Bruce Bellingham

Email bbellingham@sgrvlaw.com
Phone: (215) 241-8916
Fax: (215) 531-9115

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Bruce Bellingham

Senior Litigation Counsel

Bruce Bellingham joined the firm in 2001. He earned a Ph.D. in 1984 from the University of Pennsylvania, then he taught for fifteen years as an Assistant and Associate Professor of Sociology at Florida State University where he was awarded academic tenure.  During leaves from F.S.U. he earned a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997.  He received two graduation prizes: the Civil Trial Advocacy award and the M.E. Goldstein Memorial Prize in Labor Law. Before coming to SGR, he was an associate attorney at Kaufman Coren & Ress.  He is admitted to practice in Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York state courts and is admitted to the federal courts in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the Southern District of Florida, the Eleventh and Third Circuit Courts of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.

Mr. Bellingham’s legal work is divided between commercial litigation with an emphasis on dispositive motions and appellate advocacy; copyright infringement work and representation of artists, arts organizations, and content creators; and business advice and contract work generally for small to medium sized firms and individuals. He has been elected a “Super Lawyer” by his peers in the field of intellectual property (copyright) in the years 2015-2021.

With colleague Daniel Dugan, he represented a plaintiff in a business fraud case that resulted in a $2,132,525 verdict, the 15th highest award in Pennsylvania in 2017 according to the Legal Intelligencer Top Verdicts and Settlements.

In a representative civil case, a plaintiff whose counsel had a history of winning huge judgments in child molestation cases demanded a multi-million dollar settlement for her claim against a targeted “deep pocket” hotel charged with negligence in her alleged sexual assault outside the hotel by another student while they were on a group ski trip.  Mr. Bellingham wrote a motion that resulted in summary judgment for the firm’s hotel client which was dismissed from the case.   His most unexpected victory was a decision in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversing a “confessed judgment” (agreed to in advance as part of a loan agreement) against a borrower who admitted he had no excuse for not challenging the judgment for two years despite a statute that required motions to open such judgments to be filed within 30 days.  After losing in both the trial and intermediate appeals court, Mr. Bellingham finally won at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court arguing that if a judgment was “void” from the outset due to a fundamental defect it could be challenged at any time.  The client got back his property and profits for the years it was in the lender’s possession.

In a decision bucking the trend dispensing with “privity,” Mr. Bellingham briefed a Pennsylvania Supreme Court case holding that subsequent or “remote” house buyers could not sue the builder for breach of the implied warranty of habitability because they had not contracted with the builder even where they had purchased their houses only a few years after they were constructed. 

Mr. Bellingham, a Florida lawyer, does much briefing in legal malpractice defense cases with colleague Michael McGirney in the SGRV Florida office.  He also handles mainly appeals and dispositive motions for personal injury defendants including amusement parks, nursing homes, and Uber drivers in Pennsylvania and New York.  He also handles bankruptcy adversary action litigation with colleague Leslie Baskin whom he has represented as bankruptcy Trustee counsel.

Mr. Bellingham regularly represents several prominent Los Angeles area photographers, and occasionally other photographers, bringing claims against content pirates located in New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware (with local counsel).  He also represents copyright defendants facing infringement claims in which finds defects which often dissuade plaintiffs from litigation.

An active provider of pro bono legal services for the Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts organization, Mr. Bellingham was awarded the 2009 Volunteer of the Year award from the Arts and Business Council of Greater Philadelphia for his work.  His work included representing the Philadelphia Peking Opera Society in cy pres litigation over funds from a dissolved non-profit (his client received an award) and representation of a muralist whose work was removed from a wall in violation of the Visual Artists Rights Act (the case settled).  He represented a prominent artist whose painting was held by a fine arts storage service which asserted a lien on the work based on a dealer’s failure to pay. After suing under the Artworks Consignment Act the artist recovered his work even though the storage company performed a service for the dealer and was not paid.

Mr. Bellingham regularly serves as an arbitrator for the Compulsory Arbitration Program of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.

  • Bruce Bellingham and Johan Kian, The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Stop the Clock” Supplemental Jurisdiction Tolling Decision Alters Pennsylvania and New Jersey Time Limits for Filing Cases Transferred from Federal to State Court, 89 Pa. B.A.Q. 147, 147–48 (2018).
  • Bruce Bellingham and Peter McCall (February 22, 2016) “Controversies Surrounding Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances” (with Peter McCall), The Legal Intelligencer.
  • Bruce Bellingham (August 12, 2015) “Liability for Unlicensed Photographs on the Internet” The Legal Intelligencer.
  • Bruce Bellingham and Peter McCall (October 19, 2015) “Artists’ ‘Moral Rights’: Time-Tested Yet Still Unpredictable” The Legal Intelligencer.
  • Bruce Bellingham and Peter McCall (December 17, 2015) “Is Group Copyright Registration of Photos Worth It?” The Legal Intelligencer.
  • Bruce Bellingham and George M. Vinci Jr. (January 30, 2013) “Three Unsettled Issues in Pa. Legal Malpractice Law, Part III” The Legal Intelligencer.
  • Bruce Bellingham and George M. Vinci Jr. (January 23, 2013) “Three Unsettled Issues in Pa. Legal Malpractice Law, Part II” The Legal Intelligencer.
  • Bruce Bellingham and George M. Vinci Jr. (January 16, 2013) “Three Unsettled Issues in Pa. Legal Malpractice Law, Part I” The Legal Intelligencer.
  • Lerner, Alan M., Augie Hermann, and Bruce Bellingham, Legal Interviewing: A Video Workshop, National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Notre Dame Law School, (1999; 2 videotapes; Text, 215pp.) ISBN 1-55681-580-8

Education

  • University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D. 1997, M.H. Goldstein Memorial Prize (Labor Law); Wapner, Newman & Assocs. Award (Civil Trial Advocacy)
  • University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D., 1984
  • York University, M.A. 1980
  • Trent University, B.A. 1974 (Hons.), T.H.B. Symons Medalist

Professional Organizations

  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Florida Bar Association
  • New York Bar Association

Practice Areas

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Copyright Litigation
  • Trademark Law
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Advice to businesses, artists, and content creators

Admissions

  • Florida, 1998
  • Pennsylvania, 1999
  • New York, 2016