned, and his subsequent arrest and removal from the flight by airport police: (1) caused him to suffer an “accident which caused damage” within the meaning of Article 17 of the Warsaw Convention; and (2) the limitation of liability provision in Article 25 of the Warsaw Convention. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted summary judgment in favor of the airline on the passenger’s claims. The Third Circuit affirmed. The brief Ms. Axelrod wrote in the Supreme Court in opposition to the Plaintiff’s Petition for a Writ of Certiorari, is one of Ms. Axelrod’s published briefs. It was published in the Aviation Litigation Reporter.
We minimize companies’ exposure in their general, premises liability, motor vehicle, and product liability matters, and offer negotiation and counseling aimed at resolving disputes before lawsuits occur. Over the past 5 years, we have multiplied the amount of premises and motor vehicle liability cases we handle. Once a company sees how we approach such cases, they want us to handle more of them.
Likewise, our experience in product liability matters is so strong that one of our briefs in the field was published, in the Aviation Litigation Reporter.
The Axelrod Firm’s clients are international and national companies, and we are the go-to small law firm for those engaged in high stakes commercial disputes. The Axelrod Firm President Sheryl Axelrod came from Blank Rome where she handled large, sophisticated commercial cases. She has gone up against major law firms and companies with great resources. In fact, you can read about Sheryl Axelrod’s David versus Goliath commercial defense victory that was published in “Pennsylvania Jury Verdict Review & Analysis,” the publication which catalogs the most significant verdicts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Ms. Axelrod represented the defendant in the case, Carmelo Gaudite, a single individual, against a large plaintiff nursing company, Visiting Nurse Group, Inc. Despite the strong case waged by her adversary, Ms. Axelrod won a defense verdict for her client on all counts.
Two other of Ms. Axelrod‘s commercial cases have each been written up in Law360, one in a matter involving her side’s successful prosecution, before the trial court, of a $1.25 million breach of contract action (which her client’s adversary has appealed), and another in which she is defending an insurance company against a multi-million dollar antitrust claim.
In recognition of her skills in handling commercial litigation matters, including at trial and at the negotiating table, Ms. Axelrod has been appointed a Judge Pro Tempore by the three judges of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Commerce Court. In this role, she serves as a settlement master in commercial litigation matters. There are less than 130 lawyers in Pennsylvania who have made this distinguished list.
We provide strategic, results-driven advice and counseling services aimed at minimizing companies’ exposure to employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and Family Medical Leave Act claims. We evaluate each case from the beginning, keeping an eye out for the possibility of a quick and financially beneficial resolution. Where such a possibility exists, we discuss appropriate settlement authority — which can consist of non-monetary consideration — and begin negotiations immediately.
We work with employers collaboratively, engaging with their Human Resources departments as a team. In recognition of our skills, and the way we handle cases, the Pennsylvania Human Resources Director of a global employer transitioned all of the employment cases under her purview to us.
Where an early resolution is not feasible, we defend employers before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, and in court. We have an outstanding track record of shutting down virtually all employment claims at the administrative agency level.
We also represent executives in trade secret litigation, and we represent employers in related employment areas including in responding to subpoenas, and in counseling and claims concerning their social media policies. We discuss a number of recent employment decisions impacting the field on our Newsletter page.
Firm President Sheryl Axelrod was recognized by her fellow lawyers, men and women alike, as one of the Top 50 Women Super Lawyers in Pennsylvania for the past two years in a row. She was also named a Top Rated Lawyer in Labor & Employment by American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell™. At the request of Sterling Education Services, Ms. Axelrod presented a CLE to Human Resources managers and employment lawyers on “Employment Discrimination Law Issues.” The presentation included information about Employment Law in the virtual world: the latest court decisions governing employees’ use of social media, wireless devices, email and webmail accounts.
Disputes are increasingly global. The Axelrod Firm has experience representing U.S. and international companies who face cross-border issues, or are embroiled in disputes in courts in the U.S. Our experience includes application of choice of law of various countries, assertion of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, challenges to personal jurisdiction, forum non conveniens, Hague Convention on the Service of Process Abroad, Hague Convention on Taking Evidence Abroad and Hague Convention of the Enforcement of Judgments. Our country experience includes France, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Ethiopia, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Peru, Poland, Taiwan and the Turks and Caicos. We also recognize the need for cultural understanding, and well as political realities. Axelrod Firm Partner Lisa Savitt, the former Chair of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association, has worked in the United Kingdom and is qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales and Axelrod Firm President Sheryl Axelrod is fluent in Spanish.