Joseph Ortego serves as the vice-chair of Nixon Peabody’s litigation department, chair of NP Trial®, an international team of the firm’s most successful and experienced trial lawyers, and chair of the firm’s Aviation practice. Representing major private and public corporations and their executives, he has tried over 100 cases to verdict in both federal and state courts throughout the country and has successfully represented clients before arbitration tribunals around the world.
Joseph is also Nixon Peabody’s chief diversity officer, overseeing the firm’s strategy to attract, retain and promote talented people with exceptional ability from a broad range of backgrounds. He is also past Chairman of the ABOTA National Trial Academy.
What do you focus on?
I focus my practice in the areas of aviation litigation; complex commercial disputes; class actions; toxic tort, health effects, environmental, employment, intellectual property, and product liability matters; and insurance coverage. I serve as National Trial Counsel for a number of clients who desire a consistent approach to lawsuits filed in multiple states.
I represent small, midsize, and publicly traded companies in the following industries: Aviation; Chemical; Food & Beverage; Financial Services; Insurance and Pharmaceutical, Medical Device and Life Sciences.
My clients’ legal needs are as diverse as the industries they operate in. They want a lawyer who is familiar with all legal aspects of their industry. My clients call on me to defend them in complex litigation and class actions involving a broad range of issues. With over thirty-five years of litigation and business experience, I help my clients (from Fortune 500 to startups) resolve their matters early on their terms or prevail at trial.
In addition to my wide-ranging litigation experience, I have extensive experience representing U.S. and international insurance and re-insurance clients. I have developed a deep understanding of the insurance industry through the multitude of diverse matters I have handled and serve as coverage counsel for several of the world’s largest insurers.
Trials and Arbitrations
- McCaleb v. Daher-Socata et al., Seventeenth Judicial Circuit of Florida in Broward County. Secured a unanimous defense verdict in Broward County, Florida, state court for French aircraft company Daher-Socata Aerospace, a case that was featured as #4 in CVN’s Top 10 Most Impressive Defense Verdicts of 2018. After a three-week trial, the jury agreed that pilot error caused the crash of the single-engine TBM 850, and that the plane is safe and free of any defect.
- Wells Fargo Bank Northwest N.A. v. Airbus Helicopters Inc. et al., Texas District Court, Dallas County. Counsel of record for Airbus in complex commercial case that was favorably resolved during trial.
- Avis Budget Car Rental v. JD2 Environmental Inc., United States District Court, Eastern District of New York.Represented Avis Budget Car Rental LLC in a three-week jury trial in a case that was featured in TopVerdict.com’s “Top 100 Verdicts in New York in 2017.”
- Enzo Life Sciences Inc. v. Adipogen Corporation, Adipogen International, Inc., Bioaxxess Inc., George Chappuis, Tamara Sales, Silvia Dettwiler, United States District Court, District of Delaware. Commercial dispute regarding stock purchase agreement – trial. Full verdict in favor of client, Adipogen.
- Mary Robinson v. Purcell Construction Corp., et al., United States District Court, Northern District of New York. Title VII/discrimination/retaliation. Jury trial unanimous verdict in favor of client, Purcell Construction Corp.
- Steven Takacs, Robert Smith, Sr., Bridget Smith, Estate of Robert Smith, Gabrielle Greene v. American Eurocopter Corporation, Goodrich Actuation System SAS, and Goodrich Corp., District Court, 327th Judicial District, El Paso County, Texas. Secured a unanimous jury verdict for global aviation manufacturer Eurocopter, S.A.S. and its Texas-based distributor American Eurocopter Corporation. After a three-week trial, the twelve-member jury rejected the plaintiffs’ product defect theories against our clients and fully exonerated the Eurocopter product.
- Hudson Publications, LLC v. DuJour Media Group, LLC and Jason Binn. American Arbitration Association: Manhattan. Favorable result in breach of fiduciary duty arbitration.
- Avis Budget Car Rental LLC v. West 76th Street, American Arbitration Association. Environmental arbitration. Award after hearing in favor of client Avis Budget.
- Certain Underwriters @ Lloyd’s and R.J. Wilson & Associates. Insurance coverage (international). Commercial arbitration. Arbitration award in favor of client R.J. Wilson & Associates.
- Ian M. Marlow v. Newmark Knight Frank Global Management Services, LLC, et al., JAMS. Commercial: preliminary injunction/commercial breach of contract arbitration. Award in favor of client Newmark Knight Frank Global.
