Jeffrey C. Hart Partner

     

Contact

   

Jeffrey Hart litigates employment, complex commercial, products liability, medical malpractice, transportation, general liability, professional liability and workers' compensation matters. In addition, he has experience with maritime law, including the Jones Act and the U.S. Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, representing shipping concerns and waterway terminal owners. Jeff serves as lead counsel for a Fortune 500 beverage company and a national specialty gas/propane company and handles commercial litigation, employment and general liability matters for major companies in various industries, including sports equipment and transportation.

Jeff has tried more than 280 cases before various administrative agencies, judges and juries. In addition to Fortune 500 companies, he has represented cities, universities, hospitals, physicians groups and individuals in civil and criminal matters. Jeff has argued cases before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Illinois Appellate Court.

Prior to joining Wilson Elser in 2015, Jeff experienced considerable success throughout the Midwest, and the caliber of his clients dictated that he establish a broader presence in a firm with a national footprint. He is currently expanding his services to established and new clients.

Areas of Focus

Complex Tort & General Casualty
Jeff believes that an effective approach to liability matters is to get ahead of the curve through a well-developed strategy for risk management, crisis management, and claims and litigation management. Leveraging Wilson Elser’s scope and size and its culture of collaboration, Jeff can provide clients with the highest-quality representation in all matters. With offices strategically located throughout the country, he is able to efficiently resolve claims, whether straightforward and local or complex and multijurisdictional.

Employment & Labor
With a caseload that includes private- and public-sector employers, Jeff is skilled in all aspects of federal and state employment discrimination laws. He handles cases arising under Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. He also appears with clients before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board and the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as state and federal administrative agencies and courts.

Workers’ Compensation
In handling workers’ compensation cases, Jeff pays close attention to the peripheral issues precipitated by other issues that arise in the course of the proceedings, as well as FMLA, ADA, COBRA, OSHA, HIPAA regulations. Jeff has great depth of experience in workplace legal matters and understands the importance of containing exposure to workers' compensation claims without disturbing underlying relationships.

Commercial Liability / Trucking
Jeff offers extensive claims handling and litigation management experience together with major trial sophistication. With government oversight and regulations increasing the cost of doing business and the economy eroding consumer demand, shippers, carriers and their insurers look to Jeff for advice on legislative, regulatory, technological and other developments that have an impact on the industry.

Longshore & Harbor Workers
Maritime law covers a broad range of matters, from casualties at sea to injury and death claims by seafarers, longshoremen and harbor workers. Jeff engages with the firm’s experienced attorneys for advice and strategies for dealing with maritime issues, drawing on decades of practical experience and knowledge of this complex international body of law.

Medical Malpractice & Health Care
Jeff has represented clients in the health care field throughout southeast Michigan for more than 10 years, including major hospital groups in the region. He has considerable discovery and expert deposition experience, motion practice, facilitation, case evaluation and trial experience in the field. Matters he has handled include misdiagnosed cancers, neurosurgical, orthopedic, radiological, interventional cardiology, psychiatric (suicide while in-patient), nursing, general surgical and OB/GYN cases.

Representative Matters

Prevailed in trial on behalf of Fortune 500 beverage company in case where employee was killed in the scope and course of his employment, but benefits were denied for the intentional and willful violation of the employer’s zero tolerance substance abuse policy. The decedent’s toxicology report revealed none of the individual intoxicants in decedent’s blood were over the legal limit in Michigan. However, the decedent was acutely intoxicated from the combined toxicity of a prescribed drug, methadone, diphenhydramine (OTC antihistamine) and alcohol. The State of Michigan has no intoxication defense for work injuries; an employer must prove an intentional and willful violation of a work rule to prevail.

Obtained more than 100 case dismissals for a large corporate client newly sued in the State of Michigan by plaintiffs alleging asbestos injuries from exposure to products manufactured by the corporate defendant. Dismissals were obtained after motions for summary disposition were filed in 82 of the cases involved.

Obtained a debt relief settlement of $11.3 million on loan and personal guarantees of corporate officers for a Colorado bottling company against supply chain lender and the USDA where fraud was alleged against the lender.

Won a decision in Illinois Appellate Court, Workers’ Compensation Commission Division, in favor of a Chicago Fire Department paramedic candidate who suffered renal failure after intentional dehydration and brutal hazing during a "physical training" session at the Chicago Fire Academy. The City of Chicago had refused to pay the candidate’s medical bills, which included 30 days’ intensive care hospitalization, multiple surgeries and dialysis. The City of Chicago also refused to pay wage replacement benefits and terminated the candidate’s employment. The Appellate Court held that the candidate was not excluded from the Workers’ Compensation Act’s protections because the candidate was not a "duly appointed member" of the Fire Department. This is a seminal case of first impression for fire department trainees. See decision at 2013 Il App (1st) 121505WC; 2014 Ill. App. LEXIS 13.

Received summary disposition in favor of a commercial real estate client for $424,000 and an award of attorney fees in a dispute over taxes, rent and promissory note.

Obtained EEOC dismissal of sexual discrimination charge for large Detroit manufacturer/employer.

Obtained EEOC dismissal of sexual discrimination /gender bias charges on behalf of a Michigan employer.

Currently represents the parent company of the number-one video analysis software in sports and maker of the application that has filmed more than nine million golf swings.

Obtained a zero case evaluation award and dismissal on behalf of a general surgeon and hospital clients in a medical malpractice death case.

Received a $2 million judgment against the City of Chicago on behalf of an injured fire department trainee.

Currently represents the inventor of the world’s first biodegradable water bottle made from corn and winner of the IBWA 2005 Aqua Award.