Joe Dougherty and Dr. Kurt Maharay co-host The HealthBridge Highlight Hour. Today they are joined by Attorney Michael T. van der Veen and Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. of van der Veen, O’Neill, Hartshorn, and Levin. To contact HealthBridge Chiropractic call 833-422-4476 (833-HBCHIRO).
Attorney Michael van der Veen and Attorney Bruce Castor had the privilege of being President Donald Trumps Defense Attorneys during his Impeachment Trial in 2021.
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As founder of the firm, Michael van der Veen effortlessly combines accessibility, experience, negotiation, collaboration, and compassion to achieve results. And he has named partners to the firm who value and demonstrate these tenets as well. He is the rare attorney who excels in both civil litigation and criminal defense. Known for his unwavering commitment to serving as the voice of the victim and advocate for the accused, he has established his reputation by winning multimillion-dollar jury verdicts in State and Federal Courts, as well as winning major criminal trials.
His record of success in both civil and criminal courts includes acquittals in high-profile criminal cases and numerous seven-figure and eight-figure awards for victims. He has saved many corporations from unfair and oppressive government regulation and has won out-right victories for small companies and owners embroiled in complex corporate litigation.
Highlights of his nearly three decades of legal excellence include:
· A $31.5 million judgment for a client who was rendered paraplegic in a motor crash
· A $10 million settlement for child run over by a tractor-trailer, also involving work with the U.S. Department of Immigration
· A $10 million judgment for an injured bicyclist
· A $4.8 million judgment for an injured bicyclist
· A $4.25 million jury verdict in Federal Court for a man rendered tetraplegic in a crash with a tractor-trailer
· A $3.25 million jury verdict for a nurse who suffered a mild traumatic brain injury when a dump truck crashed into her
· A $1.65 million settlement for a man injured in a car crash
· $1.4 million recovered for the widow of a pharmaceutical executive killed in a high-speed motorcycle crash
· A $1.375 million settlement for a 24-year-old man who sustained a head injury after the car in which he was riding in was hit by a SEPTA bus
· A $1.35 million settlement benefiting a young prize fighter hit by a drunk driver
· Large confidential settlements for clients injured in construction accidents
· Dismissal of a Federal antitrust suit for a corporate client
· Freedom for executives wrongly accused of corporate embezzlement
· Travel across the United States to fight for children hurt by defective toys, and work to stop the flow of unsafe and defective products from China into the United States
· Representation of John Parker and The National AIDS Brigade in their fight to legalize the use of clean hypodermic needles Illinois to combat the spread of the virus. This landmark case, known as The Chicago Needle Trials, helped change state law in Illinois.
· Governor’s pardons for a stock broker charged with theft and man charged with assault
· A not guilty verdict in a Summary Case involving a dog bite
· Proof of innocence for a young St. Joseph’s University student falsely accused of rape
· Not guilty verdicts in drug trafficking and DUI cases
· Successful jury trials for those subjected to police brutality
· A not guilty verdict for a South Philadelphia man charged in the murder of his mother
Always a serious student, Michael graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall in 1981 and earned a BA in political science from Ohio Wesleyan in 1985. He earned his first law degree, a J.D. from Quinnipiac School of Law in 1988. He is a 1992 graduate of the National Criminal Defense College and earned an LLM in Trial Advocacy with highest honors from Temple University School of Law in 1995. Michael has been named to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list for thirteen consecutive years and often serves as an independent legal expert for print and television news media.
Actively involved in the local community Michael currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association and the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association. Throughout his career has chaired numerous charity events and mentored and coached many children. He is past chairman of the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Diabetes Association and also held board positions with the YMCA and the Montgomery School. Michael believes that everyone has a personal duty to support and contribute to their community and encourages his attorneys’ involvement as well through pro bono work and other activities.
A resident of Chester County, Michael and his wife Marion have two daughters.
Professional Membership Affiliations
Treasurer, Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association
Board of Governors, Philadelphia Bar Association
Board of Directors, Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association
Board of Delegates, Pennsylvania Bar Association
Pennsylvania Bar Association
American Bar Association
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Bruce L. Castor, Jr. worked in various prosecutors’ offices from 1981 to 1985 beginning as an intern and ultimately becoming the twice-elected District Attorney of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania from 2000 to 2008. Mr. Castor later was twice-elected Commissioner of Montgomery County and assumed that office on January 7, 2008 concentrating on Public Safety and related matters building on his career in law enforcement. Mr. Castor retired from Montgomery County on January 4, 2016 after 30 years of service. Mr. Castor next became Solicitor General and acting Attorney General of Pennsylvania during a time of great turmoil in that office.
