Kline & Specter A Professional Corporation

$30 million settlement in child injury case

Shanin Specter and five other Kline & Specter attorneys achieved a $30 million settlement for a young child who suffered severe brain damage due to improperly managed anesthesia during a routine procedure at an area hospital. The settlement was one of the largest pre-trial settlements of a medical malpractice case in the United States. The firm placed considerable legal punch behind the lawsuit, with co-counsel Andy Youman, Gary Zakeosian, who is also a medical doctor, Kristen Loerch Sipala, Gilbert Shelsby and Robert Leoni taking part. The baby’s injuries were catastrophic, with the child left unable to speak, suffering incontinence and having to get nourishment through a feeding tube. Details of the settlement, including the names of the parties in the suit, were confidential under the agreement.

$42.9 million verdict in birth injury case

A four-week trial by Kline & Specter attorneys and two days of jury deliberations resulted in a $42.9 million verdict for a child born with profound cerebral palsy at Chestnut Hill Hospital. Tom Kline, Regan Safier and Christine Clarke obtained the award – among the largest-ever medical malpractice verdicts in Pennsylvania – from a Philadelphia jury several days before Christmas. The award will cover future medical expenses for Phinees Fortson, who is now six years old and suffers a range of severe illnesses. The lawsuit proved to a jury that Fortson’s mother, after complaining at the hospital about pelvic pressure, was not admitted or administered steroids that would have protected her baby’s brain and respiratory development. The child was born prematurely at one pound, 13 ounces. After the verdict, Kline told The Legal Intelligencer: "The jury, once it established liability after two days of deliberations, cared most about the lifetime care needs of a child with cerebral palsy." (See news story)

Kline & Specter reaches 100 and beyond …

Kline & Specter attorneys recently surpassed a milestone that few – if any – law firms ever come near: 100 medical malpractice verdicts and settlements of $5 million or more. Tom Kline’s $42.9 million verdict in December was No. 101 on the list, which includes 33 case resolutions of more than $11 million. Among the key verdicts over the years was one for $100 million won by Andy Stern for a baby injured at a hospital following a premature birth. Shanin Specter won a $49 million verdict for a young man who suffered severe brain damage after he lost oxygen due to a misplaced endotracheal tube. And Tom Kline won a $33.1 million jury decision for a woman who died following a missed breast cancer diagnosis. Counting all cases – also including product liability, premises liability, workplace injuries, civil rights and auto accidents – Kline & Specter has won 129 verdicts and settlements of $5 million or more since the firm’s inception in 1995. Among them were Specter’s $153 million verdict against Ford Motor Co. in the case of a child killed because of a defective parking brake and his recent $109 million verdict (and subsequent $105 million settlement) in a fatal fallen power line case. Recently, The Legal Intelligencer published a study showing that in the past 20 years, Kline & Specter has more $10 million+ recoveries than any other Pennsylvania law firm. (Read the article)

New partners named

Founding partners Tom Kline and Shanin Specter named seven new partners to the firm. They include Kila Baldwin, Dominic GuerriniDavid Inscho, Regan SafierMichelle TigerMichael Trunk and James Waldenberger.

Interview: Abduction case one year later

Fox TV aired a retrospective about the daytime abduction of a five-year-old girl from her Philadelphia elementary school in January 2013. Tom Kline, who represents the child and her family, was interviewed at length on the anniversary of the kidnapping and subsequent sexual assault of the child from her kindergarten classroom at the Bryant Elementary School in the Cobbs Creek section of Philadelphia. He told Fox’s Dave Schratwieser: "It's beyond the imagination of most of us and that's probably why it's gripped the city in the way that it has." (Watch the coverage)

Suit filed in Cape May explosion

Kline & Specter filed suit in the highly publicized gas explosion that leveled a Cape May County, N.J., home and seriously injured its two older occupants last November. The suit alleges negligence on the part of a contractor hired to switch the house from propane to natural gas. (See extensive news coverage)

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PUC sets penalty against West Penn Power

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission finalized an $86,000 civil penalty against West Penn Power Co. stemming from the agency’s investigation into WPP’s handling of the death of a Pittsburgh-area woman in a fallen power line case. The PUC vote was 5-0 on a civil settlement that included the penalty. The company also agreed to conduct inspections of line splices and retraining of linemen as part of the agreement that was an outgrowth of a complaint filed with the PUC by Shanin Specter. Specter filed the action before the trial in December 2012 in which he and Kline & Specter attorneys Kila Baldwin and Dominic Guerrini won a $109 million verdict against West Penn Power for the family of Carrie Goretzka, who was killed in the June 2009 incident. After the PUC vote, Specter told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “I am heartened that the PUC took strong remedial action in response to our law firm's complaint, which will make the citizens of Southwestern Pennsylvania safer.” (Read article). In the wake of the Goretzka verdict, the PUC has also determined the commission will pro-actively investigate power line incidents.

Specter-Kronemeyer team wins squash title

Shanin Specter and Karen Kronemeyer won The Walter Hammer Flight of the member-guest Doubles Squash Tournament played Jan. 10-12 at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Specter and Kronemeyer, the varsity squash coach at The Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, lost only one game (with scores of 3-0, 3-1, 3-0, 3-0) en route to their victory in The Stanley W. Pearson, Sr. Invitational. Specter acknowledged getting more than a little help from his partner. Kronemeyer, 32, of Australia, is a former world No. 37 (in 2006) player who currently holds a world ranking of No. 168.


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