John P. Morgenstern

John P.Morgenstern

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John is a shareholder at Deasey, Mahoney & Valentini where he investigates and defends matters involving class actions, professional liability, civil rights, and  employment law. He is also particularly versed in insurance coverage matters.

He has earned the rating of AV Preeminent, the highest possible rating in professional and ethical standards from Martindale-Hubbell.®

John’s professional liability practice focuses on defending architects, engineers, accountants, and insurance professionals against accusations of professional negligence. He and his team defend and provide workplace training, consulting, and investigation services to public and private sector employers in all areas of employment law. John and his team defend police officers and public officials in matters involving alleged civil rights violations, including Constitutional claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Title VII and various states’ laws and constitutions.

John chairs the firm’s Medicare Secondary Payer Act compliance group and currently serves as Vice Chair of the DRI Medicare Secondary Payer Act Task Force. He has written and lectured extensively on the MSP Act and regularly assists insurance companies in MSP Act compliance, including section 111 reporting and in settlement procedures.

John’s clients routinely benefit from his unique experiences while serving as a Captain on active duty with the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General’s (“JAG”) Corps. As a service member with the V Corps based in Heidelberg, Germany, John deployed to Iraq during OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. He also deployed to the Balkans in support of NATO peacekeeping operations in 2005. John served as the Officer in Charge of the Patton Legal Center, Part-Time Military Magistrate, Chief of Claims, Administrative Law Advisor, and Ethics Counselor to the V Corps command group, and as lead prosecutor in numerous criminal jury trials and other court proceedings involving American service members throughout Europe and the Middle East.

During his service in the JAG Corps after 9/11, John was awarded the Bronze Star Medal in Iraq,  a NATO Commanding General’s Commendation in the Balkans, and the U.S. Meritorious Service Medal in Germany, among other military awards and recognitions.

Based on his experience and training, John authored The Interrogators’ Guide to Depositions, Investigations, and Discovery: What Civil Trial Attorneys Can Learn from the World’s Best Interrogators, which was published in June 2018 and is available at all major booksellers.

John is an avid runner and has completed full marathons in Rome, Paris, Dublin, Washington, DC and Philadelphia, in addition to several shorter distance races and triathlons. He lives in Wilmington, Delaware with his wife and their two children.


  • Deasey, Mahoney & Valentini, Ltd., 2008–Present
  • Sweeney & Sheehan, P.C., 2001–2008 except active military duty
  • U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s (“JAG”) Corps, 2002–2005
  • Dolan and Dolan, P.A., 1997–2001
  • Centenary College adjunct Professor of Business Law, 1998-2001
  • Habitat for Humanity, Northwest New Jersey Chapter, pro bono General Counsel, 1998–2000

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel
  • DRI (Medicare Secondary Payer Act Task Force, Vice-Chair 2017 – present; appointed member each year from 2011 to present; member of the Employment Law, Government Liability, Product Liability, Professional Liability, and Veterans’ committees)
  • New Jersey Bar Association (Employment and Labor Law Committee)
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (Life Member)
  • American Legion
  • Director, Pro Vet International Gifts and Scholarships
  • Accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs

Awards and Designations


  • 2019 America’s Top 100 Civil Defense Litigators
  • Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, each year since 2015
  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, 2019
  • Top Attorneys, Philadelphia Magazine, 2019
  • Top Rated Lawyers, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2015
  • The Order of Barristers, inducted May 1997


  • Bronze Star Medal, awarded in Baghdad, Iraq, February 2004
  • Meritorious Service Medal, awarded in Heidelberg, Germany, June 2005
  • NATO Commanding General’s Commendation, awarded in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, April 2005
  • U.S. Army Commendation Medal, awarded in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, April 2005

