Ronald L. Hicks, Jr.

Ronald L. Hicks, Jr.

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Business Litigation Attorney in Pittsburgh, PA

Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP
 | 6 PPG Place, Third Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: 412-235-1476
Fax: 412-235-4510
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2005 - 2007, 2011 - 2019
Licensed Since: 1987
Practice Areas:
  • Business Litigation (50%),
  • Energy & Natural Resources (30%),
  • Insurance Coverage (20%)
Attorney Profile

For the past 32 years, I have focused my practice on complex and commercial litigation involving misappropriation of trade secrets and intellectual property, breach of restrictive covenants and other business competition matters, partnership and business owner disputes, contract and warranty claims, creditor’s rights and fraudulent transfers, estate and fiduciary liability, insurance coverage, real estate and oil and gas title disputes, and telemarketing and online marketing. I have appeared in trial and appellate state and federal courts and before arbitration and mediation panels throughout the Atlantic Coast and Midwest.  I further serve as an arbitrator, an early neutral evaluator and an e-discovery dispute Special Master for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

I also represent LGBTQ business owners and other clients across numerous industries, serving as outside general counsel. In this role, I advise clients on general corporate matters and business transactions, including entity formation and operation, contract review and drafting, document retention and destruction, Internet and social media policies and procedures, and intellectual property matters including trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and warranty/policy issues. Additionally, for LGBTQ business owners, I provide advice on certification as an LGBT Business Enterprise® through the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), on which I serves as a member of its Supplier Certification Committee and the President of its Pittsburgh/Greater Allegheny chamber, Three Rivers Business Alliance.

My robust practice includes extensive experience in election and political campaign law. For over 25 years, I have represented local, state and federal Republican candidates in Pennsylvania, and I have handled a variety of election law disputes, including election contests, ballot recounts, nomination objections, and absentee and provisional ballot challenges.

About Ronald Hicks, Jr.

Admitted: 1987, Pennsylvania

Honors/Awards:

  • Order of the Barristers, 1987
  • The Chairman's Award recognizes those for nationally distinguished service for protecting the honesty and accuracy of U.S. elections., RNLA Robert J. Horn Chairman's Award, 2018
  • Included in 2012 Top Rated Lawyers® in Insurance, 2012
  • AV Premium rating, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America®, Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Bankruptcy, Litigation - Construction, Litigation -Intellectual Property and Litigation – Real Estate (2011-2017)
  • Who’s Who in American Law, 1997
  • Included in The Best Lawyers® Annual Guide to Commercial Litigation, 2012

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court, 1987
  • Republican National Lawyers Association, Board Member
  • United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, 2014
  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Life Member
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, 1987
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 2011
  • National LGBT Bar Association, Member
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association, Civil Litigation Section
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Life Member
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, 1988
  • Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, Member
  • American Bar Association, Litigation Section (Commercial and Business Litigation, E-Discovery, Energy Law, Intellectual Property Litigation, LGBT Litigator, and Technology for the Litigator Committees); Law Practice Management Section
  • Allegheny County Bar Association, Board of Governors; Committee for Diversity & Inclusion, Co-Chair; Civil Litigation Section; LGBT Rights Committee; Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Gender Equality; Judiciary Committee (former member)
  • United States Supreme Court, 1993

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • Three Rivers Business Alliance, President/Board Member, 2017
  • National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), National Legal Industry Council, 2016 - present, Corporate Advisory & Procurement Councils, 2016 - present, Supplier Certification Committee, 2017 - present, 2016
  • Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, Director/Chair of Development Committee, 2017
  • The Pennsylvania Society, Member
  • Penn State Alumni Association, Life Member

