PAUL B. O’FLAHERTY, JR., is a trial and appellate lawyer with the Chicago law firm of Gunty & McCarthy. He represents businesses, professionals, insurers and individuals in disputes giving rise to civil lawsuits, arbitration, and mediation proceedings. Paul is a native Chicagoan, who has focused on litigation practice in Chicago and Illinois for 35 years. During that time, he has represented clients in hundreds of cases in Illinois and federal trial courts, federal bankruptcy court, and arbitration forums. Paul’s litigation experience extends to both tort and commercial disputes. His tort litigation experience includes the defense of toxic tort, product liability, medical malpractice and other professional malpractice matters, premises liability, defamation and Internet related litigation. On the commercial side, he has handled contract, employment, bankruptcy, trademark, consumer protection, class-action, insurance and reinsurance cases.
Toxic Torts – Paul brings great depth of experience to the defense of toxic tort lawsuits. He first became involved in the defense of asbestos cases in 1985, representing the Asbestos Claims Facility and the Center for Claims Resolution in Chicago. He was closely involved in the initial drafting and later revision of the case management arrangement governing asbestos cases in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Over thirty years, Paul has represented insulation manufacturers, construction contractors, industrial equipment manufacturers, and other clients in the defense of hundreds of asbestos claims. In addition to asbestos litigation, Paul has also successfully defended personal-injury claims arising from a variety of other alleged toxic exposures including latex, talc, formaldehyde, and other chemicals.
Medical Malpractice – The representation of physicians and other health professionals in defense of medical malpractice claims has been another significant focus of Paul’s practice and litigation experience. Since the 1980s, he has been involved in the defense of over 100 such cases, for clients including the University of Illinois, the Illinois State Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and other health providers. In terms of subject matter, Paul has defended cases involving a wide variety of medical and dental specialties, including geriatric medicine, internal medicine, infectious diseases, obstetrics, gynecology, neonatology, radiology, transplant surgery, vascular surgery, cardiac and cardiothoracic surgery, pediatric surgery, orthopedic surgery, otolaryngology and ENT surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, psychiatry, dentistry and oral surgery.
Legal Malpractice – Paul has represented lawyers in cases alleging malpractice or other misconduct, arising from issues in real estate practice, estate planning, litigation, spoliation of evidence, and statutory violations.
Internet and Computer Law – Recognizing the impact of computers and the Internet on business and legal affairs, Paul pursued advanced studies in the field of Information Technology Law at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, culminating in an LL.M. degree in Information Technology Law with honors in 2007. His studies included coursework on the subjects of Information Law and Policy, Cyberspace Law, Computers and the Law, Privacy Rights, Free Speech in Cyberspace, Intellectual Property in the Digital Environment, E-commerce, Electronic Discovery, and Information Security. With the benefit of his specialized background in this area, Paul has represented clients in a variety of Internet related disputes including Internet defamation, attempted state regulation an out-of-state website operator, consumer fraud perpetrated via the Internet, and computer system and software litigation.
Business and Commercial Litigation – Paul likewise his considerable background representing individuals, businesses, and not for-profit entities in business and commercial litigation. His experience extends to disputes involving contracts, employment, trademarks and copyrights, bankruptcy, consumer protection, insurance, reinsurance, and the control of corporate and not-for-profit entities.
Religious Institution Litigation – Representation of churches, clergy, and church trustees in lawsuits arising from congregational disputes and control issues, as well as zoning litigation against municipalities discriminating against First Amendment Free Exercise rights.
Appellate Practice – Paul is also an experienced appellate lawyer, who has participated in over 50 appeals and appeared repeatedly in the Illinois Appellate Court, the Illinois Supreme Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Most recently in Estate of Farfan v. Commonwealth Edison, his efforts saw summary judgment for the defendant upheld, in a case arising from multiple-plaintiff electrocution death and injury claims.
• Supreme Court of Illinois, 1980
• U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, General Bar 1980, Trial Bar 1986
• U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit, 1983
• U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan, 1991
• U.S. District Court Southern District of Illinois, 2015