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Gerald E. Burns

Gerald E. Burns


Philadelphia, PA

Gerald E. Burns represents clients in high-stakes and complex commercial litigation. He has significant courtroom experience and has tried cases to juries, judges and arbitrators, and argued appeals, in venues around the country.

Jerry represents national and multinational clients in a broad spectrum of industries, with a particular emphasis on clients in the chemical and healthcare fields. His three decades of trial and litigation experience has encompassed such diverse areas as contract disputes, business torts, corporate governance, fiduciary liability, intellectual property, non-compete claims and product liability.

Most recently, representing a multinational medical device manufacturer, Jerry argued and won a precedent-setting decision in the Indiana Supreme Court reversing a preliminary injunction that had been entered in a wide-ranging non-compete and unfair competition case. Heraeus Medical, LLC v. Zimmer, Inc., 135 N.E.3d 150 (In. 2019).

Jerry's representative experience includes the following matters:

  • Successfully defended a publicly traded healthcare company against an attempt to enjoin a $60 million sale of several hospital facilities.
  • Obtained dismissal of a $225 million claim for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of trust relating to deferred payments to a state employees benefit trust fund.
  • Represented the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement Board in litigation seeking to void the pension of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky.
  • As part of a trial team, obtained a complete victory for a chemical polymer manufacturer in a five-week federal jury trial stemming from a $405 million product failure and warranty lawsuit brought by two manufacturers of luxury sport-fishing yachts.
  • Represented a multinational chemical manufacturer in international arbitration, defeating a $28 million claim in a AAA-ICDR arbitration in New York arising from cancellation of a product swap agreement
  • Defeated a $20 million chemical exposure claim against chemical manufacturer in Texas federal court, obtaining a widely cited ruling excluding plaintiff’s causation experts. Johnson v. Arkema, Inc., 685 F.3d 452 (5th Cir. 2012).
  • Won a multi-million dollar award at trial in Pennsylvania state court in an action on behalf of a national telecommunications company to pierce the corporate veil and hold an individual defendant liable for the debts of his companies. 
  • Obtained a complete defense verdict for a regional bank in a jury trial in Pennsylvania state court, in a case alleging breach of fiduciary duty and malicious prosecution arising out of the administration of a probate estate.
  • Represented a supermarket chain in trial in federal court in Bridgeport, Conn., defeating plaintiff’s claims and securing significant verdict, including punitive damages, on client’s counterclaim.
  • Defended a supermarket chain in federal court in Boston in a trial relating to development of a shopping center, and obtained verdict dismissing the plaintiff's claim and awarding the client the full amount of its counterclaim.
  • Obtained substantial damages award on behalf of a stevedoring company in a 14-day arbitration hearing against international and local longshoremen's unions arising from unlawful picketing.
  • Obtained a victory for the minority directors of the Watergate East complex in a high-profile corporate governance dispute in Delaware's Court of Chancery.
  • Defended a national telecommunications carrier against a $250 million contract and tort claim. After several years of litigation in two courts, the case was resolved with a multimillion dollar judgment in the client’s favor on its counterclaim.
  • Defended operators of several trucking schools against $20 million claim for fraudulent transfer in bankruptcy court litigation arising out of a Ponzi scheme perpetrated by a student loan company.
  • Represented a national bank in a series of cases in Indiana federal court arising from alleged $25 million fraud.
  • Defended national health insurance company against tens of millions of dollars in claims in a series of reimbursement disputes brought by Connecticut-based hospitals.
  • Obtained a multimillion-dollar judgment on behalf of state employees' pension fund in a complex real estate partnership dispute.
  • Successfully represented leading industrial gas company in contract actions relating to various subjects, including force majeure and indemnification actions.
  • Successfully represented real estate investment firm in commercial arbitration relating to cancellation of eight-figure purchase option.
  • Defended the founder of a start-up company in a case in Delaware Chancery Court alleging claims for fraud and interference with conduct.
  • Obtained dismissal of New York federal court action alleging theft of customer base and interference with contract against a national telecommunications carrier.
  • Obtained dismissal of a $4 million contract and tort claim against a national telecommunications carrier in Georgia state court.
  • Obtained a substantial seven-figure settlement for a Philadelphia-area hotel, in a case arising from storm water flooding caused by a construction project on adjacent land.
  • In an eminent domain case, won a complete defense verdict on behalf of a national telecommunications carrier after a hearing before a board of view. In a separate eminent domain case, obtained an award of $1 million in favor of the operator of a bus terminal after a trial to a board of view.

Jerry has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® list in the category of Commercial Litigation consecutively since 2015. Since 2007, he has been consistently selected to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list, and to the Corporate Counsel Super Lawyers® list for a number of years. He is also a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum®, an organization of trial attorneys whose membership is limited to lawyers who have achieved multimillion dollar verdicts or settlements.

Jerry is also active in the community. He served two terms as a hearing committee member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Board. He has also served as a member of the Leadership Council of the Wistar Institute, a leading biomedical research facility located in Philadelphia.