honors + affiliations
Listed, Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2006–2012)
Listed, The Best Lawyers In America, Product Liability Litigation (2007–2011)
Listed, 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
Member, International Association of Defense Counsel
Sustaining Member, Product Liability Advisory Council
- New Jersey
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third and Fourth Circuits
- U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of Pennsylvania
- U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
John P. Lavelle, Jr. is a partner in Morgan Lewis's Litigation Practice and co-chair of the firm's Product Liability and Mass Torts Litigation Practice. Mr. Lavelle's practice includes product liability, complex commercial, class action, and election law litigation.
Mr. Lavelle has over 20 years of trial and appellate litigation experience, focusing on the defense of medical device and pharmaceutical product liability claims. His product liability experience includes successful defense of cases concerning pacemakers, cardiodefibrillators, drug pumps, neurostimulators, insulin pumps, stents, knee and hip replacements, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, industrial equipment, consumer products, nutritional supplements, and chemicals.
Mr. Lavelle has successfully challenged plaintiffs' liability experts at trial and in pretrial Daubert motions and has obtained dismissal of numerous cases on the basis of federal preemption and causation. He also has experience using alternative dispute resolution to resolve individual cases and groups of claims.
Mr. Lavelle currently serves as Pennsylvania State Counsel to Obama for America. He regularly advises campaigns and candidates on election law issues.
Mr. Lavelle serves on the boards of Community Legal Services, Inc., Philadelphia Legal Assistance and the Princeton Club of Philadelphia. He lectures frequently on product liability and litigation issues.
Mr. Lavelle is the author of the "Pharmaceutical" and "Food Litigation" chapters of Toxic Tort Litigation, published in 2006 by the American Bar Association. Mr. Lavelle has served as a special master appointed by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Prior to joining Morgan Lewis, Mr. Lavelle was a litigation partner at a national law firm, where he led the product liability and mass tort group.After graduating from law school, he served as a law clerk to Judge Thomas N. O'Neill, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Lavelle is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and before the U.S. Supreme Court; the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third and Fourth Circuits; the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of Pennsylvania; and the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Note: This list includes some engagements that were not completed at Morgan Lewis.
- Obtained the first Pennsylvania appellate decision recognizing that strict liability does not apply to prescription medical devices.
- Obtained the first decision in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recognizing that state law tort claims challenging the design and labeling of a PMA-approved medical device are preempted by federal law.
- Obtained dismissal of contribution claim by hospital concerning personal injury suit arising from misuse of medical device.
Pharmaceuticals and Biologics
- Served as lead defense counsel in a mass tort proceeding concerning a vaccine product.
- Represented a vaccine manufacturer in a nationwide class action involving consumer protection and fraud claims.
- Defended product liability litigation concerning a withdrawn pharmaceutical product.
Food and Consumer Products
- Defended the owners and operators of a hotel in a putative class action alleging that class members contracted illnesses from food served at the hotel.
- Defended personal injury claims concerning ephedra-containing dietary supplements.
- Represented a toy manufacturer defending personal injury litigation.
- Represented a construction products manufacturer in personal injury and property damage product liability litigation.
- Argued and obtained a ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court that loss-of-use damages cannot be awarded to the owner of a telecommunications cable for property damage to the cable, the first such state supreme court ruling in the country.
- Represented companies in litigation concerning termination of distribution agreements.
- Represented consumer financial services companies in class action litigation in state and federal court.
- Argued and obtained a ruling by the U.S. 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.
- Led statewide and regional voter protection programs for candidates and campaigns.
- Harvard Law School, 1988, J.D., Cum Laude
- Princeton University, 1985, A.B., Magna Cum Laude