Joseph A. D'Avanzo, Pashman Stein Walder Hayden P.C. Photo


Joseph A. D’Avanzo is the managing partner of the firm’s New York office, with a broad-based practice that includes complex commercial and civil liability litigation in both state and federal courts. His clients include members of the aerospace, biotech and life sciences, construction, entertainment, fashion, sports, product manufacturing, real estate, and technology industries.

Joe regularly represents companies that are the subject of mass tort and class action litigation and has a proven track record as a trial attorney in “bet the company” cases. He is a former law secretary to a New York State Supreme Court Justice in Manhattan and is known by his clients and fellow members of the bar as an innovator, problem solver and trusted advisor. He is among a dwindling breed of attorneys with actual trial verdicts in high-exposure cases and with the sought-after judgment that comes with that experience.

Joe has become a “go to” attorney in the fashion industry as a result of the knowledge gained from being lead counsel for the defense in an antitrust class action against the leading fashion model agencies in New York (and other class actions that followed). He regularly represents fashion model agencies and fashion models in contract disputes, breach of restrictive covenants, representation agreement negotiations, branding, personal appearance and endorsement deals.

In addition, Joe has acted as lead trial and national coordinating counsel for Fortune 500 corporations and lead and liaison counsel in mass tort litigation. Whether it is antitrust, asbestos, breach of contract, civil rights, defamation, insurance coverage, personal injury, products liability, securities, toxic tort, or wrongful death claims, Joe has met his clients’ needs through cost-effective resolution strategies derived from vast experience.

Joe also serves as a mediator for the New York State Court system.  In addition to training mediators for the New York State’s ADR program, Joe serves on the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge’s ADR Advisory Committee.


Representative Matters

Our firm is proud of the results it has achieved for clients, some of which are noted here.  Of course, each legal matter is unique on many levels, and past successes are not a guarantee of results in any other pending or future matters.

  • Successfully obtained dismissal of New York Labor Law claims and affirmance on appeal in putative class action against fashion model agency by fashion models claiming they were and are misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees.
  • Representing male underwear model in Lanham Act claim against apparel manufacturer and advertising agency for unauthorized usage of image and likeness in breach of usage agreement.
  • Representation of celebrity and fashion model to terminate her representation agreement with former model manager, negotiation of representation agreement with new model manager, and participate in negotiation and drafting of branding, endorsement and appearance deals.
  • Obtained vacatur of preliminary injunction granted in favor of condominium association against unit owner for unauthorized renovations to unit and alleged structural damage to condominium building.
  • Obtained a dismissal of a putative class action by former fashion model against modeling agency regarding claims of unpaid usage fees and comingling of money in agency bank account.
  • Representation of celebrity and fashion model whose social media accounts were hacked and obtaining written cease and desist agreements from hackers.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for crane manufacturer sued by paralyzed plaintiff stuck by collapsing crane boom.
  • Obtained eight figure settlement for client sustaining traumatic brain injury in pedestrian knockdown accident involving a van operated by child care program.
  • Negotiation of non-disclosure agreements for celebrity and fashion model with service providers and wedding planners.
  • Obtained six figure settlement for union carpenter who sustained multiple fractures of his ankle during construction of university center in New York City.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for manufacturer of a portable conveyor used at concrete recycling facility. Plaintiff sustained a crush injury to his leg when the conveyor was struck by an excavator operating nearby.
  • Obtained defense verdict for owner and general contractor in construction accident under New York scaffold law and resulting in amputation of union carpenter’s thumb.
  • Successfully settled construction defect case for installer of high-tech floor systems in newly constructed state-of-the-art surgical center in New York City after developing evidence of defective condition of floor covering and theory to overcome supplier’s limited warranty.
  • Obtained multiple defense verdicts for industry leading computer manufacturer sued by plaintiffs for defective design and failure to warn with respect to repetitive stress injuries allegedly sustained from operating computer keyboards, mouse devices and UPC price scanners.
  • Successfully obtained in non-jury trial and on appeal the granting of a prescriptive easement to property owner for use of driveway on adjoining property.
  • Obtained a favorable settlement at arbitration of breach of license agreement for use/sale of patented communications technology.
  • Obtained a favorable settlement of a prominent New York personal injury law firm breakup.
  • Obtained defense verdict for a national kitchen appliance manufacturer sued in products liability case for defective design and failure to warn when deep fryer pulled down from counter onto infant causing severe burns to head and torso.
  • Representation of leading fashion model agency in antitrust class action alleging horizontal price-fixing (In re Fashion Model Antitrust Litigation, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 698 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 16, 2003) & 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4502 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 23, 2004)) and obtaining dismissal of state law and Sherman Act claims, leading to favorable class settlement.
  • Successfully defended model management companies against class action claims by fashion models regarding unauthorized extensions of usage agreements and misclassification of employment status claims.
  • Review of brand ambassador and endorsement agreements for celebrity and fashion model and negotiation of terms for photo shoot conditions, image usage, personal appearances and social media posts.
  • In a probate dispute related to family businesses holding substantial real estate interests in New Jersey and New York, obtained dismissal of all claims for alleged misappropriation of assets against our client, one of two beneficiaries of the estate, and appointment of a fiduciary to marshal and sell various disputed assets of the estate.

