Judge Fitzgerald has more than 25 years of experience as a Bankruptcy Judge, having presided over matters in the Western District of Pennsylvania (where she was chief judge for five years) as well as in the District of Delaware (20 years), the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (8 years) and the U.S. Virgin Islands (9 years).
Judi has unique experience in mass tort bankruptcies, having adjudicated more cases involving section 524(g) asbestos trusts than any other bankruptcy judge in the country. She has an extensive trial background and frequently served as a settlement judge and mediator. She was the sole judge hearing all chapter 13 cases in the Western District of Pennsylvania and Delaware for many years. She has completed several mediation training courses, including the intensive, 40-hour Bankruptcy Mediation Training course offered by St. John’s University, and the American Bankruptcy Institute, courses by the PA Council of Mediators, and the Council of Mediators of Western Pennsylvania, and now serves as a mediator and arbitrator in addition to her services as an expert witness and consultant. She is a member of FedArb, an association of former federal judges who provide expert witness, consultation, mediation and arbitration services.
In addition to practicing law, Judge Fitzgerald taught contracts, commercial law and bankruptcy courses at the Indiana Tech Law School as a tenured full professor of law. She now holds the position of Professor in Practice at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where she teaches bankruptcy law and advanced bankruptcy law.
Before being appointed as a bankruptcy judge in 1987, Judi was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Western District of Pennsylvania, with a concentration in complex frauds and criminal tax cases.
During her tenure as a bankruptcy judge, Fitzgerald presided over many significant corporate cases including:
- The Flintkote Company
- Kaiser Aluminum Corporation
- Owens Corning
- W.R. Grace
- Pittsburgh Corning Corporation
- Armstrong World Industries
- United States Mineral Products
- USG Corporation
- Maronda Homes
- Fleming Steel Company
- Federal-Mogul Corporation
- Innovative Communications Corp.
- Just For Feet, Inc.
- WorldClass Processing, Inc.
- Combustion Engineering, Inc.
- Peregrine Systems, Inc.
- American Pad & Paper Co.
- PHP Healthcare Corporation
- Color Tile, Inc.
- Italian Oven
- Shannopin Coal Co.
- Busy Beaver Bldg. Centers, Inc.
- Papercraft Corporation
Presentations & Publications
- Tucker Arensberg Blogpost, "Losing Your Right to Appeal Through Silence"
- The Rutter Group National Practice Guide - Bankruptcy (ThomsonReuters)
- Co-author Bankruptcy and Divorce, Support and Property Division (Aspen)
- The American Bankruptcy Law Journal, Associate Editor