Mr. Castor has practiced civil litigation for more than 10 years in addition to his three decades in law enforcement. Bruce focuses his practice on general civil litigation (especially for victims of crime), trial strategy and tactics, and conducting discreet internal investigations for corporate clients. He is a trial lawyer. Bruce formally acted as Solicitor to the Perkiomen Valley School District from 2015 to 2018. Numerous legal groups and publications routinely list Mr. Castor among America’s top lawyers.
During Mr. Castor’s law enforcement career, he prosecuted primarily homicide cases. In 1995, he received the Trial Advocacy Award from the National Association of Government Attorneys for his work investigating and prosecuting homicides. He received state-wide recognition for his efforts by the Pennsylvania General Assembly on two occasions, as well as by Governors Ridge and Casey. Mr. Castor holds the prestigious “AV” rating, has been listed on the Martindale-Hubble Lawyer Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers since 1996, named a “Pennsylvania Super Lawyer,” by Philadelphia Magazine from 2005 to 2008 & 2011 to present, and among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America 2012 to present. The Citizens Crime Commission of the Greater Delaware Valley honored Mr. Castor multiple times during his prosecutorial career, and he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Police Hall of Fame in 2007, a rare honor for a prosecutor. In 2009, Mr. Castor was chosen by his peers as a Fellow (later elevated to Senior Fellow) of the Litigation Counsel of America, the national trial lawyer honor society, and eventually appointed a member of Elite American Lawyers, and of the National Academy of Jurisprudence.
Prior to becoming acting Attorney General, Solicitor General, County Commissioner, and District Attorney, Mr. Castor served as First Assistant District Attorney, Deputy District Attorney (Chief of Trials), Assistant District Attorney in charge of the Major Crimes Unit, and as an assistant district attorney on the Sex Crimes Unit. He has supervised the County Investigating Grand Jury, and conducted numerous wiretap investigations. He has also acted as special prosecutor for the Office of Attorney General, and for other counties in Pennsylvania, on multiple occasions. Most recently, Mr. Castor served a three-year term as a Special Assistant District Attorney for Centre County, PA. finally leaving law enforcement after that term ended on December 31, 2017, though he did spend several weeks as a Special Assistant District Attorney in Susquehanna County to address a specific case for the District Attorney there at the time. Bruce has frequently lectured on topics related to trial tactics, courtroom preparation, criminal investigations, and prosecutions.
In addition to Pennsylvania, Mr. Castor is a member of the bar of the United States Supreme Court, The Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, and the Federal District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western (pending) Districts of Pennsylvania. Mr. Castor is a Past-President of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys’ Association, a member of the Pennsylvania and Montgomery Bar Associations, and was a charter member of the Pennsylvania Homicide Investigators’ Association. Bruce worked on the board of the Montgomery Bar Association and further as a Trustee of Norristown State Hospital having been appointed by Governor Ridge and again by Governor Rendell. He served on the Juvenile Court Rules Committee of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the First Judicial District Reform Commission of the Supreme Court, and on the Senate Select Commission to improve the criminal justice system. As acting Attorney General, Mr. Castor was an ex officio member of the Criminal Rules Committee of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
Mr. Castor acquired his undergraduate degree from Lafayette College, receiving his diploma from Astronaut Neil Armstrong, and his law degree from Washington and Lee University where he received the only graduation prize awarded for criminal law from the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell. He has received advanced education from the National College of District Attorneys and at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia in 1993.
Mr. Castor is a life long resident of Montgomery County who grew up in Abington and now lives in Lederach, Lower Salford Township with his wife, Elizabeth. The couple have been married since 1989 and are proud of their two grown children, Bruce, III (an assistant district attorney based in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County), and Alexandra (a member of the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts’ Office in Norristown). Bruce joined his long-time friend, former Lower Merion Township Commissioner and senatorial candidate Lance Rogers, in the practice of law in 2013, forming their partnership after Bruce had practiced law as a shareholder and director of the Blue Bell-based litigation firm of Elliott, Greenleaf from 2008 until 2013, a firm with which he maintains close ties. Bruce coached baseball for many years in the Souderton and Harleysville areas, and he and his family are members of Abington Presbyterian Church (where he and Elizabeth were married) and where Bruce taught Sunday school. Bruce is a Master Mason, a 33rd Degree Scottish Rite mason, a Knight Templar, and a Shriner.