Neal F. Pratt

Shareholder

Portland Office
100 Middle Street
P.O. Box 15235
Portland, Maine 04112-5235
Phone: 207-430-8897
Fax: 207-274-5286

Success can be achieved in various ways. Understanding a client’s goals is essential to achieving an early dispute resolution. Strategic planning and meticulous preparation often produce favorable settlement terms without the need for protracted litigation. In those cases where early resolution is not possible, however, success is contingent upon having a skilled, experienced, and confident trial lawyer.

Neal Pratt manages Eaton Peabody’s Portland, Maine office, and has been trying cases for over 28 years. His numerous high-profile successes before juries, judges, arbitrators and administrative authorities have secured his reputation as one of Maine’s premier trial attorneys. Neal has been commended by Maine’s largest newspaper as having “earned the reputation as a skilled trial lawyer and top-notch litigator.

Neal is recognized by virtually every major independent peer review organization, including: The Best Lawyers in America; Chambers USA; New England Super Lawyers; Benchmark Litigation; and Lawdragon Magazine. Clients and peers have consistently praised Neal’s performance. One client stated: “He is an excellent attorney, I just can’t say enough good things about him.” Another client observed: “He is full of energy and fights the way you would want your brother to.” An attorney from a competing law firm noted: “People respect him.

Neal specializes in complex civil and commercial litigation, including shareholder/partnership disputes, product liability and tort cases, and school disputes and disciplinary matters. He has also represented several clients in litigation involving cellular towers, has substantial experience in construction litigation, and has handled a number of intellectual property disputes. Prior to joining Eaton Peabody, Neal served as General Counsel and Trial Department Chair at one of Northern New England’s largest law firms.

Neal was recently honored by the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce as the recipient of its distinguished Robert R. Masterton Award for Leadership in Economic Development. As the unprecedented 6-term Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Cumberland County Civic Center, Neal led the successful bond referendum campaign in which voters approved a $33 million modernization initiative, and successfully navigated extensive media coverage and secured the eventual dismissal of a lawsuit waged by Portland’s professional hockey team. Neal also takes great pride in his involvement with youth sports, and from 2010 to 2012 managed the Scarborough Little League All-Star baseball team to a record-setting 3 consecutive District and State Championships and two Eastern Regional Tournaments.

Representative matters include:

Commercial Litigation

  • Won complete dismissal of a multi-million dollar suit brought against a client in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for want of derivative standing. Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors v. Rod Fisher, et al., Bk. No. 15-10715, Adv. Proc. No. 16-1020.
  • Prevailed before local Board of Appeals in overturning Planning Board’s denial of clients’ application to develop and construct cellular tower. Global Tower Partners, LLC, et al., v. Town of Vienna, Maine, 2015.
  • Secured dismissal of trademark infringement action brought under the Lanham Act involving outdoor apparel “brand” utilized in catalog and web marketing. JL Powell Clothing, LLC v. Brownells Inc., et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. Dkt. No. 13-CV-160-NT (D.Me.).
  • Won arbitration hearing arising out of dispute between general partners and related entities over distribution and allocation of proceeds of $79 million timberland sale. Blanchet Woodlands, LLC v. Pelletier Woodlands, LLC, Arb. No. 50 180 T 00274 08.
  • Won complete dismissal by Federal Court of 185-page complaint seeking $25 million in damages for alleged violations of “RICO” statute stemming from telemarketing of prescription medications. MyFreeMedicine.com, et al., v. Alpine Investors, LP, et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. Dkt. No. 08-CV-362-JAW (D. Me.).
  • Obtained Stipulated Judgment and favorable settlement on behalf of client arising out of series of related lawsuits in State and Federal courts involving multiple parties and multi-million dollar claims of fraud, breach of contract, unfair competition, civil conspiracy, fraudulent transfers and defamation. SN Commercial LLC v. Guptill Farms, Inc., et al., Wash. Cty. Sup. Ct. Dkt. No. RE-04-02.
  • Won Summary Judgment in Federal Court in defense of corporate client in multi-million dollar civil rights suit alleging conspiracy among Court-appointed Receiver and several public and private entities to put construction company out of business. Downeast Ventures v. Washington County, et al., Dkt. No. CV-05-87 (D. Me.).
  • Successful defense at arbitration and in Texas Federal Court of underground fuel storage tank leak-detection system manufacturer against $20 million product liability, fraud and breach of contract claims. Intelligent Controls, Inc. v. Practical Tank Management, Inc., Arb. No. 11-181-00454-00; FFP Operating Partners, L.P. v. Intelligent Controls, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 4:01-CV-00577 (N. D. Tex.).

