Largest Verdict in a Personal Injury case
in Pennsylvania history
Largest-ever compensatory verdict
Then-second largest Product
Liability verdict in U.S. history
Auto Accident Verdict
Largest single-victim fatality settlement
Civil Rights verdict
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- Andy Stern representing woman trapped in building collapse
- Tom Kline named No. 1 PA Super Lawyer record 10th straight year
- 14 at Kline & Specter named Super Lawyers, Specter in Top 10 again
- On TV ⇒ Kline & Specter files suit in unnecessary stent procedure case
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- Specter, Baldwin, Guerrini $109 million verdict among U.S.Top 10
- On TV ⇒ Tom Kline comments on kidnap case
- Tom Kline named 2013 Best Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer
- Seven at Kline & Specter named "Best Lawyers in America"
- Specter sues city over captivity and torture of 10-year-old girl
- High Court refuses case, $8.75M verdict vs. Ford stands
- Kline & Specter files suit on behalf of Eagles' Jason Peters
- Kline & Specter Courtroom dedicated at Penn Law School
- Waldenberger wins $3M verdict in cancer case
- On TV ⇒The Kline & Specter Squash Center opens at Drexel University
- Kline, Caputo win $14M verdict in Pennsbury school bus accident case
- On TV ⇒ Tom Kline interviewed on Penn State case by CNN, MSNBC ...
- Kline & Specter named No. 1 Product Liability Firm in the United States
- Specter, Safier, Williams win $17.5M med-mal verdict
- On TV ⇒ Shanin Specter comments on the Ellison case, CBS3
- Guerrini wins $15M verdict in teen's death
- PA Superior Court panel upholds $8.75M Blumer verdict
- Kline & Specter wins largest-ever Erie personal injury verdict, $21.6M
- Michael Smerconish joins Kline & Specter
- On TV ⇒ Kline, Inscho, Baldwin obtain $1.8M in psychologist sex case
- Kline & Specter named among Best Law Firms in U.S.
- Trunk, Zakeosian win $11.7 million against PHA and property manager
- Kline, Specter named among nation's 500 "Leading Lawyers"
- On TV ⇒ ESPN features the Plevretes case, Shanin Specter
- Best Lawyers names Tom Kline No. 1 Phila. personal injury attorney
- See more Kline & Specter stories in the news
In 1995, Tom Kline and Shanin Specter left a major Philadelphia law firm and started their own practice, opening an office on the top floor of a building in Philadelphia with one associate attorney and four staffers.
Today, Kline & Specter, P.C. occupies 10 floors of the same building at 1525 Locust St. with an army of some 30 top-notch attorneys (seven of whom are also doctors), a staff exceeding 100 and a reputation as not only the leading plaintiffs firm in the Philadelphia region but one of the best in the United States.
Accolades and honors have followed. As The Legal Intelligencer wrote: “Along with partner Tom Kline, Shanin Specter left The Beasley Firm over a decade ago and now sits atop what many view as the most powerful plaintiffs firm ... with countless seven-figure verdicts and settlements to the firm.”
Kline & Specter has attracted the best of the best lawyers. Six of its attorneys have been selected as among “The Best Attorneys in Pennsylvania” and another six as “Rising Stars” by Super Lawyers 2008. (See Lawyer Profiles and the Doctor/Lawyer Team.)
The firm and its attorneys have won an extraordinary number of major settlements and record-setting jury verdicts throughout the country.
Back in the 1980s, Tom Kline and Shanin Specter began litigating and trying pharmaceutical products liability cases. Kline won the largest jury verdict $5.1 million in the Dalkon Shield mass tort litigation against A.H. Robins Co. Specter won major victories involving the arthritis drug Oraflex, manufactured by Eli Lilly. Kline followed with multiple million-dollar verdicts in Bendectin cases, including a $19.2 million verdict in the Blum v. Merrell Dow case, exposing the company’s improper drug testing and reporting.
Kline & Specter and its lawyers have achieved large settlements and leadership positions in litigation involving asbestos, Baycol, Fen-Phen and PPA. More recently, the firm played an important role in the $4.85 billion Vioxx settlement and currently is a leader in litigation against the makers of denture cream products containing zinc.
Among the firm’s outstanding cases was one tried by Specter in Reno, Nev., which resulted in a $153 million product liability verdict against Ford Motor Company (see The White Case), among the largest such verdicts in the nation. Back home in Philadelphia, Kline won a $51 million jury award in a celebrated case (Hall v SEPTA) against SEPTA in which a young boy’s foot was torn off in a subway escalator.
