David H. Pittinsky

Senior Counsel

Tel 215.864.8117
Fax 215.864.8999

David H. Pittinsky is senior counsel at Ballard Spahr who has obtained precedent-setting wins in high-profile, high-stakes cases. During more than 50 years of litigation practice, David has been involved in almost every aspect of complex commercial litigation. He is ranked in Band One by Chambers USA. Chambers USA quotes sources as stating "he is one of the top lawyers in Philadelphia for major corporate litigation" and "he is a formidable presence in the courtroom, where he really commands respect." David is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

David has extensive experience representing global corporations in commercial litigation, trial prosecution and defense, appellate litigation, class action defense, and consumer financial services litigation. He defends and prosecutes complex commercial, antitrust, federal securities, ERISA, consumer finance, and contract claims commenced in state and federal court and on appeal. His recent clients include Oaktree Capital Management, Triumph Group, PNC Bank, N.A., Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, the National Conference of Black Mayors, Harleysville Mutual Insurance Company, Donegal Group Inc., and a major religious group.

In 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit gave David decisive and groundbreaking victories in two separate appeals that he had argued on the same day in 2012. In one of the cases, he represented a major insurer that was sued over a widely used method of paying life insurance benefits. The other involved a national bank that was seeking to block final approval of a multimillion-dollar class settlement. Both were matters of first impression.

In recognition of his ongoing and exceptional contributions to the legal profession in Pennsylvania, David received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 from The Legal Intelligencer.

Representative Matters

  • Under federal election law, guided the successful appeal made by the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to delay the disclosure of the Committee’s financial information to a requesting journalist who was citing the state’s Right-to-Know-Law (RTKL). The Court of Commons Pleas agreed and held that federal election law preempted the state's RTKL.
  • Successfully persuaded the Missouri Supreme Court to hold that Missouri Senate Bill 5 was an unconstitutional special law in connection with his representation of 12 predominantly African-American cities in St. Louis County, Missouri. Missouri Senate Bill 5 sought to cap the amount of fines municipalities in St. Louis County could collect from minor traffic offenses at 12.5% of their annual operating revenues and require them to seek police accreditation for their police forces without state funds—a cap and requirement non-existent in other state municipalities.
  • Led a team that scored a victory in 2014 for the National Conference of Black Mayors President, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, when the Fulton County Superior Court ruled Mayor Johnson and NCBM officers were legitimately elected in 2013; the Ballard Spahr team represented Mayor Johnson and NCBM leadership pro bono.
  • Filed an amicus brief and presented oral argument pro bono on behalf of the Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance, a consortium of Pennsylvania's leading hospitals, universities, and cancer research institutions,resulting in trial and appellate court rulings that preserved $126 million in a settlement payment made by tobacco companies to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for health care costs related to smoking. Members of the consortium are beneficiaries of the tobacco companies' settlement payments made to the Commonwealth.
  • Obtained a favorable ruling for a national insurance company in 2013 when the Third Circuit affirmed on summary judgment the company’s use of “retained asset accounts” for the payment of life insurance benefits.
  • On the same day, persuaded the Third Circuit to uphold the denial of final approval of a $7 million class settlement with a national bank accused of discriminatory lending practices.
  • Persuaded a federal judge in 2013 to decertify a class—and reverse his own decision—in light of a Third Circuit ruling citing state court precedent outlining the contours of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.
  • Led a legal team that successfully defeated attempts by plaintiff’s counsel for policyholders to enjoin the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company merger with Harleysville Mutual Insurance Company.
  • Led a team that represented a leading provider of wireless, cashless micro-transactions and networking services in successfully defeating a proxy contest. In 2012, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction that prohibited the shareholders seeking to take control of the company’s board of directors from making disparaging statements about the incumbent management and board during the proxy contest.
  • In 2006 and 2007, defeated in the Pennsylvania state courts all attempts by the Commissioners of Lancaster County to prevent the construction of the Lancaster County Convention Center.
  • In 2005 and 2006, represented Lucent Technologies and obtained a multimillion-dollar award on its behalf in a market timing lawsuit.
  • Served as lead trial lawyer defending DuPont in a $300 million fraud and breach of contract claim arising out of the sale of a joint venture owned by DuPont and ConAgra; in 2005, after a nonjury trial, the Delaware Superior Court decided all of the issues involved in favor of DuPont, and the decision of the Superior Court was subsequently affirmed by the Delaware Supreme Court.
  • In 2004, obtained a $110 million summary judgment on behalf of PNC Bank and Fleet Bank (now Bank of America) against an insurer based upon a credit risk insurance policy in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.
  • Because of his experience in handling complex commercial litigation, was retained by Northrop Grumman to pursue a $50 million government contract claim against the Air Force; in 1999, completed a 77-day trial before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals in this matter; in 2003, the ASBCA handed down a decision that represented a significant liability victory for Northrop Grumman; in 2005, the ASBCA denied the Air Force's counterclaim.
  • In 1995, represented AT&T Corp. in its successful defense of a $200 million Sherman Act and Communications Act complaint commenced by a reseller of long-distance telephone services; after 12 weeks of trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of AT&T on all of the plaintiff's claims and, in addition, awarded AT&T $669,000 on its counterclaim.
  • In the fall of 1994, represented The Philadelphia Orchestra in a multimillion-dollar claim against The Walt Disney Company arising out of the sale of the "Fantasia" home video containing classical music provided by The Philadelphia Orchestra; after a six-day jury trial, the case was settled.
  • In 1991-1992, represented Litton Industries in winning a landmark decision before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in a RICO and federal securities case arising out of the Dennis Levine insider-trading scandal.

In recent years, David has appeared in federal district courts on behalf of numerous corporate clients in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Phoenix, as well as in Philadelphia.

Professional Activities

American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow

Philadelphia Bar Association

Recognition & Accomplishments

Chambers USA, litigation: general commercial law (Pennsylvania), 2008-2020

The Best Lawyers in America, bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation, 2006-2020

Benchmark Litigation, "Local Litigation Star," Appellate and General Commercial Litigation, 2010-2021

Recipient, The Legal Intelligencer's 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award, for his role in shaping the law in Pennsylvania

The Best Lawyers® Annual Guide To Commercial Litigation, 2009


Profiled in The Legal Intelligencer's July 29, 2014, edition on winning the 2014 Pennsylvania Litigation Department of the Year award for General Litigation

Yale Law School (LL.B. 1966)

Columbia University (A.B. 1963)



U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court