Joseph I. Fontak - Partner  

Philadelphia
Tel: 215-755-0455
Fax: 215-405-2999
vCard:
Add contact information to your vCard compatible address book.
Print This Bio

Joe heads Leader Berkon Colao & Silverstein’s Philadelphia office. He has extensive experience in a variety of litigation areas, including toxic tort, product liability, securities, commercial, real estate and insurance. Joe has applied his math and actuarial background to complex cases, including federal securities law cases involving pension fund allocations, improper accounting procedures and stock parking practices. He is admitted to practice before the state and federal courts of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Joe has tried cases to verdict, and has participated in trials in California, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.

Product Liability / Toxic Tort

In addition to being lead trial lawyer on a number of active cases, Joe also supervises attorneys and paralegals in the firm’s role as national coordinating counsel for an asbestos defendant and for a manufacturer of cutting, welding and gas solutions. Joe works with local attorneys in jurisdictions around the country in coordinating the defense of these clients. Joe began his career at Leader Berkon Colao & Silverstein as a key member of the defense team for our client, a chemical manufacturer, in the IBM Semiconductor Litigation involving over 200 cancer and 50 birth defect claims in New York, California and Minnesota courts.

Representative Successes

Joe has obtained summary judgment for several equipment manufacturer clients in asbestos cases pending in New Jersey and Pennsylvania state and federal courts.

Joe represented several plaintiffs in a suit against a large banking institution, claiming they had been induced to participate in a private stock transaction through false and misleading statements. The bank settled the case at the courthouse steps after losing its motion for summary judgment following Joe’s recital of his planned opening statement in a pre-trial conference with the trial judge and the bank’s in-house counsel.

Joe was lead trial counsel of a Leader Berkon Colao & Silverstein trial team that obtained a favorable defense verdict following a one-week trial in a construction site personal injury case.

Joe obtained complete reimbursement, with interest, of more than $1.5 million owed to his client by a former vendor. By obtaining a preliminary injunction against the vendor and successfully freezing the vendor's bank accounts, Joe had the leverage to reject the vendor's attempts to resolve at a reduced repayment.

Community Leader

Joe is an active volunteer in community and alumni activities. He is on the board of Temple Beth David’s Men's Club, in Gladwyn, PA. He is chairman of the mid-Atlantic section of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law alumni association. He was also on the faculty of the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program at Cardozo for ten years. Joe moderated a continuing education panel at the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School entitled, “Two Hot Ethics Topics for Litigators: Social Media and Soliciting Witnesses." He also recently authored an article for the Cardozo Law School alumni magazine, entitled: "A Life Lesson from Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad."

Education

  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Law Review, Criminal Law Clinic, J.D. (1991)
  • Binghamton University, B.S. (1985)

Admissions

  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Professional Activities/Awards

  • Cardozo Law School Intensive Trial Advocacy, Faculty
  • Defense Research Institute
  • New York State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • New York Super Lawyers (2010-2019)
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell