John O'Brien,Sr., Esq.

John has been a litigator for over 30 years handling trials and appeals in the courts of New Jersey and New York.  He has represented corporations, insurers and individuals in product liability, insurance, professional liability, construction, worker’s compensation, property damage, premises liability, motor vehicle, toxic tort, consumer fraud and commercial matters in both federal and state courts as well as administrative agencies.


A cum laude graduate of Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland, John received his juris doctor from American University Washington College of Law, where he was a Dean’s Fellow and a member of the Law Review.  After law school he clerked for the Honorable Frederick C. Kentz, Jr. and James H. Coleman, Jr.

Representative Matters:

  • Received a defense verdict after a two week jury trial in a professional liability/construction defect case.  The claim involved allegedly defective natural rock walls designed by client engineer.  Damages were claimed in access of $4M.  John was able to establish that any problems with the walls were due to a lack of and/or improper maintenance by the plaintiff and not the design.

  • Obtained summary judgment in a wrongful death case.  The decedent was killed when a house, that client was under contract to purchase, was destroyed in an explosion.  Despite the fact that client could not be located, John was able to establish through depositions and documents that client did not have possession, custody or control of the property at the time of the explosion.  The dismissal was affirmed by the Appellate Division.

  • Received summary judgment in a ground water contamination case on behalf of client, a construction management company that was the Redeveloper for a School Demonstration Project.  The source of the contamination was a UST on property acquired for the school and adjoining the plaintiff’s.  Although there is no case law on the issue and the statute is silent, John successfully argued that the immunity for governmental entities involved in redevelopment projects provided under the Brownfields Act should also apply to client, as agent of the City and Board of Education.

  • Obtained dismissal of the complaint client, a geotechnical engineer, in a case involving the collapse of a large retaining wall at a shopping center.  Alleged damages were in excess of $1M.  John successfully argued that New Jersey’s ten-year statute of repose barred the claims against client.

  • Received an Order dismissing the complaint as to client, an architectural firm, in a construction defect/professional liability case.  The plaintiff was a prominent local museum.  Prior to the start of discovery John was able to establish through documents in client’s file that pursuant to the discovery rule the complaint was not timely filed under New Jersey’s six-year statute of limitation for property damage.


“Anatomy of a Defect:  What It Is and the Rules That Apply” – Course Book, Construction Defect Litigation: From A to Z – National Business Institute, 2013

Matthew Bender,1986, Business Law Monographs, “Responding To Products Liability Claims “   “How Should In-Counsel Manage the Defense?” - Toxic Torts Practice Guide (Second Edition), Shepard’s/McGraw-Hill, 1992.

Representative Cases:

  • Hanley v. Quaker Chemical Co., Inc., 29 A.D. 3d 860, 818 N.Y.S.2d 96 (2nd Dept.2006).

  • Kenne Corp. v. United States, 508 U.S.200 (1993).

  • Cook v. Kelmar Construction Company, Inc., 36-2-4681 (App. Div. 2014)

Classes/Seminars Taught:

  • Anatomy of a Defect:  What It Is and The Rules That Apply – Course Book, Construction. Defect Litigation: From A to Z – National Business Institute Conference, 2013.

  • Success Strategies form the Perspective of the Client – AP Panel Discussion, Current. Issues in Asbestos-in-Buildings, Defense Research Institute, Inc. (Moderator).

  • The Art of Preventing and Defending Claims, RIMS Annual Conference (Moderator)

John O'Brien.jpg



Areas of Specialty:

Architect & Engineers 

Construction Defect

General Liability 

Products Liability


American University,College of Law, J.D.

Mount St. Mary’s College, B.S.

Admitted to Practice:
New Jersey

New York

District of Columbia

U.S. District Court  (D.N.J.)
U.S. District Court (D.N.Y.)
U.S. Supreme Court

Associations & Memberships:
New Jersey State Bar Association