Advertising Disclosure Email Disclosure

Public Entity and Civil Rights Litigation

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.

Case Study December 1, 2012

Pages

Dec 6, 2016
Obtained a defense verdict in a Section 1983 Excessive Force case in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. ​The plaintiff alleged that a Sergeant from the York City Police Department physically attacked him after he had...
Aug 25, 2016
Marshall Dennehey attorneys successfully defended a claim of housing discrimination filed with the New York State Human Rights Commission. The complainant, who was receiving disability payments under the Social Security Program and Supplemental...
Aug 25, 2016
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a chief of campus security, a private university and two security guards. The campus security guards responded to a Resident Assistant's complaint of a strong smell of marijuana coming from the plaintiff...
Apr 21, 2016
Obtained summary judgment in a civil rights lawsuit filed under Section 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff sued several police officers for wrongful arrest and malicious prosecution, claiming...
Jan 22, 2016
A municipal police officer received a complaint that an unknown male attempted to lure a 15-year-old female into his car. A day later, the victim and her mother went to the police department and advised the same officer that the victim saw...
Oct 8, 2015
Obtained summary judgment for a police officer accused of malicious prosecution. A municipal police officer received a complaint that an unknown male attempted to lure a 15-year-old female into his car. A day later, the victim and her mother went to...
Feb 16, 2015
The defense prevailed in an inverse condemnation proceeding in the Luzerne County, PA, Court of Common Pleas. The plaintiffs owned a large tract of land in a borough in the county and, several years ago, the borough placed an asphalt over a dirt...
Feb 16, 2015
Obtained a defense verdict after a four-day jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff alleged that law enforcement officers used excessive force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment, when removing...
Jun 17, 2014
Obtained summary judgment in a public entity and civil rights case filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Represented an attorney (who served as plaintiff’s counsel in the underlying bitterly contested...
Jun 10, 2014
Obtained dismissal of two lawsuits involving claims of defamation, breach of contract and interference with contractual relations on behalf of a township supervisor in a Pennsylvania county.  The plaintiffs, former employees of the township,...

Pages

Pages

Law Alerts January 3, 2017
The plaintiff requested documents from the prosecutor’s office under the Open Public Records Act and the common-law right to access to public records. The prosecutor’s office denied the request, asserting they were exempt from production..., Case Law Alerts, 1st Quarter, January 2017. Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal...
Defense Digest Article December 1, 2016
Defense Digest, Vol. 22, No. 4, December 2016   By April L. Cressler, Esq.* Key Points: The increase in media coverage of negative law enforcement stories is leading to a rise in civil suits. Plaintiffs appear emboldened by the..., Defense Digest, Vol. 22, No. 4, December 2016. Defense Digest is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide...
Defense Digest Article December 1, 2016
Defense Digest, Vol. 22, No. 4, December 2016   By Patrice M. Turenne, Esq.* Key Points: Driving records of employees who operate motor vehicles for governmental agencies should be screened. Governmental agencies should consider..., Defense Digest, Vol. 22, No. 4, December 2016. Defense Digest is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide...
Law Alerts October 3, 2016
The Superior Court decides that asking for identification is not in and of itself an investigative detention. Police were on routine patrol in a problem area when they witnessed Baldwin, who was in a parking lot, pass behind a van. Believing he had..., Case Law Alerts, 4th Quarter, October 2016. Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal...
Defense Digest Article September 1, 2016
By Howard Mankoff, Esq. and Audrey Copeland, Esq.* Key Points: RLUIPA litigation is costly and challenging. Insurers of municipalities faced with a request to defend RLUIPA litigation must resolve the thorny issue of whether they will...,   Defense Digest, Vol. 22, No. 3, September 2016. Defense Digest is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to...
Law Alerts July 19, 2016
A Philadelphia police officer was sued in state court for assault, battery and false imprisonment arising out of his actions in striking and arresting the plaintiff during an encounter involving the plaintiff’s son. The plaintiff learned his..., Case Law Alerts, 3rd Quarter, July 2016 Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice...
Law Alerts July 19, 2016
The plaintiff filed a lawsuit in state court against New Jersey Transit, asserting various causes of action, including a claim based on the New Jersey Civil Rights Act. The plaintiff did not file any cause of action specifically based on federal law..., Case Law Alerts, 3rd Quarter, July 2016 Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice...
Defense Digest Article June 1, 2016
By Robert Garcia, Esq.* Key Points: In enacting the anti-SLAPP statute, the Florida legislature intended to expeditiously dispose of lawsuits involving an individual’s expression of free speech on public issues. The anti-SLAPP..., Defense Digest, Vol. 22, No. 2, June 2016 Defense Digest is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal...
Law Alerts April 1, 2016
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania finds there is no First Amendment right to observe and record police officers absent some other expressive conduct. In two separate incidents, Philadelphia police officers..., Case Law Alerts, 2nd Quarter, April 1, 2016 Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal...
Law Alerts January 15, 2016
The plaintiffs, K.L. & J.L., individually and on behalf of their minor child, J.L., filed a request for due process hearing under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, claiming, among other claims, that the school district failed to..., Case Law Alerts, 1st Quarter, January 2016 Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide...

Pages

January 19, 2017
Candace D. Embry, associate in the Philadelphia office of  Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, has been elected to the Board of Directors of Philadelphia VIP, where she will serve as Board Secretary. Philadelphia VIP is a nonprofit organization that recruits, trains and supports...
November 18, 2013
Obtained summary judgment, affirmed on appeal in the Commonwealth Court, for a police officer, his supervisor and the police department in a case involving police pursuit that ended in a fatal crash. The case changed the law in Pennsylvania, as the court held for the first time, "There is no duty...
July 30, 2013
Scott G. Dunlop, shareholder and managing attorney of the Pittsburgh office of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, has been elected to membership of the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County. The organization is devoted to promoting the highest standards of integrity, civility and...
Conference May 5, 2013
More lives, property, and working hours are lost to police pursuits and accidents than almost any other cause. Speaking from the perspective of a retired police officer, who now defends such officers in federal and state lawsuits, this presentation...
Conference Jul 13, 2014
Christopher P. Boyle and John P. Gonzales will be featured speakers at the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Centennial Conference. On July 14, Chris will present "Civil Litigation Boot Camp for New Police Chiefs," and John will present,...

Chair

Joseph J. Santarone Jr.
Chair, Public Entity & Civil Rights Practice Group
(215) 575-2626
jjsantarone@mdwcg.com

Additional Contacts

Scott G. Dunlop
Managing Attorney, Pittsburgh, PA Office
(412) 803-1144
sgdunlop@mdwcg.com

Related Practice Areas

Before you send this email please note:

You are attempting to send email, through a link on our website, to an attorney of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin or an employee in our firm. Please note that your email may not be treated as confidential and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon the transmission of an email through this website if you are seeking to enter into such a relationship. Until such time as we have agreed to represent you, no information in your email will be treated as confidential. Please contact us directly by telephone at 1.800.220.3308 if it is your intent to seek legal counsel with our firm or convey confidential information.

If it is still your intent to send this email, knowing that it may not be treated as confidential, you may accept our terms of agreement by pressing "OK". If you choose not to accept these terms of agreement you may navigate away from this page by pressing "Cancel."