Dawn Attwood


Dawn Attwood


Practice Areas




Dawn Attwood’s practice concentrates primarily on complex civil litigation on behalf of both public- and private-sector clients, with special emphasis on public entity and insurance defense, as well as employment and commercial litigation. She has extensive experience at the trial and appellate levels representing private insurance companies, joint insurance funds, the state of New Jersey, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, New Jersey Transit, a number of county prosecutor’s offices and municipalities in personal injury, civil rights and employment actions. With respect to insurance defense, Dawn has extensive experience handling dram shop, premises liability, automotive liability and coverage matters. Dawn also served as the public defender for the Borough of Emerson for four years. She has also represented a number of private clients with respect to bar admissions, and she conducts continuing legal education seminars on the Tort Claims Act.

Prior to joining Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, Dawn was a partner at DeCotiis, FitzPatrick & Cole, LLP. Before that, she spent five years with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, where she defended the state in tort, contractual and employment litigation matters and tried several civil jury matters involving the New Jersey Tort Claims Act, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the Federal Employer’s Liability Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. As co-counsel, she assisted in the successful prosecution of a municipal court judge in a trial before a specially appointed three-judge panel, affirmed on appeal to the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Dawn is a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated Lawyer. While in law school, she was a recipient of American Jurisprudence Awards in Administrative Law, Insurance and Torts. She was also a member of the Honor Chapter of the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity.

Reported Decisions

  • Jones v. Morey's Pier, Inc. 230 N.J. 142 (2017)
  • Mandal v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 430 N.J. Super. 287 (App. Div.), petition for certif. denied (2013)
  • Mann v. Heil Packer, 2010 WL 98883 (App. Div. 2010)
  • Hyatt v. County of Passaic, 340 Fed. Appx. (3rd Cir. 2009)

Representative Matters

  • Obtained defense jury verdict on behalf of Department of Corrections officer in civil rights matter involving excessive force and failure to intervene claims.
  • Obtained dismissal at jury trial for client defendants at close of plaintiffs' case in wrongful death/child abuse suit.
  • Successfully appealed and obtained reversal in Supreme Court of trial court's denial of summary judgment, based on Tort Claims Act's notice provisions.
  • Successfully appealed and obtained reversal of $7.6 million jury verdict in premises liability action.
  • Obtained defense verdict on behalf of cleaning company against claims for contractual defense and indemnification asserted by the property owner.
  • Successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of municipality where employee's estate sued under the wrongful death exception to the Workers Compensation Act following fatal accident. The trial court's decision was affirmed on appeal.
  • Successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of county prosecutor's office, individual prosecutors and investigators, in a federal civil rights matter brought by the mother of an abused child, who had been arrested for tampering with the child victim witness in an effort to hinder the prosecution and protect the child molester, who was ultimately convicted. Summary judgment was affirmed on appeal to the Third Circuit.
  • Successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of public authority in fatal motor vehicle accident, based on Tort Claims Act immunities.
  • Successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of City and its police officers in civil rights action involving false arrest and malicious prosecution claims.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • New Jersey State Bar Association
  • Association of the Federal Bar of the State of New Jersey

Bar/Court Admissions

  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • United States District Court for the District of New Jersey


  • B.A., Fordham University, magna cum laude, 1990
  • J.D., Widener University School of Law, cum laude, 1994

Honors and Accolades

  • Bergen County Top Lawyers
  • New Jersey Super Lawyers, 2020
  • Martindale Hubbell, AV Preeminent

The Bergen County Top Lawyers list is published by the Bergen Magazine. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.healthandlifemags.com/bergen/November-2019/Bergen-Countys-Top-Lawyers-2019/.

The Super Lawyers list is issued by Thomson Reuters. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.superlawyers.com/about/selection_process.html.

The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings list is issued by Martindale-Hubbell. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.martindale.com/Products_and_Services/Client_Review_Ratings.aspx.

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Practice Areas