John P. O'Toole Partner




John O’Toole is an accomplished trial attorney who focuses his civil litigation practice on the defense of professional liability and general liability lawsuits brought in New Jersey state and federal courts. John also has experience in complex commercial litigation, including auto lender liability and finance related litigation.

John primarily represents attorneys, accountants, and insurance agents and brokers and has obtained numerous favorable judgments and dismissals of malpractice claims on behalf of his clients. John also regularly defends premises owners in a variety of personal injury claims.

John has participated in hundreds of professional malpractice, general liability and commercial matters at both the state and federal levels through trial resulting in several reported and unreported decisions, including cases that have permanently altered New Jersey law. John focuses his defense strategy not only on the legal issues involved in each case, but also on the practical effects of complex litigation in an effort to ensure efficient, cost-effective and fair results.

Dovetailing with his experience in the professional liability area, John recently completed his term as a member of the District VA (Newark, N.J.) Ethics Committee, on which he worked in cooperation with the public to investigate complaints against attorneys and make determinations regarding alleged ethical violations.

Representative Matters

Secured dismissal of an insurance broker malpractice case in which a facility and the food service provider sued Wilson Elser’s client insurance broker for negligence and breach of contract in failing to procure additional insured status for the facility.

Secured dismissal of an insurance broker malpractice case alleging failure to secure an additional insured position. The trial court resolved the matter in favor of the firm’s client ruling that even if the broker had failed to secure the additional insurance position, such a failure was not a proximate cause of damages to the facility determined to be the sole cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Participated in a legal malpractice matter involving an attorney who allegedly missed a statute of limitations deadline, resulting in the loss of an underlying personal injury claim. The court addressed the issue as to whether the legal malpractice claim was barred by New Jersey’s entire controversy doctrine, which would have prohibited the legal malpractice claim following the dismissal of the personal injury claim, permanently altering New Jersey law on this issue.

Represented commercial lenders in a variety of matters to collect collateral and resulting damages of millions of dollars in claims involving secured and unsecured debt, including cases dealing with retail automobile and commercial trucking dealerships, rental car operators, equipment leases and sales, and capital loans.

Involved in multi-party legal malpractice claim arising from a failed 400-unit residential development in Southern New Jersey. The case involved the lender’s suit for damages, the developer’s counterclaims, and numerous third-party and other claims relating to the development’s investors and the attorneys involved in the original transaction. The claims settled following 14 weeks of trial.

Led defense of attorney malpractice claim involving a notable television personality who claimed that the attorneys were responsible for providing bad financial advice and services, despite the claimant’s fame as a well-known and respected expert on financial matters.

Represented commercial property owners throughout New Jersey in a number of personal injury claims involving millions of dollars in potential damages, which were resolved through mediation, arbitration and trial.

Defended attorneys before District Ethics Committees and the Office of Attorney Ethics.

View All Publications