Neal F. Pratt

Neal Pratt is widely-regarded as a “go to” trial attorney for high-stakes litigation.  With an extraordinary record of success over 30 years, Neal has unique experience handling “bet-the-company” litigation and other thorny legal disputes. He is renowned for his strategic planning skills and meticulous preparation, and often succeeds in achieving client goals without the need for protracted litigation. When a trial is necessary, however, Neal’s extensive track record of courtroom victories speaks for itself.

Neal serves as Co-Chair of the firm's Probate and Trust Litigation Group, and is a member of the Litigation practice group. He specializes in complex civil and commercial litigation, with a focus in shareholder and partnership disputes, business and contract actions, probate and trust litigation, and product liability and tort matters. He also has substantial experience handling construction disputes and cell tower litigation.

Neal repeatedly has been recognized by clients and peers in virtually every major national peer-review organization, including Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, Super Lawyers, Benchmark Litigation, Martindale Hubbell, and Lawdragon. Clients and opposing attorneys have publicly commended his performance with testimonials such as: "he is an excellent attorney", "[he is] calm, precise and strategic", and "he is full of energy and fights the way you would want your brother to." Maine’s largest newspaper also has commented that Neal has "earned the reputation as a skilled trial lawyer and top-notch litigator."

 

In addition to his busy practice, Neal remains committed to community service. As six-term Board Chairman of the Cross Insurance Arena, the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce awarded him the Robert R. Masterton Award for Leadership in Economic Development for leading a successful bond referendum on a $33 million modernization initiative. Neal is an Adjunct Professor of Constitutional and Criminal law, and also serves as a Director of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame. Perhaps most meaningfully, Neal has coached dozens of youth sports teams, including leading the Scarborough Little League All-Star baseball team to a record-setting three consecutive state titles and two regional tournament appearances.

Honors & Distinctions
  • Received “Robert R. Masterton Award for Leadership in Economic Development" from Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Appointed by Chief Judge of U.S. District Court to serve on the Federal Local Rules Advisory Committee
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America® for Commercial Litigation, Construction Law, Product Liability Defense, and Insurance Law (2010-present)
  • Recognized by Chambers USA for Commercial Litigation (2007-present)
  • Recognized by Super Lawyers for Business Litigation in Portland, Maine (2008-present)
  • Recognized by Benchmark Litigation as "Local Litigation Star" in Commercial Litigation in Maine (2011-present)
Professional Activities
  • American Bar Association
  • Maine State Bar Association
  • Cumberland County Bar Association
  • Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Edward T. Gignoux Inn of Court
  • Fellow, Maine Bar Foundation
Civic Activities
  • Director, Maine Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors (2015-present)
  • President, Scarborough Baseball Boosters Club (2016-2019)
  • Trustee and six-term Chair, Cross Insurance Arena (formerly Cumberland County Civic Center) (2002-2017)
  • Director, Maine Convention and Visitors Bureau (2011-2013)
  • Director and coach, Scarborough Little League (coached All-Star team to three consecutive district and state titles and two regional tournament appearances) (2006-2013)

Practice Areas

Representative Experience

Commercial & Probate Litigation

  • Won summary judgment on all claims in Maine Business Court in defense of three shareholders accused of breaching their fiduciary duties and engaging in undue influence relating to family-owned construction business. Also obtained dismissal of related will contest in Probate Court.
  • Successfully settled breach of fiduciary duty case brought against bank and trust company in which several plaintiffs sought several million dollars in damages.
  • Won complete dismissal of a multimillion dollar suit brought against a client in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for want of derivative standing.
  • Secured dismissal of trademark infringement action brought under the Lanham Act involving outdoor apparel “brand” utilized in catalog and web marketing.
  • Won arbitration hearing arising out of dispute between general partners and related entities over distribution and allocation of proceeds of $80 million timberland sale.
  • 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.
  • 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 multimillion dollar claims of fraud, breach of contract, unfair competition, civil conspiracy, fraudulent transfers and defamation.
  • Won summary judgment in federal court in defense of corporate client in multimillion dollar civil rights suit alleging conspiracy among court-appointed Receiver and several public and private entities to put construction company out of business.
  • 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.

Product Liability & Tort Defense

  • Won jury verdict on behalf of Sunday River ski area against multimillion dollar damage claim arising out of injuries to passenger who fell from chairlift due to alleged negligent operation in dangerous weather conditions.
  • Won jury verdict in federal court for appliance manufacturer in product liability action alleging that defective exhaust fan caused building fire.
  • 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.
  • Won jury verdict in federal court on behalf of appliance manufacturer in product liability action alleging that defective coffeemaker caused building fire.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.
  • Represented Maine’s first state-supported mail order pharmacy in defense of highly-publicized and controversial claims of illegal internet sale of scheduled drugs.
  • Won summary judgment in North Carolina on behalf of insurance carrier in coverage dispute over enforceability of life insurance policy following death of insured.
  • 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.

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.
  • Won “not guilty” verdict in high-profile juvenile arson trial following high school fire.
  • Negotiated dismissal of criminal charges against two Rhode Island businessmen accused of scheming their way into television celebrity Martha Stewart’s coastal Maine estate.
  • 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.
Representative Experience
  • Won jury verdict of nearly $1 million in Vermont Federal Court for general contractor following wrongful termination from construction of large commercial landfill.
  • 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.