- Russell Associates, Inc. v. Dunlop Associates, Ltd., International: American Arbitration Association. Full arbitration award in favor of claimant Russell Associates, Inc.
- Smith v. J.C. Ehrlich Company, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York. Jury trial – toxic tort. Verdict in favor of client J.C. Ehrlich.
- Weaver v. New York Community Bank, NYS Supreme Court, County of Nassau. Commercial litigation/securities – jury trial. Settled during trial.
- Pond Technical Sales v. Pall Corporation, NYS Supreme Court, County of Nassau. Jury trial – settled during trial/commercial litigation.
- Byron Chemical Company v. Laura Candela, NYS Supreme Court, County of Nassau. Bench trial - commercial litigation - shareholder dispute/securities. Verdict in favor of client.
- Rose Cioffi v. New York Community Bank, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York. Employment practices - jury trial. Partial defense verdict in favor of client.
- Monter v. Arnone, Lowth, Fanning, Wilson & Rubin, LLC and John P. Lowth, III, et al., NYS Supreme Court, County of Nassau. Commercial litigation/financial – jury trial. Unanimous verdict in favor of client.
- Katz v. Ford Motor Company and Hempstead Ford, Supreme Court, Suffolk County. Products liability - jury trial. Unanimous verdict in favor of client.
- Nutkiewicz v. Ford Motor Company, NYS Supreme Court, Kings County. Product liability – jury trial. Unanimous verdict in favor of client.
- ATIFA v. Majid Hazrat Abubakr, NYS Supreme Court, Queens County. Commercial litigation – jury trial. Verdict in favor of client.
- Gould Paper Company v. Boise Cascade, United States District Court, Southern District of New York. Business litigation – jury trial. Unanimous verdict in favor of client Boise Cascade. Verdict for client on counterclaim.
- Benny Nissan v. Spectra Securities Software, American Arbitration Association. Commercial Litigation - American Arbitration Association international award in favor of client Spectra Securities Software.
- Arizona Beverage v. Fiji Water, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York. Commercial litigation – jury trial. Settled in favor of client during trial.
- Nassau County v. The New York Islanders, NYS Supreme Court, County of Nassau. Commercial litigation/preliminary injunction – bench trial. Verdict in favor of client Nassau County.
- Bedoya v. 655 West Associates, et al., NYS Supreme Court, County of New York. Toxic tort —jury trial. Unanimous defense verdict in favor of client.
- Galfin v. Stenograph Corporation, Quixote Corporation, et al., United States District Court, Eastern District of New York. Product liability – jury trial. Unanimous defense verdict in favor of client.
- Osorio v. 144th Street Partners, NYS Supreme Court, New York County. Toxic tort – jury trial. Unanimous defense verdict in favor of client.
- Eisert v. Town of Hempstead and the Republican Party, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York. Employment/Section 1983/litigation – jury trial. Unanimous verdict in favor of client.
- Goosby v. Town of Hempstead, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York. Voting Rights Act case – Bench trial. Unanimous verdict in favor of client.
- Haropolus v. First American Title Insurance Company, United States District Court, Southern District of New York. Jury trial — employment litigation. Verdict in favor of client.
- Cassidy v. LND Corporation, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York. Jury trial — employment litigation. Verdict in favor of client.
Other Notable Aviation Cases
- Era Group Inc. v. Airbus Helicopters, Inc. et al, Texas District Court, Dallas County. Counsel of record for Airbus.
- ECN Capital Corp. v. Airbus Helicopters S.A.S., United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, Dallas. Counsel of record for Airbus.
- Cadigan et al. v. Liberty Helicopters, Inc. et al., Supreme Court of the State of New York County of New York, 152286/2018. Counsel of record for Airbus.
- Kathleen Horton and Shawna Mahany v. Airbus Helicopters, Inc., District Court, Tarrant County, Texas, 153rd Judicial District. Counsel of record for Airbus.
- David and Amanda Repsher et. al. v. Air Methods Corporation, Airbus Helicopters, S.A.S., and Airbus Helicopters Inc., District Court, Summit County, Colorado. Counsel of record for helicopter manufacturing defendants.
- James Hicks v. Helicopter Consultants of Maui, Inc. d/b/a Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Circuit Court of the First Circuit, Hawaii. Counsel of record for Airbus.
- Ledesma v. Airbus Helicopters, United States District Court, Southern District of Texas. Counsel of record for Airbus.
- Nora McDonnell Strothman, et al. v. Airbus Helicopters, Inc., District Court, Tarrant County, Texas, 342nd Judicial District. Counsel of record for Airbus.
