Kline & Specter A Professional Corporation
Kline & Specter Eletter - May 2012

Court is in session

The Kline & Specter Courtroom Portrait of Tom Kline and Shanin Specter by Michael Shane Neal

The Kline & Specter Courtroom at the University of Pennsylvania Law School was completed and officially dedicated in a ceremony that included the unveiling of a portrait of the two attorneys who funded the project. About 300 people attended the ceremony held at Golkin Hall which included a speech by Dean Michael A. Fitts and the presentation of plaques by two students at the school. Tom Kline and Shanin Specter also addressed the audience. Award-winning portrait artist Michael Shane Neal also spoke before the unveiling. The event was covered by ABC-6 TV and aired on the 11 o’clock news.

Click here to watch the news clip or to view the ceremony.

The Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers Cover featuring Tom Kline and Shanin Specter

Tom Kline and Shanin Specter were featured on the cover of the 2012 Best Lawyers magazine, which also included a full-page article dealing with the partners’ charitable giving, including the new courtroom at Penn Law School and The Kline & Specter Squash Center at Drexel University, which was dedicated a month earlier. "Sometimes we feel like we’ve come full circle," Specter, a graduate of the law school and now a teacher at Penn Law, was quoted as saying. Kline told the magazine: "One of the great pleasures of our partnership for Shanin and me has been to undertake special projects that we hope will influence the lives of the next generations of students." Read the complete article.

 Suit in fiery crash settled

Shanin Specter, Kila B. Baldwin and Dominic Guerrini


Shanin Specter, Kila B. Baldwin and Dominic Guerrini settled a fatal 2009 auto accident case involving the death of a citizen of Mexico for $5 million. Daniel Lopez Ortiz, 31, had been stopped at a red light when his vehicle was rear-ended by a vending company truck. Ortiz’s Chevrolet Cavalier burst into flames within seconds and he died at the scene of thermal burns and smoke inhalation. The settlement with the truck driver and the vending company, said Specter, "stands for the important proposition that the Pennsylvania courts apply the same law regardless of nationality."



On Television …

Tom Cline

The acquittal of the Megabus driver who crashed his vehicle near Syracuse last year does not mean the case is over. Not nearly. Tom Kline told NBC10 News and The Philadelphia Inquirer that conclusion of that criminal case means that civil suits can proceed. He said he would move to lift the stay in the civil case pending in Philadelphia. Kline is representing Candice Burks, who suffered significant brain injury in the accident that killed four and injured many other passengers when the double-decker bus crashed into a low overpass while enroute from Philadelphia to Toronto. Lawsuits have been filed against the bus company, the driver and others. (Watch the NBC10 segment)

In the Top 100

The publication Verdict Search listed the $21.6 million verdict in the Graham v. Townsend case as among the Top 100 in the nation for 2011. The largest-ever verdict in Erie County history was awarded against the former Hamot Medical Center for Ja'Kareon Graham, who suffered lack of oxygen during a 2006 delivery in which he shifted to the breech position. He was born with cerebral palsy. The lead attorney in the case was Shanin Specter.

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Missed cancer diagnosis verdict

James J. WaldenbergerJames J. Waldenberger won a verdict of more than $3 million for a woman who suffered nerve damage when a doctor failed to spot an abnormal mass in her colon. The delayed – by 22 months – cancer diagnosis resulted in the woman having to undergo chemotherapy which resulted in permanent physical ailments, including pain in her muscles and joints. A Philadelphia jury deliberated eight hours over two days before handing down its verdict against a radiologist and Jeanes Hospital. (See the news article) The outcome was the fifth non-confidential seven-figure verdict or settlement for Waldenberger in the past three years.

 Appeal targets cap law

"Pennsbury's bus accident case could break new legal ground" read the headline in The Bucks County Courier Times after Tom Kline and David J. Caputo returned to court last month in the case of Ashley Zauflik, the Pennsbury student who lost her leg in a 2007 school bus accident. Seeking to uphold the $14 million a jury awarded in December, Kline told trial Judge Robert E. Mellon that state law capping the entire award at $500,000 is unconstitutional -- a violation of equal protection and due process under the Pennsylvania and U.S. constitutions. A ruling by Judge Mellon is the next step in the lengthy legal process. (See news coverage)

Specter before Superior Court

Shanin Specter argued the appeal of Polett v. Public Communications Inc. in Pennsylvania Superior Court. The case concerns a catastrophic injury sustained by Margo Polett while taking part in a promotional video for artificial knee implants. The video was made by Public Communications for Zimmer, the world's largest manufacturer of prosthetic devices. The case was tried by Specter to a $27.6 million jury verdict in 2010 which was upheld by the trial court in 2011. Polett, 68 when injured, must use a walker and wheelchair following four surgeries that failed to improve her condition.

A Great Idea

Tom Kline offered his point of view as part of the "One Great Idea" project being featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and philly.com. Said Kline, in part: "My one great idea for Philadelphia is to get Philadelphia back moving, and that means building things - building buildings, building infrastructure, and building anything that we can." Once a week, over 45 weeks, the newspapers are soliciting prominent Philadelphians as well as regular folks from the region for their One Great Idea. Watch the philly.com video of Tom Kline.

Angella Middleton recognized

Kline & Specter’s Angella Middleton was featured in the The Pennsylvania Lawyer for her participation in the mock trial program at Franklin Learning Center High School in Philadelphia. She said the program "revealed a passion" that might otherwise have taken her years to find. Middleton was a member of the team while attending FLC and later coached for five years after college. She now attends Rutgers University School of Law in Camden where she recently won a spot on the Intramural Mock Trial Team. Middleton was first hired as an intern at Kline & Specter while an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania and now is the firm’s case management system administrator.

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