Clifford Sacalis

Tel 215.864.8874
Fax 215.864.8999

Clifford Sacalis practices complex commercial litigation, with a primary focus on commercial real estate litigation, insurance coverage matters, and regulatory issues. Cliff represents clients in federal and state trial and appellate courts throughout the United States, in private arbitration, and before various regulatory and governmental entities.

In his commercial and distressed real estate litigation practices, Cliff represents property owners, developers, landlords, tenants, and lenders and servicers for commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS) loans and construction loans. He has deep experience in a variety of commercial leasing and construction disputes, including defense of construction lenders. With respect to distressed real estate, Cliff expertly guides lenders and servicers through the asset recovery process from the filing of foreclosure complaints and appointment of receivers, through judgment execution and prosecution of guarantor actions. Cliff has helped lenders and servicers obtain and execute on over $750 million in distressed real estate judgments.

Cliff also maintains a diverse insurance practice representing insurers, insureds, and brokers. He has defended insurers against breach of contract, bad faith, fraud, negligence, and antitrust claims, and has also represented numerous insureds in declaratory judgment actions. He regularly litigates and counsels clients concerning coverage issues under a variety of policies, including commercial general liability (CGL), property and casualty (P&C), directors and officers (D&O), and professional liability. Cliff also defends clients subject to investigation and/or audit by insurance regulators.

In addition to his litigation practice, Cliff also has significant in-house litigation experience. During an eight-month secondment in 2018 with E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Cliff managed significant environmental tort litigation—both class actions and multidistrict litigation (MDL)—in state and federal courts throughout the country. Cliff also conducted internal investigations and assisted with responses to regulatory requests. He also contributed to a large valuation project critical to the merger and subsequent spinoff of DowDuPont’s materials science, agriculture, and specialty products businesses. Cliff's in-house experience provides him with unique perspective on the challenges faced by in-house counsel in achieving successful results in litigation.

Representative Matters

Real Estate

  • Represented national retailer in AAA arbitration relating to commercial lease, helping to obtain summary judgment on landlord’s $9 million counterclaim and, as second chair in the arbitration, obtaining $2 million arbitration award including interest, costs of arbitration, and attorneys’ fees
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of construction lender in New Jersey federal district court—affirmed by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals—against borrower seeking over $113 million in damages due to alleged failure of lender to fund phased construction
  • Defended construction lender with respect to general contractor’s tortious interference with contract claim for alleged failure to make advances under $3.6 million construction loan agreement
  • Analyzed contracts and disputes pertaining to $1 billion+ guaranteed maximum price (GMP) construction project and advised owner on potential exposure
  • Successfully coordinated foreclosure of five commercial properties constituting a combined $118 million asset spread across five counties in Pennsylvania, including navigation of Pennsylvania’s Deficiency Judgment Act
  • Defended public trust with respect to property of historical and natural significance subject to threat of eminent domain proceedings


  • Defended insurer with respect to state antitrust, fraud, and unjust enrichment claims pertaining to stranger originated life insurance
  • Obtained favorable settlement on behalf of national restaurant chain in declaratory judgment and breach of contract action against CGL insurer regarding coverage for alleged data breach at insured’s restaurants
  • Litigated to a successful conclusion noteworthy cases involving insurance coverage for defective concrete in Connecticut
  • Obtained favorable settlement on behalf of policyholder with significant underlying health conditions in action against insurer for wrongful termination of a $2.2 million life insurance policy
  • Represented mutual association seeking claim priority in liquidation proceedings with respect to a Pennsylvania insurer

Recognition & Accomplishments

Named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyers® Rising Star, Business Litigation (2020)


Co-author, “What to Expect From Motions for Centralization of COVID-19 Business Interruption Cases in an MDL,” Ballard Spahr LLP alert, May 14, 2020

Co-author, “Early Lawsuit Tests Availability of Business Interruption Coverage for Coronavirus Losses,” Ballard Spahr LLP alert, March 20, 2020

Contributor, "Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Civil Practice Manual, 19th Edition," December 1, 2019

“Ninth Circuit Reverses ECOA Violation Ruling,” Ballard Spahr LLP Mortgage Banking Update, January 7, 2016

“Use Law School Skills To Adapt in the First Year,” The Legal Intelligencer, September 10, 2013

Speaking Engagements

Speaker, “Cyber-Insurance: An Integral Part of Any Commercial Insurance Program,” Pennsylvania Bar Institute CLE, July 11, 2016

“Civil Practice and Procedure in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas,” Pennsylvania Bar Institute CLE, June 17, 2015

Villanova University School of Law (J.D. 2012, magna cum laude)
Managing Editor, Villanova Law Review Symposia; Member, Order of the Coif

James Madison University (B.A. 2009)

New Jersey


U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit