Bernadette Catalana is of counsel in the Rochester, New York, office of Lavin, O’Neil, Cedrone & DiSipio. She focuses her practice on all aspects of civil litigation, including trials and appeals. Ms.Catalana has a substantial background in products liability defense work at the trial, appellate and resolution levels, with an emphasis on toxic exposures. She currently serves as liaison counsel for defendants in mass tort litigation in New York State.
Ms.Catalana represents large companies, small businesses and individuals, as plaintiffs as well as defendants. Before practicing law, she had a business career, including successful completion of the prestigious Chase Professional Development Program. Her strong background in business has served her well in her legal career, particularly in the areas of relationship development and negotiation. She joined the Lavin firm after practicing with three other Rochester firms.
Ms.Catalana has negotiated in excess of 1000 settlements on behalf of her corporate clients and led an appellate team that was ultimately successful in persuading the New York Court of Appeals to throw out a multi-million dollar verdict rendered against a corporate client at a jury trial. She has a brought more than 500 petitions under the Structured Settlement Protection Act. She also has a background in general defense work, including defense of employers against employment discrimination claims. Ms.Catalana has used her experience and the insights gained as a litigator to the advantage of her corporate clients in formulating overall strategy as well as in settlement negotiations/resolution of single cases and inventories of cases.
Ms.Catalana utilizes her experience in strategic litigation to provide resolution advocacy services (www.theresolutionadvocates.com), working to develop plans to resolve claims and disputes, negotiating settlements and representing clients in mediation. She is the co-author, with John R. Allison, of On the Value of Settlement Counsel – a Fresh Perspective. She was a presenter at an HB Litigation Conference, “Trying an Asbestos Case – How to Get the W,” which was held in Philadelphia, PA, in January 2011.
Ms.Catalana chairs the board of BOA Editions Ltd., a nationally recognized nonprofit publisher of poetry. She is a former board member of the Rochester chapters of the American Heart Association and American Red Cross. She is a former trustee of the Evan Cummins Trust and served as the inaugural chair of the Our Lady of Mercy Gala.
In 2004, Ms.Catalana was recognized as one of The Daily Record’s “Up and Coming Attorneys.” She received the “Up and Coming Business Women – Law Award” in 2003 from the Rochester Women’s Network. She received the American Heart Association volunteer recognition award in 2003. In 1998, she was recognized as one of Rochester’s “40 Under 40” by The Rochester Business Journal. Ms.Catalana is avid yoga practitioner and enjoys writing poetry. She resides in the oldest house in Rochester, built in 1815.
Ms.Catalana received her Bachelor of Science in business administration from Binghamton University, State University of New York. She earned her juris doctor, cum laude, at the University at Buffalo Law School, State University of New York. She was a member of the Buffalo Law Review and the author of “The Battle for Baby Jessica: a Conflict of Best Interests” (43 Buff. L. Rev. 583 1995), and was the recipient of the Robert Connolly Oral Advocacy Award1995.
Ms.Catalana is a member of the New York State and Monroe County bar associations and is admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, and United States Tax Court.