Dennis is a senior litigation partner who has used his advocacy skills and analytical judgment to guide clients through strategically sensitive legal problems for over three decades. The mainstay of Dennis’s career has been representing clients in major complex litigation at trial throughout New York State and in others in the Northeast. In addition to his active products liability practice, as chair of the Professional Liability Practice Area, Dennis represents professionals, primarily in the legal and health care fields, in malpractice actions. He has served as a national and regional counsel for two major companies, either managing or directly litigating their highest-exposure cases throughout the U.S.
Dennis was recognized by his peers as Best Lawyers in America’s Lawyer of the Year in 2016 for Product Liability Defense in the Buffalo, New York, area. In 2015, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award for Private Practice from the University at Buffalo School of Law. In 2014, Dennis was recognized as the Defense Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Western New York Defense Trial Lawyers Association.
In recognition of his standing in the Western New York legal community, Dennis was invited by the chief judge of the Western District of New York to the court’s panel of mediators. This experience has helped Dennis further refine his skills to advocate for companies in a variety of alternative dispute venues.
Dennis is widely sought after to lecture on litigation and professional liability and has presented across the country . In 2014, Dennis co-chaired the American Conference Institute’s biennial conference on Lawyer Professional Liability in New York City. He serves as an expert witness in cases involving trial practice, ethics, and lawyer liability.
- Represented a relator in a false claims act against the guidant corporation, venued in the District of Minnesota. The claim involved the sale of allegedly defective indwelling cardiac defibrillators to Medicare and the Veteran’s Administration. After initially declining to intervene, the Department of Justice filed a complaint on behalf of the federal government. The key development of the case was successfully opposing a motion brought by the defendants to dismiss the realtor’s claim. After three years of litigation, the matter was settled in 2013 for $30 million.
- Represented six New York law firms in an action against 35 law firms seeking to vacate tens of thousands of default judgments entered against various consumers with a cumulative value of over $1 billion. The claim was based on a charge that some process servers may have submitted fraudulent affidavits of service falsely stating attempts to deliver process had been made. The firms involved claimed no awareness of this fraud. A settlement was negotiated that avoided any direct monetary impact on the firms in exchange for giving judgment debtors another chance to raise any defenses they might have had to the initial action.
- Represented a trustee appointed by the Bankruptcy Court of the Northern District of New York in more than 35 actions against a variety of accounting and law firms arising from a Ponzi scheme perpetrated by the Bennett Funding Group. There were negotiated settlements in many of the proceedings and some notable dismissals based on the doctrine of in pari delicto. A case against an AmLaw 100 law firm, which sought an expansion of lawyer liability in these types of cases, has particular significance in cases brought in recent years arising from various fraudulent schemes, most notably the one involving Bernard Madoff.
- University at Buffalo School of Law, J.D., Buffalo Law Review, Case & Comment Editor; Moot Court Board, Senior Member; Desmond Moot Court, Best Brief Award, 1977
- University of Notre Dame, B.A., with honors, 1973
- New York, 1978
- U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
- Defense Research Institute, Products Liability Committee, Steering Committee and Mass Torts, Special Litigation Group, Co-Chair
- New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), Torts, Insurance & Compensation Law Section, Executive Committee; Chair, Committee on Association Insurance
- Erie County Bar Association, Health Law Committee, Litigation Committee
- CytoJournal, Advisory Board Member
- SUNY Buffalo Law School, Dean's Advisory Council Member and Former Annual Fund Committee Chair
- NYSBA Torts, Insurance & Compensation Law Section, General Awards Committee Chair
- Local Chair, "Legal Malpractice 2017," New York State Bar Association, Rochester, New York, March 2017
- Speaker and Program Chair, "Risk Management 2016," New York State Bar Association, Rochester and Buffalo, New York, Fall 2016
- Co-Author, "One Year Later, Law Partners Reflect on Barclay Damon Merger," Buffalo Law Journal, August 2016
- "Risk Management for Lawyers," Erie County Institute of Law, Buffalo,New York, April 2016
- "Risk Management CLE," New York State Bar Association, Buffalo, New York, April 2015
- "Legal Malpractice 2015," New York State Bar Association, Rochester, New York, March 2015
- Co-Chair, American Conference Institute’s Advanced Forum on LPL/Legal Malpractice, 2014
- "Law Firm Risk Management," New York State Bar Association, November 2014
- Panelist, "Risk Management 360," New York State Bar Association Annual Meeting, January 2014
- Local Chair, "Legal Malpractice 2013," New York State Bar Association, Buffalo, New Yorkk, March 2013
- Local Chair, "Risk Management 2012—Protect Your Practice," New York State Bar Association, Amherst, New York, September 2012
- "CLE Goes to the Movies—Trial Technique Pointers From the Golden Screen," Trial Attorneys of America, Chicago, June 2012
- "Law Firm Risk Management Basics: Staying Out of Court … As a Defendant," Trial Attorneys of America, Chicago, June 2012
- "Advanced Trial Tactics," NBI, Buffalo, New York, June 2012
- Speaker and Co-Chair, "LPL/Legal Malpractice Claims and Litigation," American Conference Institute, New York City, May-June 2012
- The Best Lawyers in America®: Buffalo Product Liability Litigation - Defendants "Lawyer of the Year," 2017
- The Best Lawyers in America®: Personal Injury Litigation—Defendants and Product Liability Litigation—Defendants, 2013-2019
- Selected to Super Lawyers Upstate New York: Personal Injury - Products: Defense, 2007-2018
- University at Buffalo School of Law's Distinguished Alumnus Award for Private Practice, 2015
- Defense Trial Lawyers of Western New York’s Robert M. Kiebala Memorial Award, Defense Trial Lawyer of the Year, 2014
- Buffalo Law Journal, Legal Elite, 2014
- Buffalo Law Review Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2007
- New York State Bar Association Torts, Insurance, and Compensation Law Section's John Leech Award, 2004
- Martindale-Hubbell “AV” Peer Review Rated for Very High to Preeminent Ethical Standards and Legal Ability
- Hiscock & Barclay, LLP, Partner