History

1871

  • The firm is founded

    by Wayne MacVeagh, John B. McPherson and Lyman D. Gilbert.

1879

  • Lyman D. Gilbert defends Major Reno

    in a Court of Inquiry concerning his conduct at the Battle of the Little Big Horn on June 25-26, 1876.

1880

  • Hall v Pennsylvania Railroad Co.

    After striking railroad employees in Pittsburgh started a fire that destroyed a shipper's goods, the United States District Court held that the railroad could not be held liable for the actions of a lawless mob, so exception to liability applied.
  • Duncan v. Pennsylvania Railroad Company

    Duncan involved 19th century urban infrastructure development in the City of Philadelphia. Firm attorneys persuade Pennsylvania Supreme Court to establish railroad's right to construct branch lines on purchased railroads.

1881

  • Wayne MacVeagh appointed U. S. Attorney General

    by President Garfield.

1882

  • Firm name changed to Weiss and Gilbert

1899

  • Lyman Gilbert elected

    President of the Pennsylvania Bar Association

1907

  • Harrisburg v. Pennsylvania Railroad Co.

    Firm attorneys successfully argued that a railroad company should be allowed to construct and operate its own water mains on and through its property to supply water for its own purposes.
  • Firm name changed to Gilbert, Bergner and Cunningham

1912

  • John B. McPherson appointed to U.S. Court of Appeals

    for the Third Circuit by President Taft.

1914

  • Firm name changed

    to Bergner, Cunningham and Nauman

1925

  • J. E. B. Cunningham appointed to Superior Court of Pennsylvania

1932

  • Firm name changed to Nauman, Smith and Hurlock

1934

  • Schwenk v. Pennsylvania R.R. Co.

    Firm prevailed in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to establish that not only the driver of a vehicle, but also the adult passengers, have a continuing duty to stop, look and listen when traveling over a rail-highway crossing.

1939

  • Pennsylvania Railroad Co. v. Driscoll

    Pennsylvania Supreme Court found the challenged provisions of The Full Crew Act of 1937, which prescribed the size of crews required to operate trains of various types, size and purpose, unconstitutional as applied to the Pennsylvania Railroad because the provisions were unreasonably costly to implement and did not increase safety.

1940

  • Alwine v. Pennsylvania Railroad Co.

    Firm attorneys successfully argued before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that the Interstate Commerce Act making both the receiving carrier and the delivering carrier liable for all damages on a through bill of lading did not apply when the shipment originates in a foreign country.

1946

  • Picking v. Pennsylvania Railroad Co.

    After railroad was sued for false imprisonment in connection with the transportation of persons in the custody of peace officers from Pennsylvania to New York, the United States District Court held that since railroads were required to transport such persons, the railroad was simply doing its duty and claims were dismissed.

1949

  • United States v. Pennsylvania Railroad Co.

    Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that a three-hour break was sufficient to break the continuity of a train crew's service, and railroad was not liable for violation of the Hours of Service Act.
  • Firm name changed

    to Nauman, Smith, Shissler and Hall

1954

  • Scibelli v. Pennsylvania Railroad Co.

    Nauman Smith successfully argued before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to affirm that railroad had no duty to provide guards to keep people from climbing upon trains.

1958

  • Pennsylvania Railroad Co. v. Schwartz

    Firm successful in arguing before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to negate the remaining provisions of Full Crew Act of 1937.

1968

  • James S. Bowman appointed

    first President Judge of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

1971

  • 100th Anniversary

    Nauman, Smith, Shissler and Hall celebrates 100th Anniversary

2000

  • Nauman Smith successfully represents the Patriot News

    in a Sunshine Act review of the empowerment teams of both the Harrisburg and Steelton School Districts.

2004

  • Consolidated Rail Corp. v. City of Harrisburg

    Nauman Smith successfully argued before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to preserve the ability of railroads to enforce their rights under literally thousands of contracts with public utilities.

2006

  • Krentz v. Consolidated Rail Corp.

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously reaffirmed the occupied crossing rule as a complete bar to recovery on a negligence claim. The Court also found for the first time that Pennsylvania's blocked crossing statute was preempted under the Federal Rail Safety Act.
  • Murphy vs. PHEAA

    Nauman Smith chosen to represent Patriot News reporter, Jan Murphy, in Murphy vs. PHEAA to gain access to PHEAA records. This was the first appellate decision in history to award attorneys' fees to the prevailing media entities under a Right-to-Know case.

2007

  • Nauman Smith wins court case

    before The Pennsylvania Supreme Court forcing State Retirement System to release salary records of Penn State University personnel.

2010

  • Spencer G. Nauman, Jr. designated a Living Legacy

    by the Harrisburg SusqueCentennial Commission as part of Harrisburg’s 150th Anniversary in recognition of his achievements, inspiration and insight into the issues and events that shaped the city of Harrisburg.

2011

  • 140th Anniversary

    Nauman, Smith, Shissler and Hall celebrates 140th Anniversary

2013

  • Partner Stephen Feinour receives the Robert D. Hanson Award from The Rotary Club of Harrisburg

    The award is annually bestowed upon a member for exemplary service and dedicated leadership to the Rotary Club and the greater Harrisburg community. The award, named for Robert Hanson, a long -time distinguished member of the Dauphin County Bar Association, was presented during the Rotary’s January 14th meeting.
  • Nauman Smith’s transportation practice expands to include air travel

    as Partner J. Stephen Feinour represents the purchaser in an acquisition of the Capital City Airport Fixed Base Operation (FBO) and the negotiation of a lease agreement for the facility with the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority (SARAA), which also owns the Harrisburg International Airport.
  • The Commonwealth Court decides that communications received

    by the Secretary of Education, while sitting as a Trustee on Penn State University's Board, could potentially be subject to public disclosure as public records under the Right-to-Know Law (RTKL). Joshua D. Bonn served as counsel for the appeal after the Office of Open Records (OOR) denied a request for copies of print and electronic communications received by the Commonwealth’s Secretary of Education through his service as an ex officio member of PSU’s Board of Trustees.

2014

  • Nauman Smith receives a Tier 1 ranking in the 2014 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms”

    Firms included in the 2014 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.

2016

  • Partner Benjamin C. Dunlap testified before the Senate Transportation Committee

    During a hearing on “The Delay and Delivery of Transportation Projects” Ben testified on behalf of the Keystone State Railroad Association ("KSRRA").
  • Nauman Smith attorney Craig Staudenmaier wins Pennsylvania Supreme Court appeal for coalition of ten news media organizations

    Legal victory resulted in an order compelling the Public Utility Commission to release an anonymous tip letter and investigation records surrounding favorable restoration of power to the neighborhood of a high-ranking PPL executive after a power outage that resulted in loss of power to over 388,000 PPL customers and a $60,000 fine to PPL.

2017

  • Firm names Joshua D. Bonn partner

  • Nauman Smith’s Right-to-Know practice group secures two favorable decisions from Pennsylvania Supreme Court on same day

    Nauman Smith assisted Centre County in resisting District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller’s lawsuit to enjoin the County from disclosing emails and text messages that she sent to county judges. Second, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that the Right-to-Know Law’s exemptions from public disclosure do not apply to records made public by other laws.

2019

  • Nauman Smith successfully assisted The Patriot-News/PennLive.com in achieving two major court victories intended to bring greater transparency to the state-regulated marijuana industry

    Cases intended to bring greater transparency to the state-regulated marijuana industry.

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