Product Liability & Tort Defense

  • Won jury verdict on behalf of Sunday River ski area against multi-million dollar damage claim arising out of injuries to passenger who fell from chairlift due to alleged negligent operation in dangerous weather conditions. Sutton v. Sunday River Skiway Corp., Oxford Cty. Sup. Ct. Dkt. No. CV-09-76.
  • Won jury verdict in Federal Court for appliance manufacturer in product liability action alleging that defective exhaust fan caused building fire. Canning v. Broan-NuTone, LLC, Dkt. No. 05-CV-15-B-JAW (D. Me.).
  • Won Summary Judgment and successfully defended appeal before Maine Supreme Court in wrongful death action on behalf of a wood products manufacturer following a workplace fatality of third-party trucking company employee. Estate of Joseph Nichols v. Huber Engineered Woods, LLC, Aroostook Cty. Sup. Ct. Dkt. No. CV-06-142; Law Ct. Dkt. No. ARO-09-505. Also won Summary Judgment in related insurance coverage dispute in North Carolina. Huber Engineered Woods, LLC v. Canal Insurance, Mecklenburg County Superior Court Dkt. No. 08-CVS-4611.
  • Won jury verdict in Federal Court on behalf of appliance manufacturer in product liability action alleging that defective coffeemaker caused building fire. Finley v. Mr. Coffee, Dkt. No. 95-CV-167-B (D. Me.).
  • Won jury verdict in Federal Court as co-trial counsel for automobile manufacturer in defense of claim that design defect caused door misalignment that led to passenger ejection and resulting brain injury. Dube v. American Isuzu Motors, Inc., Dkt. No. CV-96-80 (D. Me.).
  • Won jury verdict as co-trial counsel in defense of heavy equipment dealer against claim that bulldozer design defect caused accident resulting in permanent brain injury. Brown v. Metco, Cumb. Cty. Sup. Ct. Dkt. No. CV-91-937.
  • Won jury verdict in Federal Court as co-trial counsel for automobile manufacturer in defense of claim that defective roof design caused plaintiff’s quadriplegia following automobile-moose collision. Brawn v. Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd., Dkt. No. 91-0926 (D. Me.).
School Law
  • Obtained successful settlement in high-profile action against area school district on behalf of 11 year-old student who was subjected to bullying and harassment by teacher. Woodford v. RSU 28, Dkt. No. 16-CV-640-GZS (D.Me.).
  • Successfully represented students in multiple disciplinary actions brought by various colleges and secondary schools.
  • Successfully represented multiple school officials and parent groups in disputes with various schools.
Construction Litigation
  • Won jury verdict of nearly $1 million in Vermont Federal Court for general contractor following wrongful termination from construction of large commercial landfill. J.A. McDonald, Inc. v. Waste Systems International Moretown Landfill, Inc., Dkt. No. 2:99-CV-172 (D. Vt.).
  • Won Summary Judgment in Federal Court on behalf of commercial contractor in “Miller Act” case resulting in substantial damage award, plus attorney fees, in construction dispute arising out of U.S. Navy contract for aircraft hangar renovations at Brunswick Naval Air Station. United States ex. rel. Doten’s Construction, Inc. v. JMG Excavating and Construction Co., Inc., et al., Dkt. No. 2:03-CV-134 (D. Me.).

