Joseph A.H. McGovern Partner




Joe McGovern practices in the general liability area and has extensive experience litigating high-exposure personal injury claims in New York and Connecticut state and federal trial and appellate courts. Joe has tried civil actions in New York State Supreme Court and has argued before the Appellate Division, First and Second Departments, and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Currently, Joe focuses on the defense of building owners, contractors and subcontractors in personal injury claims under New York Labor Law arising from accidents on construction sites. He also has a strong background defending title holders such as banks and leasing companies in automobile liability claims alleging catastrophic injury and wrongful death. Other areas in which Joe has experience include premises liability claims, property and replevin actions, employment discrimination cases and antitrust matters. In addition to defending insureds, Joe frequently provides coverage opinions, analyzes policies and defenses, and monitors litigation on behalf of excess carriers.

Joe began his professional life as a writer and editor, including positions with PepsiCo’s public affairs department. His ability to find, organize and present information in its clearest form also has been a key asset in his legal career, as evidenced by the numerous successful summary judgment motions and appellate briefs he has written and argued. As an example, Joe wrote the prevailing appellate brief submitted to the Connecticut Supreme Court in the case of Wesley v. Schaller Subaru, Inc. (277 Conn. 526 [2005]), an important case on contract reformation and the law of agency. He has 24 published appellate decisions.

Representative Matters

Bermajo v. Empire Builders: Represented the defendant in a Labor Law case brought on behalf of a plaintiff construction worker who was crushed to death by a falling beam. We identified coverage issues that made it difficult for plaintiff to recover damages and were able to resolve the claim for a small fraction of the amount sought.

Budgell v. NY Presbyterian Hospital: Represented the defendant in a Section 240 Labor Law claim in which the trial court initially granted summary judgment on liability to the plaintiff. We perfected our appeal on behalf of the defendant and were able to reach a reasonable settlement with one of the top plaintiff’s firms.

Dombrowski v. Metropolitan Property and Casualty: Represented an insurance company defendant in a lawsuit brought by a women-owned business alleging that our client’s severing of its relationship with plaintiff’s agency was sexually discriminatory because the defendant held the plaintiff to a different standard than other agencies. The trial court denied our motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the New York Appellate Division, Second Department, agreed with all of our arguments on behalf of the defendant and dismissed the claim.

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