2007 Maryland Trial Lawyer of the Year

Source: Maryland Trial Lawyers Association

Mr. Pels was born and raised in Maryland and is married with five children. He is active in both the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Lourdes parishes. His children have attended Blessed Sacrament, Lourdes, Mater Dei, Georgetown Visitation (where Mr. Pels served as the President of the Father’s Club in 2016-17) and Gonzaga College High School.

Areas of Practice:

Complex Litigation
Significant personal injury/wrongful death/medical malpractice
Business Litigation
Contract Litigation
MTBI – Severe Brain Trauma Litigation
Construction Defect Litigation
Insurance CGL Litigation
Estate Litigation
Fiduciary Duty Litigation
Commercial General Liability Insurance Dispute Litigation
Construction Litigation (Plaintiff and Defendant)
Commercial Contract Disputes (Plaintiff and Defendant)
Consumer Class Actions
Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices
Real Estate Transactions
Bankruptcy (Chapter 11 and consumer – Debtor / Creditor)
Consumer Related Litigation ranging in all areas of law
Banking OCC Compliance and Violations
Consumer Class Actions
Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices
Real Estate Transactions
Quiet Title Litigation
Landlord-Tenant Litigation
Corporate Structure / Incorporation
Will, Estates, Trusts
Banking Violations
Foreclosure Practice including Defense and Docketing

If someone asked me to describe Jon Pels I would probably say “Smart, tenacious bulldog!”  That’s the ultimate compliment from me.

Mark Simon, Former Owner, Sodibar Systems

Litigation Percentage:

95% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions:

Maryland, 1993
Virginia, 1996
District of Columbia, 1996
U.S. District Court District of Maryland, 1994

Education:

University of Dayton School of Law, Dayton, Ohio, 1993, J.D.
Honors: Winner, Honorable Walter J. Rice Moot Court Competition, 1991
Honors: Member, Constitutional Law Moot Court Team,1992
Law Review: University of Dayton Law Review, Member, 1991 – 1992
Law Review: University of Dayton Law Review, Associate Editor, 1992 – 1993, Villanova University,1990, B.A.

1986 graduate of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School

Representative Cases:

Obtained unanimous jury verdict, 6 to 0, from Fairfax Circuit Court jury awarding punitive damages on behalf of clients (Fairfax County Circuit Court, 2019)

Obtained unanimous 12 to 0 jury verdict on behalf of one of the leading innovative gun manufacturers in the nation for breach of contract, fraud and unjust enrichment claims against gun sale companies and their principals on behalf of gun manufacturer (Idaho Supreme Ct., October 2018). After three weeks of a jury trial with more than 343 exhibits, a unanimous jury verdict came back finding fraud, among other things, against four separate defendants in the amount of $659,576, $294,356, $659,576, and $294,356 on behalf of Mr. Pels’ client, SRM Arms.) (“Jon and his team at Pels Law have been representing our company for several years in a very complicated case. The level of expertise and work ethic they provide are extraordinary and instrumental in overcoming the legal obstacles of today’s “injustice system.” We are very lucky to have Pels Law in our corner during this years long battle.”)

In this bitterly contested intra-family dispute, obtained joint and several judgment against the owner’s former company after taking over the case from prior counsel. (March, 2018) (Sodibar, et al. v. Mark Simon, et al., Prince Georges County Circuit Court, Case No.: CAL 13-30468) (“If someone asked me to describe Jon Pels I would probably say ‘smart tenacious bulldog!’ That’s the ultimate compliment from me.” – Mark Simon).

In this bitterly contested property division dispute, obtained favorable settlement after contentious litigation. (Circuit Court Montgomery County July 2019) (“The Pels Law Firm superseded my expectations for my litigation needs. Their diverse staff of senior lawyers and supportive staff ensured my case was handled with expedience and at a reasonable cost. Fortunately their expertise avoided the need for my case to go to trial; however, I had utmost confidence the litigation superiority of The Pels Law Firm would have been successful. I was able to avoid escalating cost by the adept plan to settle. I would use them again and highly recommend The Pels Law Firm. Their free standing law building and free covered parking maintains privacy and social distancing in this COVID19 era.” Dr. Christine Gerbstadt.)

In this bitterly contested family property dispute, obtained verdict multiple times larger than prior counsel suggested client settle for (Rosenberg v. Forgett, 2016) (“The Pels Law Firm represented me in a contentious divorce matter with hyper-aggressive and highly uncooperative opposing counsel. I retained Mr. Pels when my previous counsel showed no ability to counter these aggressive tactics and protect my rights. In a very short period of time, and late in the pre-trial phase, Mr. Pels and his staff had compelled discovery documents and information that demonstrated significant malfeasance by the opposing party and their counsel. Mr. Pels then utilized that information to obtain an order granting him access to the opposing party’s computer to extract emails they had attempted to delete and destroy from their hard drive. Those emails revealed even more significant malfeasance that led to Mr. Pels obtaining an order to depose opposing counsel. At trial, Mr. Pels successfully argued to have opposing counsel’s accounting firm’s expert witness testimony and forensic accounting report excluded. Mr. Pels demonstrated countless errors, omissions and lack of adherence to the rules of accounting so egregious that when he made the motion to exclude the report and testimony, the judge ruled in his favor without hesitation. Mr. Pels brought me a victory that was over twenty times larger than the amount my previous counsel had advised me to settle for, and in doing so revealed how duplicitous the tactics against me were. Most importantly, Mr. Pels provided to me a level of comfort and protection in the face of an unrelentingly hostile opposition that cannot be overstated. Sadly, many attorneys attempt to threaten and intimidate the other side to gain the upper hand, and Mr. Pels not only shut that down, he turned it on its head and used those tactics against opposing counsel to maximum effect. Mr. Pels stayed 100% focused on the facts and the law when presenting my case and forced opposing counsel to do so as well. Jon Pels and his staff know how to shape a case, how to present it and how to punch back when bullied. In short, they know how to win.”)

