How Debbie Helps Clients
Deborah Little's general commercial litigation practice spans in excess of 30 years with the firm. She is licensed in both Pennsylvania and Florida and practices out of the Pittsburgh and Tampa offices.
Debbie currently focuses on trust litigation, representing a custodial bank accused of permitting a trustee to loot a trust; trustees sued by the trust beneficiary for alleged breach of fiduciary duty; beneficiaries suing trustees for alleged self-dealing and conflicts of interest; and a corporate trustee which, along with its co-trustees, is accused by the contingent residual beneficiaries of abuse of discretion in distributing all of the trust’s corpus to the primary beneficiary. She also serves as Pennsylvania panel counsel for insurance coverage work for a major group of carriers.
During the early years of her legal career, Debbie concentrated on insurance coverage actions in the environmental context. Later, she focused her practice on products liability litigation in the medical device, pharmaceutical and automotive industries. With that background, she now writes product hazard warnings for clients’ user guides, instruction and installation manuals, websites and other marketing materials and has done so for such diverse products as wine pour technology, a wine aerator, fitness equipment, coffee brewers, soda makers, electric juicers, DIY decking and railing products, deck cleaner, hospital-type patient hoists and slings, sneaker deodorizer balls and work boot protectors and laces.
Debbie was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2018, 2019 and 2020 editions in the Commercial Litigation category.
What Clients Can Expect
Debbie’s clients always feel as if they are part of a team and play an active role throughout every step of the case. She works closely with clients to develop a litigation strategy and discovery plan, as well as a budget and end goal – all of which are reevaluated with clients as the case progresses, through consistent communication.
Whatever the subject matter of the case, Debbie can quickly get her arms around it, conduct effective cross examinations at depositions or trial, handle expert witnesses and persuade courts. Debbie enjoys the variety of work that she does and the people that she works with, and clients say that it shows.
Outside the Office
When not practicing law, Debbie enjoys Penn State football with her two daughters, vacationing at the Outer Banks, walking her psychotic dog and traveling the world.
The advantage of a general commercial litigator is the breadth of experience she can bring to issue-spotting and strategizing. Familiarity with many areas of the law is the value added by an attorney who is not too subject-specialized and whose litigation skills are her forte.
- Represented a non-profit hospital claiming entitlement to charitable trust funds bequeathed to it before it became a part of a larger non-profit healthcare system.
- Provided local representation to a major bank in two cases alleging fraud in connection with the sale of mortgage-backed securities.
- Assisted an automobile manufacturer's national trial counsel to prepare for asbestos products liability trials across the country involving brakes and clutches.
- Served on a team of litigators representing automobile manufacturers in the discovery phase of more than 400 asbestos products liability actions statewide.
- Participated as a member of the litigation team that served as national counsel for a manufacturer of latex medical gloves in more than 400 complex medical device products liability actions, including a federal multi-district litigation.
The Ohio State University, J.D., 1985, founding executive director, Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution
The Pennsylvania State University, B.A., 1982
Allegheny County Bar Association, Civil Litigation and Probate & Trust Law Section
Pennsylvania Bar Association, Probate & Trust Law Section
Florida Bar Association, Out-of-State Division
Defense Research Institute
Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Pennsylvania Chapter
Dutilh United Methodist Church
The Nyadire Connection (Zimbabwe Mission)
Board of Trustees, former Mayview State Hospital, 2001-2008