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

  • With the ever-growing potential that Pennsylvania will play a significant role in the United States’ production of natural gas in the 21st Century, more lawsuits are being filed over who owns the rights to the subsurface gas.  Generally, such lawsuits involve a dispute between the heirs of the early landowner who recorded a deed that severed the natural gas from the surface estate and one whose chain of title emanates from a tax sale held after the severance was recorded.  Several commentators have opined that if the land was “unseated” at the time of the tax sale and the severed subsurface estate was not separately assessed, then the tax sale “washed” the prior recorded severance and passed title of the natural gas to the tax sale purchaser even though the underlying tax assessment was directed solely to the surface estate or other mineral interests.  However, decisions from Pennsylvania federal and state courts alike, including several from the trial courts in north-central Pennsylvania were such “title washing”  was purportedly practiced at the turn of the 20th Century, have cast serious doubts on the extent to which severed natural gas titles have been lost or divested by these early tax sales., Co-Author, Debunking The Myths Surrounding Natural Gas Title Washing: "How Can One's Title Be Divested If Natural Gas Was Not And Cannot Be the Subject Of A Proper Real Estate Tax Assessment?", Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly, Oil & Gas, 2014
  • When drafting contracts, using indemnity provisions and insurance clauses should be more than just a “copy and paste” operation. Such clauses should be tailored to the specific needs of the contracting parties. This article provides tips on drafting effective indemnification provisions and insurance clauses in contracts involving the sale or purchase of goods and services., Co-Author, The Interplay Between Indemnification Provisions and Insurance Clauses in Contracts for Goods and Services , ACC Docket, 2014
  • While some businesses (individuals and companies alike) execute these contracts without reading or understanding the significance of such indemnity and insurance provisions, many others have come to appreciate that such clauses constitute a risk-transfer tool that can help protect their business from potential risks that may arise in the future, including the other party’s breach of contract., Author, Indemnification Provisions and Insurance Clauses: Why Have Both in Contracts for Good Service?, Association of Corporate Counsel, 2012
  • For years, concerns have been raised over the rise of Rambo tactics in civil litigation.  This article identifies who is a Rambo lawyer and some of the common characteristics of this uncivil style of litigation.  Then, this article focuses on some of the most popular Rambo civil litigation tactics and suggested ways to combat them.  Finally, this article provides some practical advice or tips that one can use to keep a Rambo civil lawyer in check.   , Author, Returning Civility to Civil Litigation, ExecSense, Legal, 2012
  • This book covers various topics of interest to litigation lawyers, including managing client expectations, confidentiality, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, advising CEOS, and handling Ranbo lawyers. , Co-Author, Hot Topics from Litigators, ExecSense, Legal, 2012

Verdicts/Settlements:

