Richard L. Bazelon has practiced law as a commercial litigator since 1969; for 14 years as an associate and subsequently partner at Dilworth, Paxson, Kalish, Levy & Kauffman, and since 1983 as a founder, partner and principal of Bazelon Less & Feldman.
Mr. Bazelon has extensive experience in litigating cases concerning contracts, unfair competition, antitrust, professional malpractice, fiduciary obligations, condemnation, healthcare, securities, constitutional law and rights of persons with disabilities. Clients with whom Mr. Bazelon works closely include third party administrators of employer health benefit plans, owners and operators of long term care facilities, commercial real estate developers, corporate officers and directors, securities firms, securities brokers, engineering firms, international metal refining companies, law firms and attorneys, accounting firms, and organizations for persons with disabilities.
Mr. Bazelon has successfully litigated a number of precedent-setting cases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Brokerage Concepts, Inc. v. U.S. Healthcare, Inc., 140 F.3d 494 (3d Cir. 1998) and Brokerage Concepts, Inc. v. U.S. Healthcare, Inc., 251 F.3d 153 (3d Cir. 2000), involved two successful jury trials, and established the precedent that coercive use of market power in one market to require patronage in a separate market is actionable under Pennsylvania law even where it does not constitute unlawful tying under antitrust laws.
In Sons of Thunder v. Borden, Inc., 690 A.2d 575 (1997), the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld a verdict and damage award for breach of specific contract provisions, and a separate verdict and damage award under the same contract for breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing.
Mr. Bazelon has represented a commercial property owner in several precedent setting cases, emanating from a condemnation in 1996. In Condemnation of 110 Washington Street, Borough of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, 767 A.2d 1154 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2001), the successful challenge to condemnation established the principle that a condemnor cannot cede decisions concerning the condemnation to a private party to whom the condemnor intends to convey the property.
In 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that the taking of title during the five years of the condemnation case was a “per se taking,” for which the condemnee was entitled to just compensation under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Court of Appeals further held that condemnee could proceed with its takings claim in federal court. R & J Holding Company v. The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Montgomery, 370 F.3d 420 (3d Cir. Dec. 9, 2011). Following completion of discovery concerning damages, the case settled in May, 2014 on terms very favorable to BLF's clients.
Mr. Bazelon has successfully represented major law firms accused of violating fiduciary obligations. In 2001, following several weeks of trial, a compulsory non-suit was entered in favor of a law firm client, and affirmed on appeal. In 2005, summary judgment was entered in favor of a law firm client in a lawsuit by a major corporation.
During January to June, 2012, Mr. Bazelon served as counsel to the Special Litigation Committee of Harleysville Mutual Insurance Company in connection with litigation brought by policyholders concerning the merger between the Harleysville and Nationwide insurance companies. Mr. Bazelon also served as counsel to the Special Litigation Committee of Orrstown Financial Services, Inc. in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.
In 2019, Mr. Bazelon tried a Federal Torts Claim Act case on behalf of a former inmate at the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia, who had been attacked by another inmate with a razor weapon while in a recreation pen. The court found in favor of BLF’s client and entered judgment against the United States in the amount of $1,751,340.81. Bistrian v. Levi, 2020 WL 6951048.
Mr. Bazelon has served on faculties of the American Law Institute–American Bar Association, Philadelphia Bar Association, Pennsylvania Bar Institute and New Jersey Institute for Continuing Education on subjects of trial advocacy and commercial litigation.
He was a Lecturer in Law, Appellate Advisory, at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1982-83, and served as a reporter for the Commission on Uniform State Laws, 1982-84.
He served as Chairperson of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia from January 1984 to January 2001.
He has been a Board member of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia from 1975 to 2013, and Chairperson in 1975.
He served as a Trustee of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation in 2000 and 2001.
Mr. Bazelon has served as the Chairperson of Beech Interplex Corporation, a community development organization in North Philadelphia formed by the William Penn Foundation, for approximately seventeen years.
In 1999, Mr. Bazelon was named as one of the fifteen outstanding commercial litigators in Philadelphia by Philadelphia Magazine.
In 2005, he was named as one of the “top 100 lawyers” in Philadelphia and in Pennsylvania by a survey conducted by Law & Politics, described in the June 2005 issue of Philadelphia Magazine.
Mr. Bazelon has been included on the list of Pennsylvania Super Lawyers each year for more than fourteen years, including the current year.
Mr. Bazelon was selected as The Philadelphia Inquirer’s 2018 Influencers of Law Award recipient in the category of Litigation and Dispute.