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Wesley R. Payne, IV Partner

Chair, Diversity Committee and Co-Chair, Pro Bono Committee
Philadelphia, PA | Direct 215.864.7076Fax 215.789.7573
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Wes Payne has over 28 years of experience representing insurance carriers and insureds in first and third-party litigation matters. His ten years as a trial and managing attorney for a major insurance carrier provides him with additional insight with respect to evaluating and seeking creative and cost-effective solutions to complex litigation issues, particularly asbestos, general litigation and coverage matters. 

Wes defends clients in product and premise liability matters. Another aspect of his practice is defending clients in asbestos personal injury litigation and serving as the coordinator for the defense medical expert preparation program which is responsible for the selection and retention of medical experts in all of the asbestos personal injury litigation cases tried in the Philadelphia area.

He has tried over 50 major jury trials in various state and federal courts and received defense verdicts in a number of wrongful death, product liability and negligence actions. Wes has successfully defended insurance bad faith, extra-contractual damages, disability, ERISA, general negligence, intellectual property and copyright, asbestos, product liability, toxic tort, mass tort, environmental, construction, commercial auto, wrongful death and coverage cases.

Wes has also has litigated a number of high exposure cases in various jurisdictions throughout the country. Whether the case involves catastrophic injuries, significant damages, multiple plaintiffs or complex legal or factual scenarios, he provides clients with the best options and advice to resolve the dispute in the most favorable manner.

In addition to his third-party litigation practice, Wes has a proven track record of achieving significant results for his insurance clients in insurance coverage and bad faith disputes. He has also represented insurers in disputes relating to agent agreements. Wes works with clients to provide excellent results and to limit their potential exposure. He also counsels clients on coverage issues arising primarily out of commercial general insurance policies in an effort to prevent the need for extended and expensive litigation. Whether the case involves catastrophic injuries, significant damages, multiple plaintiffs or complex legal or factual scenarios, Wes provides clients with the best options and advice to resolve the dispute in the most favorable manner.

Wes is Chair of the firm's Diversity Committee, Co-Chair of the Pro Bono Committee and Chair of the firm's Homeless Advocacy Group. He is a former member of the Operations, Budget and Executive Committees. He also serves on several pro bono and civil boards and as a Judge Pro Tem for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Wes is active in several legal organizations, holding leadership positions with many of them.

Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel (PADC)

  • Past President

Philadelphia Diversity Law Program

  • Immediate Past President

Homeless Advocacy Project

  • Board Member

Pennsylvania Bar Association

  • Minority Governor-at-Large
  • Member, House of Delegates
  • Past Co-Chair, Minority Bar Committee
  • Co-Chair, Military & Veterans Affairs Committee
  • Statewide Mock Trial Competition Panelist

