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WSHB Elevates Ten Partners to Defined Equity Status

January 16, 2020

National litigation powerhouse Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman (WSHB) announced this week that ten of the firm’s partners have been elevated and as of January 1, 2020 are defined equity partners. The promotion of this group of nationally recognized lawyers recognizes their consistent, outstanding contributions to the firm’s success.

“Each of these individuals is a thought leader in their respective practice area and is widely thought of as a “go-to” lawyer for the most complex issues presented,” said Stewart Reid, Firmwide Managing Partner. “Our partnership ranks are stronger because of these individuals, and we are honored they have accepted the invitation to join the ranks of defined equity.”

Each of the ten individuals are widely known for leadership nationally within their practice areas while enjoying an international acclaim as thought leaders. They have an impressive record of trial wins and outside the courtroom are widely sought out for speaking engagements, publications and sage counsel. Common to each individual is a record of success — both inside and outside the walls of courthouses throughout the nation.

The ten new defined equity partners are Tracy Abatemarco (New York, NY), Michelle Arbitrio (White Plains, NY), Constance Endelicato (Los Angeles, CA), Paul Nolan (Rancho Cucamonga, CA), Patrick Schoenburg (Fresno, CA), Keith Smith (Riverside, CA), Timothy Repass (Seattle, WA), James Tyrie (New York, NY), Kelly Waters (Berkeley Heights, NJ), and Richard Zelonka, Jr. (Atlanta, GA).

Tracy Abatemarco – Admitted to practice in New York and Connecticut, Tracy is a seasoned, results-oriented litigator that aggressively handles claims and obtains early resolution and favorable settlements where appropriate. She focuses her practice on construction and labor law litigation, lead paint, mold, toxic tort, transportation and complex general liability and casualty actions. Her clients include insurance companies, financial institutions, and real estate owners and managers. She has extensive experience in state and appellate practice and has enjoyed success in the trial, appellate and arbitration forums.

Michelle Arbitrio – Michelle is an accomplished trial and appellate attorney with more than 18 years of experience as a litigator in the state and federal courts of New York and Connecticut. Michelle also serves as National Trial Counsel and National Coordinating Counsel for her clients in state and federal lawsuits, multi-district litigations, FINRA arbitrations and class actions throughout the country. As a leader of the firm’s Management, Professional and Employment Liability Practices, Michelle counsels and defends directors and officers against claims alleging fraud, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duties, and a variety of professionals against claims based on alleged errors and omissions in the performance of their professional services. She also regularly litigates labor and employment practices liability claims, commercial disputes, and securities claims premised on alleged civil and constitutional violations.

Constance Endelicato – An accomplished trial lawyer, Constance is vastly experienced in defending professional liability claims. She defends physicians, hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities, as well as legal and accounting professionals, among other service providers. As a reflection of Constance’s accomplishments, her extensive trial experience has afforded her membership in the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), among a nominal number of women in the United States. Just this year, Constance was honored with inclusion in the 2020 edition of Best Lawyers in America for her work in healthcare litigation and over the past several years Constance has routinely been named a Super Lawyer in Southern California and Orange County, and a Top Lawyer by Pasadena Magazine. She also holds an AV-Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell and is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management.

Paul Nolan – The managing partner of the firm’s Rancho Cucamonga office, Paul is a litigation attorney with over 20 years of experience in all facets of litigation. His practice involves a range of complex litigation, with specialization in the areas of construction, general liability, transportation, and business litigation. Paul’s experience in these various areas of the law have allowed him to develop practical solutions and recommendations for clients in all litigation forums, including litigation prevention and risk management. An experienced trial lawyer, Paul is also adept in all aspects of dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration, and is widely recognized by national and global developers and contractors, including Fortune 500 companies, for his results.

Patrick Schoenburg – The managing partner of WSHB’s Fresno office, Patrick has successfully represented clients at trial in state and federal court, in appeals, arbitration hearings and in the negotiation of contracts, license agreements and other transactions. He has particular expertise in defending asbestos, environmental, toxic tort and professional liability claims involving technical issues and has developed innovative strategies for attacking questionable scientific evidence. His practice also includes defense and prosecution of commercial and employment claims and client counseling regarding contract and related business matters. Patrick’s articles have been published by the ABA, Harris-Martin, CEB and Mealey’s. He is a co-author of CEB’s guidebook for handling mold litigation in California.

Keith Smith – The managing partner of the firm’s Riverside office, Keith is a trial lawyer known for his expertise in handling matters involving construction and real estate, employment, directors and officers, complex commercial litigation, and professional liability matters. As a compliment to Keith’s construction practice, he is also an adjunct professor at the University of La Verne Law School, where he teaches California Construction Law.

Timothy Repass – Tim is the managing partner of WSHB’s Seattle office. He handles a variety of complex civil litigation matters in both Washington and Oregon, and practices primarily in the areas of construction, employment, environmental, professional liability, and insurance coverage. Tim regularly represents builders and developers in a range of residential and commercial construction matters, as well as design professionals and others in a wide array of professional liability matters. He has litigated large-scale environmental contamination cases brought under state and federal law and other environmental exposure and toxic tort cases. He handles cases in state and federal court in Washington and Oregon, at the trial court and appellate levels.

James Tyrie – Admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey, James focuses his practice on the defense of toxic tort, construction and general liability matters. James defends property owners, governmental entities and corporations throughout New York and New Jersey on behalf of various self-insured clients and insurance companies. He is a member of the firm’s 24/7 emergency response team, which is dispatched immediately upon the occurrence of a fire or construction accident in order to assist the client in its investigation and to prepare the defense in any resulting litigation.

Kelly Waters – The managing partner for the firm’s New Jersey office, Kelly has more than 25 years of experience successfully defending complex litigation matters. In addition to her extensive litigation experience, Kelly serves as a Municipal Court Judge in the Townships of Union and Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Kelly is a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America, an invitation-only trial lawyer honorary society representing less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. For over 20 years, Kelly has served as a Trustee for the New Jersey Metro Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and is one of the Founders of the Women on the Move Luncheon, which funds research and provide services for people diagnosed with MS. She is a founder and the former President of the Board of Directors of the Vanguard Theater Company, a community theater located in New Jersey dedicated to bringing diversity to the stage. She is also a member of the Ad Hoc Committee advising the Union County Office of LGBTQ Affairs.

Richard Zelonka, Jr. – Richard is the managing partner of WSHB’s Atlanta office. His practice focuses on insurance coverage and litigation, representing clients in state and federal courts throughout the US. Richard’s insurance coverage practice involves advising and representing domestic and international insurers on first-party property, commercial general liability, construction defect, and professional errors and omission claims. Richard has successfully litigated a wide variety of first-party and third-party insurance cases, including the interpretation of policy provisions and exclusions, quantum disputes, hurricane catastrophes, bad faith and extra-contractual claims, and the application of regulatory and statutory schemes. In addition to his litigation and coverage practice, Richard has over a decade of London Market experience.

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