- Kenneth Glazer, Individually and as Administrator of the Estates of Laurence Glazer and Jane Glazer v. Socata, S.A.S. et al., Supreme Court of the State of New York, Monroe County. Counsel of record for Socata.
Other Notable Commercial, Product Liability, Toxic Tort and Health Effects Cases & Class Actions
- Liebhart, et al v. SPX Corporation, et al, United States District Court, Western District of Wisconsin. National trial counsel in environmental litigation. Motion for summary judgment granted.
- Chrisman Mill Vineyards, Inc. v. Presque Isle Wine Cellars v. Pall Corporation, United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky. Plaintiff alleged it incurred damages as a result of spoiled or contaminated wine allegedly due to a defect in a component manufactured by our client. Case dismissed.
- Chandra Ostrander, as Co-Administrator of the Estate of James L. Rudd v. IU Health University Hospital and Indiana University Health System, Marion Superior Court, State of Indiana. Representing leading manufacturer of industrial filtration systems in a wrongful death allegation where the plaintiff’s estate claims the decedent was exposed to legionella (Legionnaires disease) while receiving care at an Indiana-based hospital. The defendant sold filters to the hospital system when it was experiencing an outbreak of legionella. Case dismissed against client, with prejudice.
- George Gardner v. Western Beef Properties, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York. Class action/commercial litigation – class certification hearing. Class certification denied in favor of client, defendant Western Beef Properties.
What do you see on the horizon?
As technology evolves, companies are facing a new set of legal challenges manifesting themselves in both litigation and regulatory activities. We partner with clients, leveraging our successful trial and litigation experience, to develop innovative strategies to proactively address the issues presented by this new age.
Joseph served as an Assistant District Attorney (Manhattan) in the Felony Trial and Homicide Bureaus for the New York County District Attorney’s Office. He investigated and tried complex and high profile felony and homicide cases to verdict.
Publications and Presentations
- “Understanding Changing Juror Dynamics,” The Network of Trial Law Firms, Litigation Management: A Helping Hand by the Rio Grande, April 2019
- “Thoughts and Strategies in the Ever Evolving Product Liability Litigation,” The Defense Association of New York, New York, NY, March 12, 2019
- “Litigation’s Unsung Hero: Glory to the Direct Examination of the Expert Witness,” The Brief, Winter 2019, Vol. 48 No. 2, American Bar Association (Co-author)
- “The Explosion: Responding to a Client’s Crisis,” IADC Business Litigation Committee, Product Liability Committee, Toxic and Hazardous Substances Litigation Committee, and Trial Techniques and Tactics Committee online webinar, September 21, 2016
- “Ethical Considerations for Litigators and Trial Attorneys,” The Network of Trial Law-Litigation Management in a New York Minute, August 2016
- “The View from the Airline Carriers and Manufacturers on Managing Costs, Case Evaluation, Litigation Management; Responding to Enhanced Regulation and Enforcement; Compliance Strategies; Selecting and Retaining Law Firms and Distribution of Legal Spend in Today’s Environment; and More,” American Conference Institute-Aviation Claims & Litigation, June 2016, Co-Chair/Moderator
- “Ethics for Trial Lawyers,” 2016 TIPS/ABOTA National Trial Academy, April 2016
- “Statistical Sampling: Latest on Using Statistical Techniques that Presume All Class Members are Identical; Proving Liability; and Damage Models, Calculations and Theories Used in Class Cases,” American Conference Institute’s Cross-Industry Interdisciplinary Summit on Defending and Managing Class Actions, New York, NY, April 2016
- “Cyberthreats: What to Know, What to Do,” The Network of Trial Law Firms, Litigation Management: In-House Counsel Facing The Future, October 2015
- “Direct and Cross-Examination of Expert Witnesses in Food Cases,” ABA Food & Supplements Fifth Annual Workshop, Omaha, NE, June 9, 2015
- “Innovative Strategies for Defending Against Aviation Claims: Managing the Rise in E-Discovery and Its Increasing Involvement in Aviation Litigation, and Effective Use of Expert Witnesses and Jury Communication,” American Conference Institute’s 7th National Forum on Defending and Managing Aviation Claims & Litigation, New York, NY, June 2, 2015
