Gretchen L. Geisser Petersen

Gretchen L. Geisser Petersen

Shareholder

Civil Litigation • Tax Assessment Appeals & Property Tax Exemptions • Landlord-Tenant Law • Personal Injury • Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights

Gretchen L. Geisser Petersen is a shareholder in the Firm’s Litigation & Trial Practice group. Her practice focuses on civil litigation, including commercial litigation, real estate litigation, landlord-tenant law, personal injury, bankruptcy and creditor’s rights and employment litigation. She also has extensive experience in tax assessment appeals, including property tax exemptions and business privilege tax matters, representing these matters at all levels – from local agencies to the Appellate Court. In addition to representing a wide-range of clients in diverse areas of litigation and taxation, Ms. Petersen is licensed in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey and has successfully litigated numerous trials and arbitrations before both Pennsylvania and New Jersey Trial Courts, as well as before Appellate Courts in both states. This range of experience, along with Ms. Petersen’s extensive practice range, makes her a valuable asset to her clients.

Graduating from Muhlenberg College with a degree in Biology, Ms. Petersen has merged the critical-thinking developed during her undergraduate experience with the legal knowledge acquired during her tenure at Villanova University School of Law. After working for both the Pennsylvania Superior Court and United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania during her tenure at Villanova Law School, Ms. Petersen further developed her courtroom experience as a law clerk with The Honorable Michael J. Koury, Jr. of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County. Ms. Petersen joined FLB in 2012, bringing her extensive judicial knowledge to the litigation team.

Ms. Petersen’s dedication to her clients is reflected in her commitment to the Lehigh Valley. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Easton since 2013. Ms. Petersen is also a member of the Muhlenberg College Board of Associates and became a Board Member for the Southern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce in 2018. She is also on the Executive Committee of the Lehigh County Barristers’ Inn, and a member of the Bar Association of Lehigh County and Northampton County Bar Association. She is a frequent speaker at Muhlenberg College.


Education

 
  • Villanova University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 2011
    • Dean’s Merit Scholarship
    • Villanova Law Moot Court Board – Executive Committee, Reimel Evaluator
  • Muhlenberg College, B.S., Biology, magna cum laude, 2008
    • Phi Beta Kappa
    • Presidential Scholarship
    • Dana Scholar (Academic Honors Program)
    • The George H. Hambrecht Law School Award

Projects & Accomplishments

 
  • Successfully obtained numerous verdicts in breach of contract matters, including a full defense, multi-million dollar jury verdict.
  • Following a multi-day trial, successfully attained a full reversal of attempted imposition of tax on a nonprofit organization.
  • Represented numerous residential, commercial and industrial taxpayers in the appeal of real estate tax assessments. Appearances include local assessment authorities, the Courts of Common Pleas and Pennsylvania’s appeal courts.
  • Advised and represented local and nationally recognized nonprofit organizations, including hospitals, universities, and charter schools on property tax exemption and business privilege tax exemptions.
  • Successfully tried numerous cases for arbitration panels and achieved numerous favorable settlements.
  • Successfully filed multiple Motions for Summary Judgment, leading to full dismissal of cases in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
  • Effectively litigated tax exemption hearings and trials for multiple nonprofit organizations.
  • Successfully argued Summary Judgment for dismissal of slip and fall case.
  • Effectively litigated challenge to tax exemption status of major nonprofit, leading to withdraw of challenge by opposing party.

Reported Decisions

 
  • Phoebe Services, Inc. v. City of Allentown, 706 C.D. 2020, 2021 WL 3555989 (Pa. Cmwlth. Aug. 12, 2021)

Bar Admissions

 
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey

Professional Organizations

 
  • Bar Association of Lehigh County
  • Northampton County Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • New Jersey Bar Association
  • The Judge Donald E. Wieand Barristers Inn, Member

Clerkships

 
  • Law Clerk – The Honorable Michael J. Koury, Jr. (Northampton County Court of Common Pleas, 2011-2012)
  • Externship – The Honorable Michael M. Baylson (District Court, Eastern District of PA, 2010)
  • Internship – The Honorable Mitchell S. Goldberg (District Court, Eastern District of PA, 2010)
  • Internship – The Honorable James J. Fitzgerald, III (Superior Court of Pennsylvania, 2009)

Honors & Affiliations

 
  • Named a “Select Lawyer”:
    • Bankruptcy & Creditor’s Rights Law, Commercial Litigation and General Civil Litigation, 2014
    • Bankruptcy & Creditor’s Rights Law, 2015 – 2017

Community Activity

 
  • The Judge Donald E. Wieand Barristers Inn, Member, Executive Committee
  • Southern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce, Member, Board of Directors
  • Boys and Girls Club of Easton, Member, Board of Directors
  • Muhlenberg College Board of Associates, Member