Practice Areas & Industries: Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C.


Public Entity and Civil Rights Litigation Return to Practice Areas & Industries

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Practice/Industry Group Overview

Our firm has over 20 years of experience in handling public entity liability matters in civil courts. A significant strength of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin is the regional representation we provide insurers and self-insureds. The practice group defends public entities in the state and federal courts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, Delaware, Ohio and New York, and in the various administrative agencies.

Public entity liability encompasses a broad range of claims against local governments and townships, including claims against police departments, zoning boards and school districts. Our attorneys have defended local governments against claims of:

  • Excessive force by police
  • Improper police pursuit
  • Failure to maintain real estate or highways
  • Negligent design of roads
  • Inadequate traffic control devices

Members of our firm have also defended zoning boards in:

  • Land use claims
  • Claims arising from political or racial discrimination

Our representation of school districts has included:

  • Claims alleging improper student discipline
  • Inappropriate student contact
  • School bus accidents
  • Claims arising under the Rehabilitation Act
  • Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act

The Public Entity Liability Practice Group has also handled various employment liability matters on behalf of governmental agencies, such as:

  • Claims of violation of the Police Tenure Act
  • Claims of discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • Family Medical Leave Act
  • Title VII
  • Other federal and state statutes

Our civil rights practice involves defending claims that allege deprivation of an individual's civil rights by a public entity. Such claims are brought under 42 U.S.C. 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, and 1986 and may be "stand alone" claims brought by third parties or employees and may be combined with claims of employment discrimination.

We handle every case with a practical, results-oriented approach that balances strong representation with realistic cost containment. We would welcome the opportunity to work with you in handling your public entity and civil rights litigation. We are also available to give presentations and conduct training seminars at your location or ours.

Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin serves clients in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Ft. Lauderdale and communities throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, Florida and New York.


Services Available

Past Seminar Materials
  Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association Centennial Education & Training Conference, Radisson Valley Forge, King of Prussia, PA, July 13, 2014
Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:

Employer Bears Burden of Proving Claimant’s Loss of Earning Power is Due to Lack of U.S. Citizenship
Francis X. Wickersham, August 05, 2014
The claimant filed a claim petition alleging that he sustained a work injury on July 19, 2008, while working as a truck driver for the employer. At a hearing held before the Workers’ Compensation Judge, the employer’s attorney cross examined the claimant, who was born in Ecuador and had...

Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act Bars Claims Sustained Due to Accident With Vehicle Stolen From Local Agency. Motor Vehicle Exception to Governmental Immunity Applies Only Where Agent of Local Agency Actually Operated Vehicle in Question
Paul G. Lees, July 01, 2014
The tortfeasor in this matter was taken into custody by the Philadelphia Police Department, handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser. Notwithstanding his restraints, he somehow managed to commandeer the police cruiser. The plaintiff was in her vehicle when the police cruiser driven by...

Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act Provides Immunity to County and County Nursing Home for Wrongful Discharge of One of Its Employees
Paul G. Lees, July 01, 2014
The plaintiff worked for the county as a nurse’s aide for eight years, until she was terminated due to drug testing results. Prior to her discharge, the plaintiff had injured her neck and back at work while assisting a co-worker in lifting a 300-pound patient. Lewis filed a claim under the...

Requests For Public Records From The Pennsylvania State Police Are Subject To Broad Exemptions.
Thomas J. Szymanski, March 28, 2014
The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission (MPOETC) appealed a determination of the Office of Open Records (OOR) ordering the PSP to disclose to a newspaper and reporter (Requesters) the names of all police officers accredited by the...

Occupant In a Fleeing Vehicle Is Not an Innocent Bystander...Or Is He?
Kimberly A. Boyer-Cohen, March 14, 2014
Under the law in Pennsylvania, police officers owe no duty of care to the driver of a fleeing vehicle, Lindstrom v. City of Corry, 763 A.2d 394 (Pa. 2000), but they do owe a duty of care to innocent third parties, Jones v. Chieffo, 700 A.2d 417 (Pa. 1997), who are bystanders unconnected with the...

Patiently Waiting for the Florida Supreme Court to Decide Whether Pregnant Women Are Protected Under the Florida Civil Rights Act
Jeannie A. Hanrahan, March 14, 2014
There is currently a conflict within the Florida circuits on the issue of whether the Florida Civil Rights Act (§§ 760.01-010, Florida Statutes) protects against workplace discrimination based on pregnancy. This issue was heard by the Florida Supreme Court in late May 2013, in the case of...