John P. Lavelle, Jr., represents clients in crisis management and complex litigation, including product liability, commercial, class action, and election law matters, both at trial and on appeal. John has successfully defended clients in product liability disputes involving medical devices, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, nutritional supplements, consumer products, chemicals, and industrial equipment. John’s class action practice includes the defense of consumer products, telecommunications, insurance, and financial services companies in US federal as well as state courts.
John also counsels clients on state and federal election and campaign finance laws. He served as Pennsylvania state counsel to the Obama for America and Hillary for America campaigns. He also has led statewide and regional voter protection programs for candidates and political campaigns.
John speaks frequently on product liability and litigation issues. He serves as secretary of the boards of Community Legal Services, Inc. and Philadelphia Legal Assistance. He also serves as a Judge Pro Tempore in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Civil Trial Division. John currently is the co-chair of the Pro Bono Task Force of the Philadelphia Bar Association. He has served as a special master appointed by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and also as a member of the court’s Merit Selection Panel for Magistrate Judges.
At the beginning of his career, John served as a law clerk to Judge Thomas N. O’Neill, Jr., of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Obtained dismissal of numerous individual cases involving medical devices on the basis of federal preemption.
Obtained dismissal of a contribution claim by a hospital concerning a personal injury suit arising from misuse of a medical device.
Obtained the first Pennsylvania appellate decision recognizing that strict liability does not apply to prescription medical devices.
Successfully argued in the trial court and on appeal that a wrongful death claim for alleged off-label promotion of an opioid pharmaceutical product was preempted by federal law.
Obtained dismissal of a product liability action concerning an antipsychotic pharmaceutical product.
Served as lead defense counsel in a mass tort proceeding concerning a vaccine product.
Represented an insurer in a putative class action concerning payment of dividends to policyholders.
Obtained dismissal of a putative consumer class action concerning flat-screen televisions.
Defended an automobile finance company in a putative class action alleging violations of notice requirements for consumer credit transactions under state law.
Successfully defended a tortious interference claim, with a nonsuit granted by the court at conclusion of a jury trial.
Represented businesses and individuals challenging the Philadelphia Beverage Tax on sugar-sweetened drinks.
Led statewide and regional voter protection programs for candidates and campaigns.
Argued and obtained a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upholding the right of voters who have moved to vote in their district of registration under federal and state law.
Harvard Law School, 1988, J.D., cum laude
Princeton University, 1985, A.B., magna cum laude
Supreme Court of the United States
US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
US District Court for the District of New Jersey
Clerkship to The Honorable Thomas N. O’Neill, Jr.
Awards and Affiliations
Recommended, Dispute resolution - Product liability, mass tort and class action - pharmaceuticals and medical devices - defense, The Legal 500 US (2014–2019)
Ranked, Litigation: General Commercial, Pennsylvania, Chambers USA (2006–2019)
Ranked, Litigation: Product Liability, Nationwide, Chambers USA (2006–2016)
Recognized, Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, Philadelphia, The Best Lawyers in America (2007–2020)
Named 2014 Pennsylvania Product Liability Department of The Year by The Legal Intelligencer
Recognized, Pennsylvania Super Lawyers (Top 100 Pennsylvania and Philadelphia 2007–2010)
Member, Philadelphia Bar Association
Member, Pennsylvania Bar Association
Member, American Bar Association
Member, American Bar Foundation
Member, Defense Research Institute, Inc.
Member, American Law Institute
Sustaining Member, Product Liability Advisory Council