Shanin Specter and Tom Kline surveying
their new office space in 1995
Kline & Specter has won a stream of seven- and eight-figure verdicts in medical malpractice cases. (see Major Victories) Among them was a $33.1 million Montgomery County jury verdict in a missed-diagnosis breast cancer case (Welteroth); a $49 million Philadelphia verdict in a hospital-error case (Caruso); a $19.9 million verdict in a Delaware state case in which a patient was accosted in her hospital bed (Sparber); a $25 million verdict for the family of a young doctor who died following a routine fertility procedure (Matteo); a $20.8 million verdict for a podiatrist who lost her foot because of errors in unrelated treatment (Young); a $20 million verdict for a Penn student brain injured as a result of ICU negligence (Gallagher); a $19.1 million verdict in Luzerne County for a construction worker struck by a van while she was at a roadside worksite (McManamon); and two verdicts of $15 million each involving surgical errors that injured children (Sears and Borkowski).
In a premises liability case, Specter won a $24 million verdict for an injury resulting from a near-drowning at an apartment complex swimming pool (Weightman), while the firm secured a $36.4 million settlement in September 2003 from the Motiva Enterprises refinery in Delaware County, where a worker was killed. In the Motiva case, Kline & Specter established a new gold standard for investigating a case, reviewing 40,000 documents and hiring 14 experts in a year-long, $750,000 probe that uncovered the real cause – not what the company had reported – of their client’s death.
Beyond courtroom victories, the work of the firm and its highly publicized cases have also brought about positive social change. Cases have resulted in improved training for nurses, stricter rules for officers who drive city police cars, upgrading of dilapidated mass-transit escalators in the SEPTA system and – in a case featured on ABC’s 20/20 (Mahoney) – federal government action seeking the recall of 7.4 million powerful, defective BB air rifles. Another case (Lackman), which was featured on ABC’s Nightline, helped lead to improved mammogram testing practices for women. Specter’s $7.5 million settlement with La Salle University for a football player who suffered a traumatic brain injury helped bring national attention to the problem of athletes being cleared to play after sustaining concussions. The 2009 case was featured on the ESPN show E:60. (See Plevretes).
Kline & Specter also prosecuted a highly publicized case involving injury to a person's reputation. In a September 2004 defamation suit, the firm obtained an unambiguous apology and retraction as well as the 30-day suspension of Philadelphia radio personality Howard Eskin. Infinity Broadcasting, his employer, also made a "substantial" payment to settle the lawsuit filed on behalf of noted attorney Richard Sprague, who claimed Eskin had defamed him on the air."
One of the conference rooms at Kline & Specter
Besides winning scores of major verdicts and settlements, the attorneys at Kline & Specter have been recognized by a number of professional organizations and publications. In Super Lawyers magazine, a number of the firm’s attorneys have been selected as among “The Best Attorneys in Pennsylvania” based on voting by their fellow lawyers across the state and evaluation by an independent panel. Those recognized include Tom Kline-- No. 1 in Pennsylvania for seven straight years, Shanin Specter (Top 10), Lee Balefsky, head of the firm's Mass Tort Department, Michelle Tiger, Andrew Stern and Andrew Youman.
Both Tom Kline and Shanin Specter have been recognized by the National Law Journal as one of the top ten litigators in Pennsylvania and both are listed among The Best Lawyers in America. Both also are members of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, an organization limited to just one percent of the lawyers in each state, and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers which limits U.S. membership to 500 attorneys recommended by their peers and trial judges for outstanding skills and ability as well as excellent character and integrity. Kline is also the immediate past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates, a group consisting of the nation’s 100 most celebrated trial attorneys.
Another of the firm’s attorneys, Donald Matusow, has earned a reputation as a leading advocate for victims rights, winning the Philadelphia Trial lawyers Association’s Justice Michael A. Musmanno Award in 1995. The annual award, given to someone who has “looked out for the little guy,” was awarded in other years to Ralph Nader, Rep. Richard Gephardt and noted anti-discrimination attorney Morris Dees.
Mark Hoffman, a doctor and a lawyer, has authored or co-authored more than 50 articles, 11 book chapters and one book. He is a fellow of the American College of Legal Medicine, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Pediatric Surgical Society. Dr. Hoffman also served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during Desert Shield and Storm and rose to the rank of colonel prior to leaving the Army.
Also among the firm’s noted attorneys is Andrew Stern, whose many legal victories includes the largest compensatory verdict in Pennsylvania history – $100 million for a baby who suffered severe brain damage in a medical malpractice case. (See The Vlasny Case.)
And concentrating on personal injury and whistleblower cases is David J. Caputo, a former assistant U.S. attorney who has played a significant role in some of the firm’s most notable victories. Caputo, a graduate of Harvard Law School, represents clients pursuing claims under the federal False Claims Act and IRS and SEC whistleblower programs.
For more on the founding of Kline & Specter, see the article in The Legal Intelligencer.
To learn about organizations to which members of the firm contribute, click Charities.
For more about the recognition Tom Kline and Shanin Specter have received for their professional accomplishments, see
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