Sam Hornak recently won summary judgment in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in Fores v. The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, a personal injury lawsuit where the Plaintiff allegedly suffered serious personal injuries from falling into a sewer catch basin. The Court granted summary judgment on the basis that the Plaintiff had failed to establish any defect with the catch basin, or any liability on the part of the PWSA. The award of summary judgment spared the PWSA from the expenses of defending the case at trial, or conducting inquiries into the design of tens of thousands of catch basins in the City of Pittsburgh.
Samuel A. HornakSamuel Hornak Clark Hill
Samuel A. Hornak
Samuel A. Hornak is a senior attorney and experienced trial lawyer in the Clark Hill litigation group, where he is resident in the firm’s Pittsburgh office.
Sam’s practice includes the representation of corporations, governments, and individuals before federal and state courts, and it involves a diverse array of legal issues—ranging from commercial contractual disputes to real estate development and tenancy matters. Sam has extensive courtroom and mediation experience, including successful first-chair advocacy through trial verdict and on appeal.
Sam’s commercial litigation practice involves a variety of disputes relating to breaches of contract, unfair trade practices, and property damage claims. Additionally, Sam specializes in counseling real estate developers and landlords in disputes with their tenants, contractors, and regulators. Sam also assists with corporate restructurings and workouts, in bankruptcy court and through the appointment of receivers. Sam frequently secures the efficient and creative resolution of disputes without resorting to litigation in a courtroom setting.
Sam devotes a significant portion of his practice to municipal matters, representing municipal governments, agencies and authorities. He was lead trial and appellate counsel in King v. The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, 139 A.3d 336 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2016), which established the standard for a municipal authority’s inspection of its facilities. A major part of this practice is advising governments regarding their obligations under open records laws, including Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law. Sam’s active government practice also informs his frequent representation of private individuals and corporations finding themselves in contact with local, state, and federal governments.
Since 2015, Sam’s peers have repeatedly selected him as a Pennsylvania SuperLawyers Rising Star. Sam is an officer of the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Federal Court Section, through which he regularly presents CLE programming of interest and use to federal court practitioners. Additionally, he is the Pittsburgh representative to the Clark Hill Leadership Forum, which oversees firm professional development, promotes a culture of mentoring, and acts as a liaison between more junior attorneys and senior firm leadership. Sam is proud to have spent the entirety of his legal career at Clark Hill.
Sam maintains an active community presence, and he has long been an advocate for homeless and at-risk children. He sits on the board of Beverly’s Birthdays, which provides assistance to children experiencing homelessness in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. As a member of the Partner4Work Youth Advisory Committee, Sam assists in the distribution of federal and state workforce development funding among organizations serving young Western Pennsylvanians. Additionally, Sam is a past Board Chairman of the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project (PUMP), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of living and working in Western Pennsylvania.
Sam served as a White House advance representative in the administration of President George W. Bush. As an undergraduate, he worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development in its Bureau of Legislative and Public Affairs, and for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce.
- Communiqué, “Affordable Care Act’s Medical Loss Ratio Provision: Is There A Private Right Of Action?” , November 2012.
- Communiqué, “Health Plans’ Commercial Uncertainties Persist After Supreme Court’s Decision Upholding the Affordable Care Act’s Constitutionality,” August 2012.
- The Legal Intelligencer,“Six Lessons From Six Months as an Associate,” July 2012.
Sam Hornak’s recent argument before the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in King v. Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority (PWSA) resulted in a favorable opinion for our client the PWSA. Sam defended the PWSA against a Plaintiff who alleged that the PWSA was responsible for an injury suffered as a result of a rusted sewer grate. The Court reaffirmed the PWSA’s current inspection policies which rely on complaint-based investigation and that the PWSA is not obligated to “patrol the streets” looking for defects in its facilities.