Melanie J. Garner

ERISA • Employment Law

Melanie J. Garner

Philadelphia Asbestos, Mass Tort, Personal Injury, and ERISA Lawyer

Melanie J. Garner is of counsel to the firm and has nearly 15 years of experience forcefully advocating on behalf of her clients in state and federal courts throughout the country. She has significant experience litigating various mass tort and personal injury claims, as well as litigating ERISA employee benefits claims. Since 2008, Melanie has represented plaintiffs and their family members helping them to recover millions of dollars in asbestos, mass tort, personal injury, and “qui tam” whistleblower cases in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and elsewhere.

Personal Attention

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A large portion of Melanie’s practice includes representing mesothelioma victims, including those with occupational and other exposures to asbestos. In addition, she has litigated cases involving products liability and exposures to other toxic chemicals, including benzene and lead paint, class actions and other mass tort claims, including those involving defective medical products.  Melanie has also litigated various other types of personal injury actions on behalf of those injured through the negligence or intentional conduct of others, including premises liability, motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and nursing home abuse cases. In addition to recovering millions of dollars on behalf of her clients, her work has held defendants, including many large corporations and employers, accountable for their wrongful conduct.


Melanie also represents former professional and college football players suffering from catastrophic injuries, disabilities, latent brain disease and other cognitive impairments, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (“CTE”).  She has pursued these claims as a part of the NFL Concussion Litigation Settlement and has also litigated individual lawsuits against the NCAA and private universities on behalf of former professional and student athletes and their family members.  In recent years, she was part of the team that won a significant victory before the Supreme Court of Ohio in Schmitz v. Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, 122 N.E.3d 80 (2018), which established significant precedent regarding the application of the “discovery rule” to the statute of limitations in such cases.


Melanie also has significant experience representing workers who “blew the whistle” and reported Medicare and other fraud conducted by their employers against federal and state governments.  These cases, called “qui tam” cases, permit an employee who has not participated in the fraud to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the government in order to recover on its behalf.  Individuals who bring these suits are described as “relators,” and, in certain situations, they are entitled to share in the government’s recovery.


  • “Maximizing Non-Economic Damages at Trial,” Pennsylvania Association for Justice Annual Retreat, July 2020
  • “Mass Torts: What’s Hot and What’s Not in 2020,” Pennsylvania Association for Justice, Winter Member Meeting, Bethelehem, Pennsylvania, January 2020
  • “Jurisdictional Updates,” Perrin Mid-Atlantic Asbestos Conference, Wilmington, Delaware, June 2019
  • “Finding and Retaining Women Lawyers,” Women’s Breakfast, Perrin Mid-Atlantic Asbestos Conference, Wilmington, Delaware, June 2019
  • “The ABCs of Complex Litigation: Asbestos, Benzene CRPS and More,” Legal Intelligencer CLE, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 2016
  • “Social Media Evidence: Finding It, Getting It and Using It,” Pennsylvania Association for Justice 34th Annual Auto Law Conference, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 2016
  • “Off the Beaten Path – The Rules of Successful Qui Tam Litigation,” New Jersey Association for Justice Mass Tort – Boardwalk Seminar 2016, Atlantic City, New Jersey, April 2016



Melanie was nominated and selected by her peers as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2018 and 2019, and as Super Lawyer in 2020.


University of Miami School of Law

Juris Doctor, 2004

Flagler College

B.A., summa cum laude, 2000

Judicial Clerkship

Law Clerk to the Honorable Ronald B. Graves, J.A.D.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, 2004-2005

Bar Admissions

  • Pennsylvania, 2012
  • New Jersey, 2004
  • Maryland, 2005
  • District of Columbia, 2005
  • New York, 2007
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 2013
  • U.S. District Court for District of New Jersey, 2011
  • ​U.S. District Court for District of Maryland, 2006

Professional Associations

Fellow of the American Bar Foundation

Pennsylvania Association for Justice

  • Chair, Women Leaders Section
  • Member, Board of Governors
  • Member, Diversity Committee

American Association for Justice

  • Co-Chair, State Trial Lawyer Associations Outreach Committee
  • Women Trial Lawyers’ Caucus

Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association

Philadelphia Bar Association

  • Member, Women in the Profession Committee

Pennsylvania Bar Association

  • Member, Women in the Profession Committee

American Bar Association

  • Member, Section of Litigation, The Woman Advocate Committee

Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law J. Willard O’Brien American Inn of Court


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