• Tom Kline Shanin Specter Andrew Stern Lee Balefsky David Caputo Andrew Youman Amy Guth Charles Becker Michael Smerconish Lisa Dagostino Michelle Tiger
    Garabet Zakeosian Mark Polin Dominic Guerrini Michael Trunk Regan Safier Geary Yeisley Kila Baldwin David Williams David Inscho James Waldenberger Suzanne dePillis
    Christine Clarke Braden Lepisto Elizabeth Crawford Kristen Sipala Barry Magen Tracie Palmer Gilbert Shelsby Robert Leoni Paulette Francois Priscilla Jimenez
  • $109 Million
    Largest Verdict in a Personal Injury case
    in Pennsylvania history

  • $100 Million
    Medical Malpractice
    Largest-ever compensatory verdict

  • $153 Million
    Then-second largest Product
    Liability verdict in U.S. history

  • $38.2 Million
    Delaware County
    Auto Accident Verdict

  • $36.4 Million
    Workplace Injury
    Largest single-victim fatality settlement

  • $51 Million
    Premises Liability/
    Civil Rights verdict

Civil Rights Attorneys

Pennsylvania - New Jersey - Delaware - New York - Nationwide

en español

Civil Rights Attorneys - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and nationwide - Civil Rights Lawyer

Cases taken on by Kline & Specter occasionally transcend typical liability issues. In some instances, clients have suffered – along with their physical injuries – a violation of their civil rights, namely their right to be free from harm.

In these cases, Kline & Specter has obtained not only redress for its clients but also important societal changes to protect the safety of citizens.

In 1999, Shanin Specter sued the City of Philadelphia after LeeMore Rich and his infant son were killed by a speeding police car as they stood on a street corner. The civil rights claim allowed Specter to circumvent the city’s sovereign immunity – which set a $250,000 cap on lawsuits. He settled the case for $2.5 million for Rich’s estate and his surviving five-year-old daughter. (See Gillyard/Rich)

But Specter did not stop there. In researching the case, Specter discovered many smaller settlements paid by the city to victims of similar accidents. He also found that over roughly a four-year period city police vehicles had been involved in 3,800 collisions, most of them avoidable. Specter's persistence in negotiations with the Philadelphia Police Department resulted in a pledge from then-Police Commissioner John Timoney to institute a series of reforms to improve police driver training, deter reckless driving and heighten safety.

Later in the same year, Tom Kline also filed a civil rights claim in the highly publicized Hall v. SEPTA case in which a young boy’s foot was severed in a subway escalator. SEPTA, as a government-related agency, also enjoyed sovereign immunity and a $250,000 limit on lawsuits against it. Kline alleged that the transit agency had deprived Shareif Hall of his civil right to personal safety.

The case resulted in a $51 million jury verdict and a $1 million fine imposed by the presiding judge against SEPTA. The fine was later reduced to $100,000 after SEPTA agreed to inspect and repair escalators that were found to be dilapidated throughout the system. The escalator on which Shareif was injured was replaced with a new one.

Kline, along with attorney Dominic Guerrini, also represented the family of a Cherry Hill man killed in Camden County Jail by another inmate. The federal suit charged county correctional officials with "reckless and deliberate indifference" in the death of Joel Seidel, an older man who was beaten to death by a much younger and stronger prisoner with a history of violent assaults. The Seidel Case settled for $4 million, one of the largest-ever settlements in a case of its kind.

The civil rights lawsuit claims that Seidel was denied his constitutional rights to medical care, due process and to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. The suit cites overcrowding at the prison in general and the failure to move Seidel to a hospital, psychiatric facility or his own cell and failure to provide adequate observation. Among the defendants are the Camden County Jail, Camden County Department of Corrections and Prison Health Services Inc. and Steininger Behavioral Care Services, both of which had contracts to provide services to inmates.

The firm handles cases in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. For cases outside those states, Kline & Specter works with local attorneys in each state as applicable.

Click here to contact a civil rights attorney.

Kline & Specter handles cases in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York and Nationwide, working with local attorneys in states outside PA, NJ and NY.

Civil Rights News

Civil Rights Cases

Click on the links below to learn more about some of Kline & Specter's Civil Rights cases.

Prison Cases:

Man suffers brain injury in prison suicide try
Suit settled with police assigned to misdemeanor suspect

Philly teenager killed at treatment center
Kline & Specter settles suit for $10.5 million in Tennessee case

Two inmates die in Lehigh County Prison
Kline & Specter files wrongful death lawsuits

Man fatally beaten in Camden prison cell
Suit settled in case of older man placed in cell with violent inmate

Police Cases:

Man, child killed by speeding Philadelphia police car
City paid $2.5 million, agreed to tighten police driving rules

Officers were convicted of sex crimes
More women claim they were victims, dancer files lawsuit

Mass Transit

Tot's foot torn off in subway escalator
A jury awarded $51 million, judge also fined SEPTA

Click here to contact a civil rights lawyer.


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