Some lawsuits pursued by Kline & Specter transcend typical liability issues, with clients suffering serious physical injury due to a violation of their civil rights -- namely their right to be free from harm.
These cases may involve a catastrophic injury involving the police, mass transit or other government-related agency. If you or a loved one was badly hurt or killed in an incident involving a violation of your civil rights matter, you should contact a civil rights attorney today.
Kline & Specter only handles civil rights cases involving serious bodily injury or death. With more than 50 experienced attorneys, several of them former prosecutors, the law firm has obtained not only redress for its clients in civil rights cases but also important societal changes to protect the safety of citizens.
One such case was Tom Kline's settlement for the City of Philadelphia to pay $4.4 million to a take-out food deliveryman who was shot and grievously wounded by plainclothes officers. The 2017 settlement was the largest-ever by the city and the sixth-largest nationally in a police shooting case. But importantly, the city also agreed to revamp regulations and implement new training protocols for plainclothes officers. (see coverage)
In an earlier case, the firm settled with the City of Philadelphia for $10.5 million for the family of a Philadelphia teenager who was strangled after being placed in a restraint hold at a Tennessee treatment center, where he had been placed by the Department of Human Services despite warnings that it was a dangerous facility. (News coverage)
In yet another case, 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 with the city for $1.125 million. (See Gillyard/Rich)
But Specter did not stop there. In researching the case, he 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 series of reforms to improve police driver training, deter reckless driving and heighten safety.
Kline won a $51 million jury verdict in a case in which he represented a little boy whose foot was torn off in a Philadelphia subway escalator. Kline not only achieved the large verdict but also a promise from the mass transit agency, SEPTA, to repair and replace all of its outdated escalators. And Kline has followed up over the years, conducting inspections of the subway stations to make sure that SEPTA kept its word. (See Hall v. SEPTA)
In 2010, the firm secured a settlement worth $11.8 in a "state-created danger" suit against the Philadelphia Housing Authority over persistent mold in a home that caused a teenage girl to suffer an acute asthma attack that left her brain damaged. (McKinney)
In a recent case, Kline & Specter filed suit in a case involving a Pennsylvania state trooper who shot and killed a 42-year-old woman in her car in western Pennsylvania. The civil suit on behalf of Charity Thome cites a violation of her civil rights. It was the fourth fatal shooting by the officer, three since 2017. (Read articles)
In another recent case, L.R. v. School District of Philadelphia, the firm represented a kindergarten student who was abducted and violently assaulted following her unauthorized release by a substitute teacher during school hours. The firm sued the school district for violating the child’s constitutional rights guaranteed by the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution. The firm won a landmark ruling in the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, establishing a new legal precedent expanding the “state created danger” theory of constitutional tort litigation. The school district settled the claim shortly after the Third Circuit’s ruling acknowledged to be the largest personal injury settlement in its history.
The firm handles cases in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware. For cases outside those states, Kline & Specter works with local attorneys in each state as applicable.