Reported Decisions

  • In re: Coloplast Corp. Pelvic Support Systems Prod. Liab. Litig., 2016 WL 6997350 (S.D.W.V. Nov. 29, 2016) (Goodwin, J.) (dismissing strict product liability and breach of warranty claims against the pelvic allograft implants).
  • Kennedy-McInnis v. Biomedical Tissue Services, Ltd., 178 F. Supp. 3d 97 (W.D.N.Y. 2016) (summary judgment dismissing next-of-kin emotional distress claims against tissue bank that processed stolen body parts).
  • In re Fashion Model Antitrust Litigation, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 698 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 16, 2003) & 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4502 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 23, 2004) (dismissing state law and Sherman Act claims).
  • Goldmark Plastics International, Inc. v. Poly Line, Inc., No. 97 CV 5568, slip op. (E.D.N.Y., Feb. 4, 1998) (Gleeson, J.) (dismissal of breach of warranty, sale of goods for lack of “long arm” jurisdiction).
  • Neher v. II Morrow, Inc., No. C94-1613WD, slip op. (W.D. WA. Jan. 15, 1997) (Dwyer, J.)(defense verdict for UPS following bench trial in multi-plaintiff products liability case).
  • Benne v. International Business Machines Corporation, 887 F. Supp. 1395 (D. Kan. 1994), aff’d., 87 F3d. 419 (10th Cir. 1996) (granting summary judgment based on choice of laws and applicable statute of limitation).
  • Sutera v. The Perrier Group of Amer., Inc., 986 F. Supp. 655 (D.MA. 1997) (Saris, J.)) (summary judgment in benzene exposure allegedly causing cancer, now widely cited for threshold requirements in toxic tort cases).
  • Schneck v. IBM, 1996 WL 885789 (D.NJ. Jun. 25, 1996) (Brown, J.) (summary judgment following Daubert Hearing).
  • Blanco v. AT&T, 223 A.D.2d 156, 646 N.Y.S.2d 99 (1st Dep’t 1996) (establishing applicable statute of limitations in repetitive stress injury cases).
  • Tamburro v. International Business Machines Corporation, 232 A.D.2d 477, 648 N.Y.S.2d 935 (2d Dep’t 1996) (affirming summary judgment for industrial printer manufacturer in toxic tort case on statute of limitations grounds).
  • In Re: New York County Data Entry Workers Product Liability Litigation, 167 Misc. 2d 496, 642 N.Y.S.2d 459 (Sup. Ct., N. Y. County 1994) (Crane, J.) (granting summary judgment to computer keyboard manufacturer in products liability case on statute of limitations grounds).
  • In Re Repetitive Stress Injury Litigation, 11 F.3d 368 (2d Cir. 1993) (granting writ of mandamus and reversing consolidation of claims).
  • In Re: Repetitive Stress Injury Litigation, 1992 WL 403023, MDL-955 (J.P.M.L. Nov. 27, 1992) (denying plaintiffs’ 28 U.S.C. §1407 application for creation of multidistrict consolidation).


Honors & Recognitions

Selected for inclusion in the list of:

  • New York Super Lawyers, Business Litigation, 2008 - 2022
  • Martindale Hubbell, AV Preeminent lawyers

The Super Lawyers list is issued by Thomson Reuters. A description of the selection methodology can be found at

The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings list is issued by Martindale-Hubbell. A description of the selection methodology can be found at

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News & Insights

Speaking Engagements

  • Faculty, "Managing Domestic & Global Internal Investigations," Westchester-Southern Connecticut Association of Corporate Counsel (WESFACCA)
  • Faculty, “Disclosure and Motion Practice Concerning Experts in Products Liability Cases,” N.Y.S. Bar Assoc., The Affinia Hotel, New York, NY.
  • Faculty, “Traps for the Unwary: Ethical Issues for the In-House Counsel,” Westchester and Fairfield Counties Corporate Counsel Association (WESFACCA), Pepsi Bottling Co., Somers, NY.
  • Faculty, “Winning Your Case in Federal Court,” New York County Lawyers’ Association, Committee on the Federal Courts, New York, NY.
  • Faculty, “ABC’s of Civil Litigation: Complaints, Discovery & Pre-Trial Issues in New York Supreme Court,” The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, City Bar Center for Continuing Legal Education, New York, NY.
  • Co-Chair and Presenter, “Repetitive Stress Injury Litigation,” Andrews Publications Seminar, Philadelphia, PA.
  • “Ergonomics and the Law,” National Association of Manufacturers Meeting, “Managing Ergonomics: The Corporate Challenge,” Nashville, TN.
  • “New Age Litigation: Prosecuting and Defending the Hot Topics in Products Liability Litigation,” American Bar Association, Section of Litigation 17th Annual Fall Meeting, Phoenix, AZ.



Community & Professional

  • Instructor on the NYS Court System’s Early Neutral Evaluation program
  • New York County Advisory Committee on ADR, N.Y.S. Supreme Court
  • N.Y.S. Supreme Court, New York County Advisory Committee on Tort Litigation
  • New York City Courts, Tort Advisory Committee
  • N. Y. S. Bar Assoc. (Trial Lawyers Section)
  • New York County Lawyers’ Association
  • Law Secretaries and Law Assistants Collegium, Inc.
  • Federal Bar Council
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Assoc. of Law Secretaries of the Supreme & Surrogate’s Courts
  • American Bar Association (Section of Litigation, Trial Practice and Products Liability Committees; Torts and Insurance Practice Committee)

Bar Admissions

  • New York

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern 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, District of Connecticut


B.S., LeMoyne College, cum laude, 1979

J.D., New York Law School, cum laude, Law Review, 1982

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