Publications & Lectures

  • What Judges and Attorneys Can Learn From The World’s Best Interrogators: Philadelphia Bar Association Bench-Bar Conference, October 2019
  • Making Sense of the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, An Examination of One of “The Most Completely Impenetrable Texts Within Human Experience” Ten Years In, (Declarations Magazine of the International Association of Claims Professionals, 2018-2019), (Year in Review, September 2019)
  • The Interrogators’ Guide to Depositions, Investigations, and Discovery: What Civil Trial Attorneys Can Learn from the World’s Best Interrogators (Archway Publishing 2018)
  • DRI Medicare Secondary Payer Act Case Law Update 2018 presented to national audience, May 2018
  • DRI Medicare Secondary Payer Act Case Law Update 2017 presented to national audience, April 2017
  • DRI Medicare Secondary Payer Act Hot Topics presented to national audience, November 2015
  • DRI Medicare Secondary Payer Act Case Law Update 2014 presented to national audience, November 2014
  • DRI Medicare Secondary Payer Act Case Law Update 2012 presented to national audience, September 2012
  • Medicare Secondary Payer Act Update: Tackling the Most Common Obstacles to Settlements, March 2011
  • Medicare Secondary Payer Act Issues in Chinese Drywall Litigation, 2010 East Region Construction Defect and Insurance Coverage Conference, Boca Raton, FL June 2-4, 2010
  • Practitioner’s Guide to the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, an overview of Medicare set-aside arrangements and Medicare Secondary Payer reports, February 2009
  • Settler Beware: Navigating the Amendment to the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, DRI committee newsletter, 2009
  • Congress Provides Additional Breaks to Military Members and Families under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, March 2007
  • The Continuing Evolution of USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act), The Job Description (Defense Research Institute Employment Law Committee newsletter), Fall 2007
  • Strategic Use of the Motion to Dismiss and Preliminary Objections, Pennsylvania Defense Institute Continuing Legal Education, May 17, 2007
  • Supreme Court Clarifies Triggering Event for Title VII Pay Discrimination Claims, The Voice (Defense Research Institute newsletter) June 13, 2007
  • Supreme Court Expands Pool of Retaliation Plaintiffs in Federal Courts, March 2007
  • Welcoming Home the Service Member Employee: A Primer on the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, June 2007
  • Observations from Behind the Wall in Iraq, International Human Rights Lecture, University of Pennsylvania School of Law, April 3, 2006
  • Military Issues in Civil Litigation, Pennsylvania Defense Institute Continuing Legal Education, March 4, 2006

Representative Cases

  • Haberle v. Borough of Nazareth, et al., 885 F.3d 170, 2018 WL 1386431 (3rd Cir. 2018) (involving police officers’ obligations to accommodate disabilities while making lawful arrests)
  • Dolfman v. Cedar Fair et al., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, No. 15-2695 (May 4, 2016) (involving legal causation and the accidental death of a foreign exchange student)
  • RHJ Medical Center, Inc. v. City of Dubois, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, No. 12-3641 (April 24, 2014) (involving the placement of a methadone clinic in a city business district)
  • In Re Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware (litigation in several state and federal courts involving decades of alleged sexual abuse
  • Hedges v. Musco, et al., 204 F.3d 109 (3rd Cir. 2000) (affirming summary dismissal of Fourth Amendment claims based on alleged intrusive search of a 14-year old high school student that included the testing of bodily fluids)
  • Damiani v. Township of Bensalem, et al, 2012 WL 1657920 (E.D. Pa. 2012) (defense verdict in case of alleged excessive force while taking a suspect into custody)
  • Monger v. Upper Leacock Township, 132 A.3d 585 (Pa. Cmwlth. Ct. 2016) (summary dismissal of case involving alleged detrimental reliance on representations by township manager during site plan application)
  • Dunlap v. Ridley Park Swim Club, 133 A. 3d 64, 2015 WL 6667763 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2015) (settling joint tortfeasor against whom another defendant proves fault at trial must be included on the verdict sheet for the jury to determine pro rata share of liability)
  • Otto v. George Smith Towing, PA Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia County, February 2017 Term, No. 4317 (class action against towing company)
  • School District of Philadelphia vs. several architecture firms, PA Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia County, 2013 (where public school district brought lawsuits long after design work and construction was completed on school buildings implicating the doctrine of nullum tempus occurrit regi)
  • Yakal-Kremski v. Denville Township Board of Education, 329 N.J. Super. 567, 748 A.2d 642 (NJ App. Div. 2000) (enforcing limits on recoverable expert witness fees)