Andrew A. Chirls

Andrew Chirls has tried a broad variety of business and tort cases.  A graduate of the University of California (Boalt Hall) School of Law, he served as a clerk for the U.S. District Court in New Jersey for a year and then spent 25 years litigating at Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen, where he was a partner from 1989 to 2009.  He was Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 2005.

Class actions and mass torts:  Mr. Chirls is known for his practice in class actions and multi-district litigation, both as an advocate and a neutral.  He was appointed in 2013 by the United States District Court in Philadelphia to oversee and resolve discovery disputes in the Zoloft Birth Defects national multi-district litigation.  He serves by appointment of the Court as Common Benefit Fund Administrator in the Avandia multi-district litigation. Mr. Chirls has been class counsel in a number of securities cases, and represented the AHP Settlement Trust, which administered a $4.3 billion class settlement from the marketing of the diet drug Fen Phen.

Business litigation:  Mr. Chirls has also tried contract cases arising from mergers, acquisitions and dissolutions. He is recognized as an authority in the field of property rights and condemnation law, involving the constitutional rights of property owners when governments and utility companies take property for public projects.

Attorney discipline:  Mr. Chirls represents and consults with lawyers on attorney discipline and professional ethics matters.

Torts:  He was the first lawyer to represent a plaintiff in an AIDS/HIV discrimination case before a jury in Pennsylvania, and was lead defense counsel in a class action involving exposure to toxic metals at a dialysis clinic.

Service to the public and the profession:  Mr. Chirls was elected Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 2005.  He was also chairman of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, president of Philadelphia-based BalletX, and a long-time board member of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. He currently serves on the American Law Institute and Academy of Court Appointed Masters.

He has served on CLE faculties of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Georgetown University and the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association, and he has authored numerous articles.

Among his many awards are: the International Human Rights Award from the Human Rights Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association; Michael Greenberg Community Service Award from Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia (GALLOP); Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, Professional in Human Relations Award; and the Jewish Social Policy Action Network (“JSPAN”) Social Justice Award.

Representative Matters

  • Appointed by Hon. Cynthia Rufe, United States District Court for Eastern District of Pennsylvania, as Special Discovery Master in multi-district Zoloft Products Liability Litigation.
  • Management of $140 million common benefit fund in national multi-district products liability litigation arising from ingestion of Avandia, following court appointment, and following service as assistant special discovery master.
  • Served as counsel to AHP Settlement Trust in connection with claims resolution and processing in $4 billion dollar class action settlement of Diet Drug (Fen Phen) Products Liability Litigation.
  • Negotiation of termination payout for 38 physician limited partners in a medical equipment investment, at 7 times the termination payout originally proffered by the management of the partnership.
  • Establishment of title in and right to sell vintage 20th-Century photography work prints gifted to client by internationally renowned artist despite claim by artist’s estate that client had wrongful possession and gift was invalid.
  • Representation of parties in litigation over purchases and sales of businesses, both publicly traded and privately owned.
  • Law firm partnership breakup—resolution of disputes over rights to fees and reimbursements for costs in contingency cases for which firm was responsible.
  • Eminent domain: disputes over valuation and right to take real property for public works projects and energy developments, including natural gas facility in Northeast Pennsylvania and including highways and bridges.
  • Negotiation of purchase of multi-unit apartment building.
  • Negotiation of severance agreements, include amelioration of restrictive covenants and maintenance of bonus rights, upon severance of employment.
  • Arguments in 15 cases in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, twice in Pennsylvania Supreme Court and additional arguments in intermediate Pennsylvania appellate courts
  • Representation of expert witness in sanctions case.
  • Reports and testimony as expert witness on conduct of business litigation
  • Representation of clergy and religious organizations in disputes over ownership of religious property and right to use religious names and designations
  • Represented plaintiff in the first AIDS and HIV discrimination case ever presented to a jury in Pennsylvania
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Education

  • Juris Doctor , University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law, 1981
    First Prize in Nathan Burkan Competition for Copyright law paper
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Pennsylvania, 1977
    Cum Laude
    Major: Design of the Environment (Architecture)

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Pennsylvania
  • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • United States Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit
  • Supreme Court of the United States

Memberships

  • Academy of Court-Appointed Masters
  • American Law Institute
  • American Bar Association—Real Estate and Trusts Section; Litigation Section
  • Philadelphia Bar Association—Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention, Investigative Division
  • American Inn of Court of the Beasley School of Law at Temple University

Community/Civic Involvement

  • Philadelphia Bar Association
    • Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association. Member, 1998 through 2006. Vice Chair, 1999; Chair, 2000.
    • Chancellor 2005.  Served as elected leader of 13,000 member voluntary bar association.
    • Chancellor-Elect 2004
    • Vice-Chancellor 2003
  • BalletX
    • Board 2006-2012; vice-president 2008-2009; president 2009-2012.
  • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • Special Committee on Gender Fairness and Racial Bias in the Courts. Member of Subcommittee on Gender Bias, 2004-06.
  • Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program (VIP).
    • Board member from 1997 through 2004.
  • Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention.
    • Member 2000-06. Member of Investigative Division since 1993.
  • Committee on the Legal Rights of Lesbians and Gay Men.
    • Appointed as first co-chair of this newly formed Committee, 1997.
  • Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations
    • Commissioner from July 1990 to February 1992. Elected Chair by fellow Commissioners, December 1991.
  • Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.
    • Board member from 1988 to 1994; executive committee member and secretary of board from 1989 to 1992.

Honors/Awards

  • Selected for inclusion on the 2014 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers® list
  • Lambda Legal Defense service award, 2010.
  • Rated AV by Martindale Hubbell
  • Jewish Social Policy Action Network (“JSPAN”), Social Justice Award, 2006.
  • Human Rights Campaign Special Recognition Award for pro bono service, 2006.
  • Gay and Lesbian Professional Network of Philadelphia Community Service Award, 2005.
  • Equality Advocates Pennsylvania, service award, 2005.
  • Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund award for pursuit of civil rights, 2003.
  • Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, Professional in Human Relations Award, 2002.
  • International Human Rights Award from the International Human Rights Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association, January 1998.
  • Michael Greenberg Community Service Award from Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia (GALLOP), October 1998.

Selected Publications

  • Faculty Member of Georgetown University CLE Institute for Advanced Real Estate Litigation Strategy, 2007
  • Faculty member for Pennsylvania Bar Institute Course: “Annual Survey of Developments in Municipal Law.” , October 2006
  • Course planner on relations and communications between attorney and in-house corporate counsel, sponsored by Delaware Valley Association of Corporate Counsel,” Fall 2006
  • Course planner for Pennsylvania Bar Institute course: “Eminent Domain after Kelo and Pennsylvania’s New Eminent Domain Code,” September 2006
  • Author: The Law of Eminent Domain (compiled by American Bar Association Real Estate Section, Eminent Domain Division 2012), chapter on Pennsylvania Law.