General Litigation

  • Won Summary Judgment in Federal Court on behalf of a long-term disability insurance carrier in “ERISA” action in defense of claim of wrongful termination of benefits. Tripp v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co., Dkt. No. 1:03-CV-40 (D. Me.).
  • Represented Maine’s first State-supported mail-order pharmacy in defense of highly-publicized and controversial claims of illegal internet sale of scheduled drugs. In Re: PIN Rx, LLC, #2006-PHR-3215.

Criminal Defense

  • Won “Not Guilty” jury verdict on behalf of duck hunter in widely-publicized homicide trial arising out of shooting death of hunting companion. State v. Mercer, Sag. Cty. Sup. Ct. Dkt. No. CR-97-153.
  • Won “Not Guilty” verdict in high-profile juvenile arson trial following high school fire. State v. Armstrong, Dkt. Nos. BELDC-JV-00-0092/93.
  • Negotiated dismissal of criminal charges against two Rhode Island businessmen accused of scheming their way into television celebrity Martha Stewart’s coastal Maine estate. State v. Moretti and Cimalore, Hnck. Cty. Sup. Ct. Dkt. Nos. CR-04-302/303.
  • Represented author of letter to infamous “Juror No. 4” that led to mistrial in New York criminal prosecution of Tyco executives Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz. Navigated extensive national media coverage, and facilitated decision by New York prosecutors not to pursue jury tampering charges.

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Areas of Practice for Neal F. Pratt

Bar Admissions

State of Maine
United States District Court of Maine
United States Court of Appeals First Circuit

Education

University of New Hampshire School of Law, J.D.
University of Maine, B.A.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • President, Scarborough Baseball Boosters Club (2016-present)
  • Director, Maine Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors (2015-present)
  • Trustee (6-Term Chair), Cross Insurance Arena (formerly, Cumberland County Civic Center) (2002-2017)
  • Member, Building Committee for $33 million renovation to Cumberland County Civic Center (2011-2014)
  • Director, Maine Convention and Visitors Bureau (2011-2013)
  • Chair, Joint Task Force with City of Portland, Cumberland County and AHL hockey franchise appointed to explore long-term renovation options for Cumberland County Civic Center (2007-2010)
  • Managed Scarborough Little League Baseball All-Star Team to Record-Setting 3 Consecutive District and State Championships and 2 Eastern Regional Tournaments (2010-2012)
  • Director and Coach, Scarborough Little League (2004-2013)
  • Director, Coach and Hall of Fame Member, Scarborough Kids’ Travel Baseball (2005-2010)
  • Director, American Legion Baseball (Libby-Mitchell Chapter) (2003-2013)
  • Member, Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce Policy Soundings (2005-2006)
  • Member and Vice Chair, Scarborough Zoning Board of Appeals (1998-2003)
  • Trustee, Scarborough Public Library (1998-1999)
  • Candidate for Cumberland County District Attorney (1998)
  • Steering Committee, Maine Week Without Violence (1998)
  • Instructor, Junior Achievement (1995-1996)
  • President, Southern Maine Men’s Baseball League (1993-1994)
  • Judge, Maine State High School Mock Trial Program
  • Judge, University of Maine School of Law Moot Court Program
  • American Bar Association
  • Maine State Bar Association
  • Cumberland County Bar Association
  • Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Edward T. Gignoux Inn of Court

Honors

  • Recipient of Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Robert R. Masterton Award for Leadership in Economic Development
  • Appointed by Chief Judge of US District Court to serve on Federal Local Rules Advisory Committee
  • The Best Lawyers in America® (Commercial Litigation; Construction Litigation; Product Liability Defense; Insurance Law) – Listed since 2010
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business® (Commercial Litigation) – Listed since 2007
  • New England Super Lawyers® (Business Litigation) – Listed since 2008
  • Benchmark Litigation, The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys® (Commercial Litigation) – Listed since 2011
  • Lawdragon Magazine® (Commercial Litigation; General Litigation) – Listed in 2007
  • Fellow, Maine Bar Foundation