Former Phila. mass tort judge named exec. director of Temple's social justice center

By Jon Campisi | Nov 27, 2013

Sandra Mazer Moss, who recently retired from her seat on the Philadelphia

Sandra Mazer Moss, who recently retired from her seat on the Philadelphia

Court of Common Pleas, has been named the executive director of the new Stephen and Sandra Sheller Center for Social Justice at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.

Moss, whose last day on the bench was Nov. 1, began her duties at the center on Nov. 4, according to the university.

In her new position, Moss will be responsible for fund development, which includes launching fundraising projects and events, and offering what the school calls “proactive and creative” leadership designed to increase and expand the center’s funding base.

During her time as a state judge in the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, better known as Philadelphia’s court system, Moss was recognized for her work with the Complex Litigation Center, which she had founded.

As the coordinating judge of the center, Moss once supervised more than 9,000 mass tort cases, including asbestos litigation and pharmaceutical cases.

“On my final day on the bench, I looked out across my courtroom and felt satisfied,” Moss said in a statement. “I had come to do a job, and I had done it well.

“Now, I get to feel the excitement of a new challenge and a new role serving the people of Philadelphia,” she continued. “The Sheller Center has the potential to make real contributions to social justice in the region, and I’m already proud to be a part of it.”

As reported by the Pennsylvania Record back in February, Philadelphia attorney Stephen Sheller, of the plaintiff’s firm Sheller P.C., and his wife, Sandra Sheller, donated $1.5 million to Temple for the establishment of the social justice center.

Sheller, who made some of his fortune in 2010 when his firm secured a $520 million settlement against drug manufacturer AstraZeneca in a whistleblower suit, had said that he views Temple as the perfect place for such a center.

“If we can affect the way justice happens, we can impact, on a large scale, a lot of lives for the better,” Sheller said earlier this year.

Sandra Sheller spent her career working as an art and family therapist, working with families experiencing homelessness and those struggling with poverty, oppression and disenfranchisement.

The new social justice center will handle everything from civil liberties, environmental, consumer protection and disabilities rights issues, and it will serve as a think tank where law students can work with one another, as well as with faculty members and practicing attorneys to receive training in legal research, advocacy and policy development.

Temple Law Dean JoAnne A. Epps praised Moss’s hiring as the center’s new executive director.

“She brings proven leadership, especially in organizational development, along with a deep commitment to the Philadelphia community, and I know her contributions will be significant,” Epps said in a statement.

In 2008, Moss was selected as the Beasley School of Law’s Certificate of Honor Recipient at Temple’s Founder’s Day Celebration, according to the university.

Moss has won other awards and accolades, including, but not limited to, the Philadelphia Bar Association’s 2007 Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. Distinguished Jurist Award, which recognizes a judge who adheres to the highest ideals of judicial service.

Moss has been a faculty member at the National Judicial College since 1992, where she teaches civil procedure and complex litigation to jurists nationwide, according to Temple.

The National Judicial College honored Moss with its Advancement of Justice Award in 2011.

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