achirls@finemanlawfirm.com

Andrew A. Chirls

Specialties

Business/Commercial
Class Action
Discovery
Land Use
Mass Tort
Multi District Litigation
Personal Injury
Pharmaceutical
Product Liability
Settlement Administration

Mr. Chirls is known for his practice in class actions and multi-district or class litigation. He was appointed in 2013 by the United States District Court in Philadelphia to oversee and resolve discovery disputes in the Zoloft Birth Defects multi-district litigation. He serves by appointment of the Court as Fund Administrator in the Avandia multi-district litigation. Mr. Chirls has been class counsel in a number of securities cases, and represented the AHP Settlement Trust, which administered a $4.3 billion class settlement from the marketing of the diet drug Fen Phen. He was the first lawyer to represent a plaintiff in an AIDS/HIV discrimination case before a jury in Pennsylvania, and was lead defense counsel in a class action involving exposure to toxic metals at a dialysis clinic.

Mr. Chirls also tried several contract cases arising from mergers, acquisitions and dissolutions. He is recognized as an authority in the field of property rights and condemnation law, involving the constitutional rights of property owners when governments and utility companies take property for public projects.

Mr. Chirls was elected Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 2005, He was also chairman of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, president of Philadelphia-based BalletX, and a long-time board member of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. He currently serves on the American Law Institute and Academy of Court Appointed Masters.

He is a graduate of the University Pennsylvania and the law school of the University of California at Berkeley. He has served on the CLE faculties of the Pa Bar Institute, Georgetown University and the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association, in addition to authoring numerous legal articles.

Among his many awards are: the International Human Rights Award from the International Human Rights Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association; Michael Greenberg Community Service Award from Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia (GALLOP); Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, Professional in Human Relations Award; and the Jewish Social Policy Action Network ("JSPAN"), Social Justice Award.

Case List

Negotiation of termination payout for 38 physician limited partners in a medical equipment investment, at 7 times the termination payout originally proffered by the management of the partnership.
 
Establishment of title in and right to sell vintage 20th-Century photography work prints gifted to client by internationally renowned artist despite claim by artist’s estate that client had wrongful possession and gift was invalid.

Representation of parties in litigation over purchases and sales of businesses, both publicly traded and privately owned.

Law firm partnership breakup—resolution of disputes over rights to fees and reimbursements for costs in contingency cases for which firm was responsible.

Eminent domain: disputes over valuation and right to take real property for public works projects and energy developments, including natural gas facility in Northeast Pennsylvania and including highways and bridges.

Negotiation of purchase of multi-unit apartment building.

Negotiation of severance agreements, include amelioration of restrictive covenants and maintenance of bonus rights, upon severance of employment.
Appointed by Hon. Cynthia Rufe, United States District Court for Eastern District of Pennsylvania, as Special Discovery Master in multi-district Zoloft Products Liability Litigation.

Management of $140 million common benefit fund in national multi-district products liability litigation arising from ingestion of Avandia, following court appointment, and following service as assistant special discovery master.

Served as counsel to AHP Settlement Trust in connection with claims resolution and processing in $4 billion dollar class action settlement of Diet Drug (Fen Phen) Products Liability Litigation.

Arguments in 15 cases in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, twice in Pennsylvania Supreme Court and additional arguments in intermediate Pennsylvania appellate courts.

Reports and testimony as expert witness on conduct of business litigation.

Representation of clergy and religious organizations in disputes over ownership of religious property and right to use religious names and designations.

Represented plaintiff in the first AIDS and HIV discrimination case ever presented to a jury in Pennsylvania.

Honors Membership Awards

  • International Human Rights Award from the International Human Rights Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association, January 1998.
  • Michael Greenberg Community Service Award from Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia (GALLOP), October 1998.
  • Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, Professional in Human Relations Award, 2002.
  • Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund award for pursuit of civil rights, 2003.
  • Gay and Lesbian Professional Network of Philadelphia Community Service Award, 2005.
  • Equality Advocates Pennsylvania, service award, 2005.
  • Jewish Social Policy Action Network ("JSPAN"), Social Justice Award, 2006.
  • Human Rights Campaign Special Recognition Award for pro bono service, 2006.
  • Lambda Legal Defense service award, 2010.
  • Course planner for Pennsylvania Bar Institute course:  “Eminent Domain after Kelo,” September 2006
  • Faculty member for Pennsylvania Bar Institute Course:  “Annual Survey of Developments in Municipal Law,” 2006
  • Course planner on relations and communications between attorneys and in-house corporate counsel, sponsored by Delaware Valley Asso. Of Corporate Counsel, 2006
  • Faculty Member of Georgetown University CLE Institute for Advance Real Estate Litigation Strategy, 2007
  • Author: The law of Eminent Domain in Pennsylvania (compiled by ABA Real Estate Section), 2012
  • Member, American Law Institute
  • Member, Philadelphia Bar Association Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention, Investigative Division
  • American Inn of Court of the Beasley School of Law at Temple University
  • Philadelphia Bar Association, Chancellor 2005—elected as leader of 13,000 member voluntary bar association
  • Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations—member and chairman, 1990-1992
  • Philadelphia Bar Association Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention—member 2000-06
  • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania—member of Special Committee on Gender Fairness and Racial Bias in the Courts, gender bias subcommittee, 2004-06
  • Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund—board member and secretary 1988-94
  • BalletX—Board member and president 2006-12