Pennsylvania State University, B.A.
Temple University's Beasley School of Law, J.D.
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Nick Cummins is a member of the firm. He began working at Bennett, Bricklin & Saltzburg LLC as a law clerk in 2005, while he earned his Juris Doctor from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. While in law school Nick received a number of citations for outstanding writing and oral advocacy. After graduating cum laude in 2006, Nick accepted an associate position in the Philadelphia office. He became a member in January 2015. From 2013 to 2018 he was named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer® Rising Star. Nick was also recently named Super Lawyer® Rising Star in New Jersey in 2018.[i]
Nick’s work is varied, but focuses primarily on construction law, premises liability, civil rights litigation and appellate advocacy. He has received his OSHA 10 certification and frequently represents construction contractors, municipalities, school districts, and police officers in personal injury and property damages claims. Nick is a co-head of the firm’s Municipal Liability and Civil Rights Litigation practice group. Nick is a member of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey bars, and is also admitted to practice in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the District of New Jersey and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Construction and Premises Liability:
In the first six years of his career, the majority Nick’s practice was dedicated to the defense of construction-related personal injury and property damage claims, as well as premises liability personal injury claims. He continues to perform this work through the present. He is intimately familiar with, and frequently handles, issues related to Pennsylvania’s statutory employer defense, the borrowed servant defense, defenses available to a landlord out of possession, and the general non-liability of an entity for work entrusted to an independent contractor. As almost all construction claims, and many premises liability claims, involve subcontracts incorporating indemnity and insurance requirements, Nick frequently prosecutes and defends against claims for reimbursement and defense tenders under indemnity agreements, the breach of contractual provisions to procure additional insured coverage, and declaratory judgment actions against insurers seeking additional insured coverage purchased as part of a construction contract. Many of the construction claims Nick has handled have involved serious injuries, including paraplegia, multiple surgeries, complicated fractures, and closed head injuries. Most require the retention of multiple experts to address liability, orthopedics, life care planning, vocational implications, and economics. Nick also defends contractors in construction defect claims.
In the construction context, Nick frequently represents general contractors, subcontractors, and property owners named in suits. Nick has also defended employers otherwise protected by workers compensation immunity that have been joined on indemnity and additional insured cross claims. With respect to premises liability, Nick represents retailers and private property owners for claims arising out of slip and falls, and other injuries while on premises. Nick has represented municipalities and school districts in premises and construction cases.
Municipal Liability and Civil Rights Claims:
Approximately thirty percent of Nick’s practice involves the defense of police officers against civil rights claims. Those claims are primarily for false arrest, malicious prosecution, and excessive force. Nick has defended dozens of police cases on behalf of government defendants. Nick is well versed in claims arising under the Fourth Amendment, qualified immunity defenses, and Monell claims against government agencies. Virtually all of these claims are litigated in the federal district courts.
In addition to police civil rights claims, Nick also defends school districts and municipalities against civil rights claims arising under the Fourteenth Amendment on state-created-danger grounds, substantive and procedural due process claims, and First Amendment retaliatory prosecution suits.
In addition to the items listed above, Nick defends municipalities and school districts in automobile accident and premises liability claims. He is well versed in the defenses available to municipal entities under the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act.
Nick handles or consults on many of the firm’s appellate matters. Nick has handled appeals to the Superior and Commonwealth Courts of Pennsylvania, the New Jersey Appellate Division, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Nick successfully authored the Petition for Certification to the Supreme Court of New Jersey in Townsend v. Pierre, 221 N.J. 36 (2014), as well as the underlying brief in the Appellate Division, obtaining a reversal for his client before the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Townsend addresses the required factual underpinnings for expert reports in New Jersey. Nick also co-authored the amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on behalf of the Pennsylvania Defense Institute in Babcock & Wilcox Co. v. American Nuclear Insurers, 2015 WL 4430352 (Pa. Jul. 21, 2015). The brief was quoted in the lead opinion.
Nick was born in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, but has lived all around the country. His prior states of residence include New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas and Maryland. He returned to Pennsylvania in 1999 to attend the Pennsylvania State University, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in English in 2003. He currently resides in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey with his wife and two sons.
Supreme Court Permits Unilateral Settlement of Suits by Insured, Counterpoint April 2016
[i] The Super Lawyers® list is issued by Thomson Reuters under criteria applied by Super Lawyers®. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.superlawyers.com/about/selection_process.html. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court or the Supreme Court of New Jersey.