Kristen Loerch Sipala spent much of her legal as defense counsel in medical malpractice cases, defending hundreds of doctors, nurses and hospitals. Now, armed with important knowledge and experience, she represents people who were seriously injured as the result of medical error.
“Helping those in need was much of what drew me to Kline & Specter,” says Sipala, who joined the firm in 2009. In her years of civil defense work, Sipala worked on many medical malpractice cases and was co-counsel in some 20 trials.
In a recent case, Sipala was co-counsel in a Montgomery County matter that involved a gastroenterologist who failed to remove sufficient tissue when removing a malignant polyp during a colonoscopy and who failed to order a six-month follow-up MRI, which resulted in a delay of seven to eight months in the diagnosis of the recurrence of colon cancer. The case settled for $2 million.
Sipala previously was co-counsel with Tom Kline in the first Risperdal case to go to a verdict – a $2.5 million award for a young man whose use of the antipsychotic drug resulted in his growth of female breasts, a condition known as gynecomastia. The case was the first to go to verdict among thousands of Risperdal lawsuits filed nationwide against Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
Earlier, Sipala was co-counsel at a Philadelphia trial that resulted in a $7.8 million jury verdict against Parx Casino & Racetrack for a jockey who was killed when a horse threw and repeatedly kicked him after the thoroughbred was frightened by chickens allowed to roam free on the track. (News coverage
In another case, Sipala was co-counsel in a Montgomery County trial in which a jury handed down a $5.1 million verdict for a Hatboro woman who suffered serious injuries after a medication mixup caused her to be injected with a concentrated decongestant instead of a local anesthetic before routine sinus surgery.
Sipala also was co-counsel in litigation involving a young child who suffered severe brain damage due to improperly managed anesthesia during a routine procedure at an area hospital. The case settled for $30 million.
For the last several years, Sipala has served as the Kline & Specter Fellowship Coordinator. In this capacity, she recruits, trains and mentors college students, law students and new attorneys as they navigate their work as Kline & Specter fellows on the various mass tort projects being handled by the firm.
Immediately before joining Kline & Specter, Sipala worked at the Berwyn-based firm of Post & Post, LLP. She served previously at the Philadelphia firms of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, PC and White and Williams, LLP. Before that, from 1997-2002, she worked with three Florida law firms on a range of cases, including medical malpractice, civil rights and nursing home litigation.
Sipala's first job after graduating from Temple University School of Law was as a prosecutor, serving as assistant state attorney in Seminole County, Florida.
While in law school, she distinguished herself as a member of the Temple Trial Team. Sipala was recognized for excellence in trial advocacy by the Temple Law Barristers Society, the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA). She was a finalist in the 1996 ATLA National Student Trial Advocacy Competition and a winner of various regional and Philadelphia competitions.
Sipala, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., did her undergraduate work at the State University of New York College at Fredonia, where she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She was named the school’s Outstanding Graduate for political science and overall academic achievement.
Sipala is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and Florida and is admitted to appear before the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice and the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association.
In her free time, Sipala is an avid sailor, participating in one-design races held on the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean against an international field of competitors. She also enjoys working in the gardens on the farm where she lives with her husband and Redbone Coonhound named Tiller.