Represented one of the biggest sports agencies to World Cup and professional soccer players in a suit against a former agent for violation of a non-competition agreement (JGS v.Megaloudis, Arbitration, Oct. 2020)

Represented physician in suit against one of the largest New York medical practices for breach of contract; obtained Order striking down restrictive covenant (N.Y. Supreme Ct. 2020) (The Court found the covenant to be geographically over-broad. The Court noted, “it is undisputed that (defendant), from a superior bargaining position, required (plaintiff) to sign the employment agreement as a prerequisite to being hired, and refused to negotiate the covenant.”)

Represented only remaining mining quarry and a commercial business development against Montgomery County’s notorious “rain tax” (Tri-State Building & Supply v. Montgomery County, and Lindbergh Park Owners Association v. Montgomery County, Maryland Tax Court, 2020)

Represented Montgomery Airpark against Montgomery County’s notorious “rain tax”; obtained Order by Circuit Court Judge Ronald Rubin reversing DEP’s and the Board of Appeals for Montgomery County’s rulings against the Airpark and finding that the DEP conflated the statutory language (2017-2020)

Obtained agreement on behalf of construction industry client for the Commercial General Liability (CGL) Carrier to pay for client’s attorneys’ fees and indemnify owner representative company in construction breach of contract case (DC Superior Ct. 2020)

Court-approved and ordered statewide settlement of a class action on behalf of Maryland mobile homeowners against retailers changing installation and inspection practices. (Ellerbe v. Chesapeake Mobile Homes, et al., Circuit Court Anne Arundel County, Maryland) (“…I think that Plaintiff’s counsel here has taken on a difficult challenge and they were, I think, very ably — the claims were very ably defended, and I think all of the difficulties and all of the challenges described by Mr. Pels are very accurately stated.”; “It is, unfortunately, not every day that you get good lawyers in the courtroom and this is a really very impressive collection and I appreciate all of your efforts. Thank you very much counsel.” Statements made by the Judge for Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County in Approving Mobile Home Class Action Settlement (Transcript available upon request) (October, 2004)

Obtained Court-issued Memorandum Order certifying class action on behalf of Maryland Mobile Home Owners changing the building codes inspection practices of numerous counties throughout the State of Maryland to make the homes safer for inhabitants (Circuit Court Howard County, Hon. L. Gelfman) (Memorandum Order available upon request) (August, 2006)

Tate v. Bd. of Ed. of Prince George’s County, 155 Md. App. 536; 843 A.2d 890 (Md. App. LEXIS 25 2004) (minor can assume the risk of statutory rape as applied to the school from which she was released as opposed to the predator)

Jane W. v. Georgetown University Medical Center 863 A.2d 821 (DC 2004) (mere transmission of a letter from the hospital informing patients that may have contracted an infectious disease does not create a zone of danger for negligent infliction of emotional distress for public policy reasons alone)

Honors and Awards:

2007 Maryland Trial Lawyer of the Year. Source: Maryland Trial Lawyers Association; nominated by Paul Bland Trial Lawyers for Public Justice (Available Upon Request)

National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers in Maryland (2019 & 2020)

National Trial Lawyers Association – Top 10 Business Tort Trial Lawyers in Maryland (2020)

July, 2010 – Created and Paid $881,080.35 Cy Pres Fund by litigation to Improve Maryland Mobile Home Parks (Available Upon Request)

September, 2010 – featured in the leading Trial Lawyer guide book Rules of the Road – A Plaintiff Lawyer’s Guide to Proving Liability. 2nd Ed.” ((Available Upon Request) (“[Pels] crawled under dozens of mobile homes to inspect their anchors, held clandestine meetings in cheap taverns with former industry insiders whose consciences were nagging them and faced the usual fog of corporate excuse-mongering from his dark suited adversaries. He wanted to know why so many mobile homes were slipping from their moorings….The defendant installers wanted to make the issue more complicated than it really was, invoking the failure of county inspectors to call them out for their failings. Pels wrote a set of Rules…which he credits for helping to drive his case to victory. We think they are excellent, and we produce the, here with our comments…”)

February, 2012 – Created and ripe to pay out approximately $80,000 to Maryland’s Public Justice www.publicjustice.org pursuant to a cy pres fund created by litigation.

Recipient, American Jurisprudence Awards in Contracts and Criminal Procedure

Faculty, Introduction to Consumer Bankruptcy, Montgomery County Bar Association, C.L.E., Fall, 1995

Professional Associations and Memberships:

Montgomery County Bar Association
Member, Pro Bono Committee
Bankruptcy Bar Association of Maryland
Member, Association of Trial Lawyers

Community Involvement:

President of the Fathers Club Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School (2016 – 2017)
Vice President of the Fathers Club Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School (2015 – 2016)
Secretary of the Fathers Club Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School  (2014 – 2015)

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