‘Best Lawyers’ names Philadelphia’s Tom Kline medical malpractice ‘Lawyer of the Year’

By Jon Campisi | Oct 11, 2013

Attorney Tom Kline, known around Philadelphia as a go-to plaintiff’s

lawyer prone to securing favorable trial verdicts and big-dollar settlements for injured parties, has been named the medical malpractice “Lawyer of the Year” by the publication Best Lawyers.

The publication additionally named seven attorneys with Kline’s law firm, Kline & Specter, among its best lawyers in America.

Kline, along with fellow firm members Shanin Specter, Andy Stern, Lee Balefsky, Donald Matusow, Michelle Tiger and Charles L. Becker, recently announced that they were selected for inclusion in the 2014 Best Lawyers guide to legal excellence in the country.

Kline & Specter was also named among the best law firms for medical malpractice, product liability and mass tort litigation in the United States.

The law firm was founded in 1995.

In the publication, Specter, son of the late Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, was quoted as saying that people contact his firm because they want the “best chance for a just financial recovery.”

Kline added that the best way to secure this is by hiring a lawyer, or a team of attorneys, with an “excellent track record of courtroom results.”

The 35-lawyer firm of Kline & Specter has secured seven-, eight-, and nine-figure plaintiffs’ awards in personal injury cases throughout the past three decades, Best Lawyers noted.

This includes the recent hefty $109 million jury verdict out of Allegheny County in western Pennsylvania that arose from a case involving a young mother who was killed by a fallen electrical line on her property.

That verdict is considered to be the largest jury award for a plaintiff in a personal injury case in the history of the commonwealth.

Kline also secured the $14 million jury verdict for Ashley Zauflik, a teenager whose leg was amputated after she was run over by a school bus in Bucks County.

In that case, Zauflik and her family sued the Pennsbury School District for negligence.

An appeals court ended up striking the jury verdict due to a $500,000 cap on cases against municipalities in Pennsylvania.

Kline and his team are continuing to fight the constitutionality of that cap.

“A conservative county jury in this case saw that this woman had suffered a life-altering injury, and they were concerned with compensating her properly,” Kline told Best Lawyers. “So hopefully we can overturn this draconian limitation on damages to ensure that she receives a fair award.”

The publication states that Kline won his first multimillion-dollar award in a 1983 products liability case involving a defective intrauterine device called the Dalkon Shield.

The publication also mentions the 1999 case of Hall v. SEPTA, in which the family of a 4-year-old boy whose foot was torn off in a subway escalator sued the mass transit authority.

The civil case ended with a $51 million verdict against the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

“That was another case where at issue was the legal limit of the cap in Pennsylvania,” Kline was quoted as saying. “In that case we were successful in obtaining much more than the cap, as well as getting the transit authority to upgrade all of its escalators to include safety devices. We needed to accomplish all of this in a courtroom, not a conference room.”

Kline is also known locally, and perhaps nationally, for his representation of “Victim 5,” the man whose allegations of child-rape in a Penn State University shower facility led to the widespread molestation charges against former Nittany Lions assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Sandusky was found guilty in June 2012 of sexually abusing eight young men. He was subsequently sentenced to between 30 and 60 years in state prison.

A Pennsylvania appeals court recently upheld his conviction and sentence.

The Best Lawyers publication states that given their courtroom track records, Kline and Specter have received many accolades from colleagues in the legal profession.

The two plaintiffs’ attorneys have also been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America.

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