Philadelphia Bar Association

  • Co-Chair, Insurance Committee

 Pennsylvania Defense Institute

Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network

  • Immediate Past President

 Bethesda Project

  • President of the Board

Representative Matters

  • Zaltsman v. New Flyer (P.C.C.P. 2015) Received defense verdict for client in a negligence and product liability matter tried before a jury
  • Harford v. Delaware Tool & Machine Co., Inc. (E.D.Pa. 2015) Motion for Summary Judgment granted for Insurance carrier in Declaratory Judgment action 
  • Harford v. Peterman (WD Pa. 2014) Received Judgment on the Pleadings in favor of Insurance carrier in Declaratory Judgment action regarding denial of UM/UIM benefits to insured injured in another vehicle
  • 220 Broad Street LLC v. Bellevue Associates LLC (P.C.C.P. 2012) tried property damage case and received a defense verdict on behalf of building owners and management companies in contract and negligence action in which plaintiff alleged defendants failed to properly maintain the sprinkler system which lead to an unexplained activation of a sprinkler head and resulting in over $220,000 of property damage
  • Harford Mutual Insurance Companies v. Downtowners Fancy Brigade (P.C.C.P, 2011) represented insurer in Declaratory Judgment and coverage action based upon alcohol exclusion of General Liability Insurance Policy
  • Roberts, et al v. Francis, et. al.; representing insured in negligence action and punitive damage action brought on behalf of 34 Plaintiffs and successfully resolved
  • Fine Line Homes, Inc. et. al. v. Kornerstone Custom Builders, LLC et al., Civil Action No. 4:10-CV-01163 (M.D.Pa., September 10, 2010, Caldwell, J.); represented defendant in an architectural copyright infringement matter in which multiple violations were alleged and the matter was amicably mediated prior to the initiation of discovery
  • Purcell v. PPL Electric Utility Co., et al, B.C.C.P. Docket No. 0500794-13-2, (January, 2008, Mellon, J.); tried catastrophic injury case to verdict on behalf of self-insured utility company
  • Hayes v. Ohio National Financial Services, Inc., 2008 WL 3852241 (E.D.Pa., August 19, 2008, Pollak, J.); represented an insurance carrier against an agent seeking  a declaratory judgment action in which the agent sought to retain proprietary materials  and customer information; successfully removed the case to Federal Court and obtained expedited hearing which lead to the resolution of the matter in favor of the carrier
  • Kosandra v. Ohio National, Civil Action No. 2:05-cv-03673 (E.D.Pa. September 14, 2007, Giles, Pres, J.); represented insurance carrier in consolidated claim by agents and brokers for commissions related to BOLI products and successfully had claim dismissed with prejudice in the early stage of the litigation  
  • Coleman v. QPS, C.C.C.P.; represented moving company in auto accident claim in which plaintiff lost his leg and acting career; case settled after cross examination of plaintiff for substantially less than demand
  • Bear v. Harford, 2005 WL 3054354 (E.D.Pa., November 14, 2005, Pratter, J.); represented the insurance carrier and motion to dismiss granted and statutory insurance bad faith claim under 42 Pa. C.S.A. §8371and Unfair Trade Practices (UTPCPL) claim dismissed with prejudice
  • Thomas v. Harford, 2004 WL 1172882 (Del. Super., April 20, 2004, Ridgely, Pres. J.); represented insurance carrier in bad faith claim and successfully prevented the release of highly proprietary business and privileged documents from being released to plaintiff during discovery
  • Mann v. Unum, 2003 WL 22917545 (E.D.Pa., November 25, 2003, McLaughlin, J.); 2003 WL 22436276 (E.D.Pa., May 27, 2003, McLaughlin, J.); 2003 WL 22436277 (E.D.Pa., May 20, 2003, McLaughlin, J.); represented insurance carrier in insurance bad faith claim  and obtained order denying plaintiff’s request for broad  based business practice discovery; defeated plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and summary judgment entered on behalf of client on bad faith claim
  • Hevener v. Paul Revere, 2002 WL 1969492 (E.D.Pa., August 26, 2002, Padova, J.); represented several insurance carriers in ERISA and bad faith claim; claim was dismissed, extraneous carriers dismissed and verdict entered in favor of remaining carrier
  • Bell v. UnumProvident Corp., 222 F. Supp. 2d 692 (E.D.Pa., 2002); represented insurance carrier in breach of contract and bad faith claim; successfully removed case to federal court; bad faith claim dismissed and breach of contract claim to an ERISA claim significantly reducing potential recoverable damages 
  • Brown v. Paul Revere, 2002 WL 1019021 (E.D.Pa., May 20, 2002, Shapiro, J); represented insurance carrier in breach of contract and bad faith claim; effectively limited broad based discovery; plaintiff’s bad faith and extra-contractual damage claims dismissed and breach of contract claim converted to an ERISA claim significantly reducing potential recoverable damages
  • Mario DeVita, Administrator of the Estate of Lois J. DeVita, v. Thomas Schickling, Individually and d/b/a Nash Real Estate, Inc., et al. , P.C.C.P.; represented insured in wrongful death and intentional tort and significant psychiatric claim case and received defense verdict
  • Holbrook v. John Crane Inc., 80 F.3d 777 (3 rd Cir. 1996), retrial affirmed, 135 F.3d 764 (3 rd Cir. 1997); represented an insured in a wrongful death action; prevailed twice at the trial court level and the verdict was upheld on appeal

Recognition & Involvement

Wes is an AV® Preeminent rated attorney by the Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating system. In 2012, he was recognized by The Legal Intelligencer as an "Unsung Hero" for his dedication and service to the pro bono community. He is a recipient of the 2012 Multicultural Leadership Award and named as one of the "Top 60 African American Attorneys in Philadelphia" by the Philadelphia Tribune. In 2015, Wes received The Honorable William F. Hall Award from The Barristers' Association of Philadelphia, Inc. for his service to the community. He was also named a Pennsylvania "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyers from 2012-2018.




Bar and Court Admissions



U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania

U.S. District Court for Maryland


University of Maryland School of Law, JD, 1988

  • President, Student Bar Association

Washington Lee University, BA, cum laude, 1985


Pennsylvania Bar Association

Pennsylvania Defense Institute

Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel

Philadelphia Bar Association

Philadelphia Diversity Law Group

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