  • Herder Spring Hunting Club v. Keller, 143 A.3d 358 (Pa. 2016), cert. denied No. 16-554 (U.S. Jan. 9, 2017); Northern Forests II, Inc. v. Keta Realty Co., 2015 Pa. Super. 253 (Pa. Super. 2015); Exec. Wings, Inc. v. Dolby, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123729 (W.D. Pa. 2015); Southwestern Energy Prod. Co. v. Forest Res., LLC, 83 A.3d 177 (Pa. Super. 2013), reargument denied 2014 Pa. Super. LEXIS 30 (Pa. Super.), appeal denied 96 A.3d 1029 (Pa. 2014); Roser Techs., Inc. v. Carl Schreiber GmbH, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129242 (W.D. Pa. 2013); In re Nomination Papers of Robertson, 55 A.3d 1044 (Pa. 2012); IPEG, Inc. v. Hamilton Avtec, Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103028 (W.D. Pa. 2011); Lookout Windpower Holding Co., LLC v. Edison Mission Energy, 714 F. Supp. 2d 547 (W.D. Pa. 2010), injunction granted at 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85370 (W.D. Pa. 2010); FedEx Ground Package Sys. v. Applications Int'l Corp., 695 F.Supp.2d 216 (W.D. Pa. 2010); Alturnamats, Inc. v. Harry, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71446 (W.D. Pa. 2008), as amended by 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4789 (W.D. Pa. 2009); In re Substitute Nomination Certificate of Barr, 956 A.2d 1083 (Pa. Commw.), aff’d 958 A.2d 1045 (Pa. 2008); FedEx Ground Package Sys. v. Applications Int'l Corp., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107896 (W.D. Pa. 2008); Elliott v. Kiesewetter (In re Kiesewetter), 391 B.R. 740 (Bankr. W.D. Pa. 2008), aff’d 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110573 (W.D. Pa. 2011); Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Power Source Supply, Inc., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56942, 66 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d (Callaghan) 680 (W.D. Pa. 2008); Reunion Indus. v. Steel Partners II, L.P., 410 B.R. 170 (W.D. Pa. 2008); Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Power Source Supply, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24352 (W.D. Pa. 2007); Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Power Source Supply, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15306 (W.D. Pa. 2007); Tredennick v. Bone, 647 F. Supp. 2d 495 (W.D. Pa. 2007), aff’d 323 Fed. Appx. 103 (3d Cir. 2008); Kichler v. Wieland Int'l, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85402 (W.D. Pa. 2007); Brockway Pressed Metals, Inc. v. Eynon Assocs. (In re Brockway Pressed Metals, Inc.), 363 B.R. 431 (Bankr. W.D. Pa. 2007), aff’d by Eynon Assocs. v. LaSalle Bank Nat’l Assocs. (In re Brockway Pressed Metals, Inc.), 304 Fed. Appx. 114 (3d Cir. 2008); In re Nomination of Nader, 905 A.2d 450 (Pa. 2006), cert. denied Nader v. Serody, 549 U.S. 1117 (2007); Kiesewetter v. Elliot (In re Kiesewetter), 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89713 (W.D. Pa. 2006); Cornerstone Sys. v. Knichel Logistics, L.P., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59998 (W.D. Pa. 2006), aff’d in part, vacated in part 255 Fed. Appx. 660 (3d Cir. 2007); Urbano v. Stat Courier, Inc., 878 A.2d 58 (Pa. Super. 2005); Kiesewetter v. Elliott, 912 So. 2d 1240 (Fla. DCA 4th Dist. 2005); In re Nomination of Nader, 860 A.2d 1 (Pa. 2004), cert. denied 543 U.S. 1052 (2005); In re Canvass of Absentee Ballots of Nov. 4, 2003 Gen. Election, 839 A.2d 451 (Pa. Commw.), rev’d in part 843 A.2d 1223 (Pa. 2004); Michaels v. Breedlove, 34 Employee Benefits Cas. (BNA) 2850 (3d Cir. 2004) Elliott v. Kiesewetter, 112 Fed. Appx. 821 (3d Cir. 2004); Pierce v. Allegheny County Bd. of Elections, 324 F. Supp. 2d 684 (W.D. Pa. 2003); FTC v. Common-wealth Mktg. Group, Inc., 72 F. Supp. 2d 530 (W.D. Pa. 1999); Sumsion v. USX Corp., 22 Employee Benefits Cas. (BNA) 2657 (W.D. Pa. 1999); First Philson Bank, N.A. v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co., No. 727 A.2d 584 (Pa. Super.), appeal denied 747 A.2d 901 (Pa. 1999); Infocomp, Inc. v. Electra Prods., 109 F.3d 902 (3d Cir. 1997) Elliott v. Kiesewetter, 98 F.3d 47 (3d Cir. 1996); Greene County Mem’l Park v. Behm Funeral Homes, Inc., 1994 U.S. App. LEXIS 40945 (3d Cir. 1994); Conner v. Munsey, 620 A.2d 1103 (Pa. 1993) Snell v. Performance Assocs. Corp., 1993 Ohio App. LEXIS 6306 (Oh. Ct. Ap. 2d Cir. 1993); Greene County Memorial Park v. Behm Funeral Homes, Inc., 797 F. Supp. 1276 (W.D. Pa. 1992), aff’d w/out op. 993 F.2d 876 (3d Cir.), cert. denied 510 U.S. 866 (1993); Levendos v. Stern Entertainment, Inc., 909 F.2d 747 (3d Cir. 1990) & 860 F.2d 1227 (3d Cir. 1988); Housing Authority of Pittsburgh v. Metz, 550 A.2d 599 (Pa. Commw. 1988).

Educational Background:

  • Wake Forest University School of Law, J.D., 1987
  • Penn State University, B.A. Pre-Law, 1984

Industry Groups

  • Emerging Industries
  • Energy & Mineral Rights
  • Insurance
  • LGBTQ Businesses
Office Location for Ronald L. Hicks, Jr.

6 PPG Place
Third Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Ronald L. Hicks, Jr.:

Last Updated: 7/7/2019

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