- “Using the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to Protect your Secrets,” The Network of Trial Law Firms, Litigation Management: Bottled At Its Peak, April 2015
- “Winning Your Case by Telling Your Company’s Story,” DRI Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Seminar, Austin, TX, March 27, 2015
- “As Ethical as a Lawyer,” ABA Life Sciences Legal Summit, South San Francisco, CA, March 4, 2015
- “The Montreal Convention: Assessing Flight Crew Response to Medical Emergencies,” Westlaw Journal, January 2015 (co-author)
- “Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product Protection,” Pall Corporation, October 22, 2014
- “The Criminalization of Civil Wrongs,” Pestsure Safety & Loss Prevention Meeting, New Orleans, LA, October 2, 2014
- “Inside the Courtroom - Consumer v. Food Company, What to Expect During an ‘All Natural’ Case,” The Food & Beverage Marketing & Advertising Law Summit, Chicago, IL, September 15, 2014
- “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: What’s Trending in Social Media,” AIG, December 2013 (Co-presenter)
- “Government Surveillance: Privacy is Dead. Get Over It”, The Network of Trial Law Firms, Litigation Management in a New York Minute, New York, NY, August 9, 2013
- “The Thin Lines Between Zealous Advocacy, Incivility, and Punishable Misconduct,” Suffolk Academy of Law CLE Program, Hauppauge, NY, October 11, 2012
- “Early Case Assessment,” The Network of Trial Law Firms, Litigation Management in a New York Minute, New York, NY, August 10, 2012
- “Ethical Considerations for Litigators and Trial Attorneys,” 2012 National Trial Academy, American Bar Association/American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Reno, NV, April 16, 2012
- “Practical Solutions for Effectively Managing Outside Counsel Fees: The Case for Alternative Fee Arrangements,” Hispanic National Bar Association’s 3rd Annual Corporate Counsel and 17th Annual Uvaldo Herrera Moto Court Competition, Jersey City, NJ, March 30, 2012
- Pre-Conference Group Meet-Up, 16th Annual Drug and Medical Device Litigation Conference, New York, NY, December 5–7, 2011
- “Finding the Right Balance: In-House Lawyer’s Professional Duties vs. Rights as an Employee,” The Network of Trial Law Firms, Laguna Beach, CA, November 4, 2011
- “Emerging Legal Issues: Social Media and Cloud Computing,” Major Insurance Company, October 25, 2011
- “Ethics: An In-House Lawyers Professional Duties vs. Rights as an Employee,” The Network of Trial Law Firms, New York, NY, August 5, 2011
- “Ethical Considerations in the Automotive Product Liability Context,” American Conference Institute, Automotive Product Liability Litigation, Chicago, IL, June 22, 2011
- “Early Evaluation Defense Perspective,” Presentation to Lancer Claims Service, Los Angeles, CA, April 5, 2011
- “Walking a Thin, Grey Line: The Differences Among Incivility, Zealous Advocacy, and Punishable Misconduct,” 2011 Emerging Issues in Motor Vehicle Product Liability Litigation, Phoenix, AZ, March 31, 2011
- “Contracts, Risks & Parasites: Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite,” The Associated Pest Services Association, San Antonio, TX, February 10, 2011
- “Getting the Job—What Do You Want From Me?” CLE Program, Nassau County Bar Association, Mineola, NY, November 22, 2010
- “Procedural Tactics for Managing and Defending Against Mass Torts Product Liability Claims,” American Conference Institute’s Master Class, New York, NY, September 30, 2010
- “Ethical Considerations in the Automotive Product Liability Context,” American Conference Institute’s Automotive Product Liability Conference, Chicago IL, September 23, 2010
- “E-Discovery: Ethical Considerations for In-House Counsel,” CLE Ethics Seminar, Nixon Peabody LLP, September 14, 2010
- “The Evolving Law of E-Discovery,” The Network of Trial Law Firms, New York, NY, August 6, 2010
- “It’s the Economy,” CPS Insurance Company, Ltd., Annual General Meeting and Board of Directors’ Meeting, Southampton, Bermuda, June 15, 2010
- “Incivility: An Insult to the Professional and the Profession,” Orientation Presentation to New Attorneys, Appellate Division, Second Department; Nassau Supreme Court, Mineola, NY, June 11, 2010
- “The Evolving Law of E-Discovery,” The Network of Trial Law Firms, Phoenix, AZ, April 23, 2010
- “The Thin Lines Between Zealous Advocacy, Incivility, and Punishable Misconduct,” Emerging Issues in Motor Vehicle Product Liability Law, Phoenix, AZ, April 9, 2010
- “Defending Goliath: How to Represent a Corporation Before a Jury in a Weakened Economy,” ABA Corporate Counsel CLE Seminar, February 11–14, 2010