Thomas R. Kline

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Tom Kline Tom Kline.jpg
Tom Kline

Thomas R. (Tom) Kline (born 1947) is an American lawyer. He is best known for personal injury cases that have helped shape Pennsylvania law and resulted in corporate, institutional and governmental changes throughout the civil justice system. [1] The law school at Drexel University is named for Kline. He is a partner in Kline & Specter and a member and past president (2008-2009) of the Inner Circle of Advocates. [2]

Drexel University Private research university in Pennsylvania, United States

Drexel University is a private research university with its main campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1891 by Anthony J. Drexel, a financier and philanthropist. Founded as Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry, it was renamed Drexel Institute of Technology in 1936, before assuming the name Drexel University in 1970.

Inner Circle of Advocates

The Inner Circle of Advocates is an organization of civil plaintiff trial lawyers in the United States. To qualify for an invitation, members must have won a physical injury or death case with a million-dollar verdict. The group only admitted male members until 1990, when Judith Livingston became the first female member.



Kline earned his undergraduate degree from Albright College and has been given the school's Distinguished Alumni award. [3] He attended Lehigh University, where he earned a master's degree in American History and completed his Ph.D. course work. Kline attended Duquesne University School of Law, graduating with the Distinguished Student Award and later receiving the school's Distinguished Alumni Award. [4] He went on to work as law clerk to Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Thomas W. Pomeroy. [5]

Albright College

Albright College is a private liberal arts college in Reading, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1856.

Lehigh University university in Pennsylvania

Lehigh University is a private research university in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It was established in 1865 by businessman Asa Packer. Its undergraduate programs have been coeducational since the 1971–72 academic year. As of 2019, the university had 5,047 undergraduate students and 1,942 graduate students.

Duquesne University School of Law

Duquesne University School of Law is a private Catholic university law school located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The School of Law was founded in 1911, and is the only multiple-division law school in western Pennsylvania. Located on the 47-acre (190,000 m2) Duquesne University campus, the law school is walking distance to Pittsburgh's downtown legal, corporate, and government communities. The School of Law currently boasts over 5,800 alumni practicing in every field of law, in all 50 states and several foreign countries. Additionally, as of 2012, Duquesne's Legal Writing program is ranked sixth in the United States.

Born in 1947 in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, Tom Kline grew up in the Pennsylvania anthracite coal region. His father worked as a dress factory manager. [6] Kline taught sixth grade for several years before attending law school. Following law school, Kline was an associate at The Beasley Firm in Philadelphia before partnering with Shanin Specter to open their own firm, Kline & Specter, in 1995. [7] In addition to his work as an attorney, Kline has appeared on television news programs as a part of discussions regarding law and legal issues, including providing commentary on ABC World News [8] and Good Morning America . [9] Another example of his television appearances is an edition of ABC's Nightline , which featured a case he won for a woman who died after a missed diagnosis of breast cancer. [10]

Hazleton, Pennsylvania City in Pennsylvania, United States

Hazleton is a city in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 25,340 at the 2010 census. Hazleton is the second largest city in Luzerne County and the seventeenth largest city in Pennsylvania. It was incorporated as a borough on January 5, 1857, and as a city on December 4, 1891.

<i>Good Morning America</i> American morning television show broadcast on ABC

Good Morning America (GMA) is an American morning television show that is broadcast on ABC. It debuted on November 3, 1975, and first expanded to weekends with the debut of a Sunday edition on January 3, 1993. The Sunday edition was canceled in 1999; weekend editions returned on both Saturdays and Sundays on September 4, 2004. The weekday program airs from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. in all U.S. time zones. The Saturday and Sunday editions are one hour long and are transmitted to ABC's stations live at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time, although stations in some markets air them at different times. Viewers in the Pacific Time Zone receive an updated feed with a specialized opening and updated live reports. A third hour of the weekday broadcast aired from 2007 to 2008, exclusively on ABC News Now.

Nightline is ABC News' late-night television news program broadcast on ABC in the United States with a franchised formula to other networks and stations elsewhere in the world. Created by Roone Arledge, the program featured Ted Koppel as its main anchor from March 1980 until his retirement in November 2005. Its current, rotating anchors are Byron Pitts and Juju Chang. Nightline airs weeknights from 12:37 to 1:07 a.m., Eastern Time, after Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which had served as the program's lead-out from 2003 to 2012.

Kline's cases include the Vioxx litigation, which resulted in a $4.85 billion settlement paid by Merck & Co, [11] for which he served as a member of the Plaintiff's Steering Committee that directed the federal MDL proceedings against Merck. [12] In the civil rights case Hall v. SEPTA, Kline won a $51 million award against the Philadelphia mass transit agency for a boy whose foot was torn off in a subway escalator. [13] In Davis v. Motiva Enterprises, a 2013 case of Kline's, there was a $36.4 million settlement against an oil refinery operator in the death of a worker killed in an explosion in which he fell into a tank of sulfuric acid. [14]

SEPTA organization operating a transportation system in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is a regional public transportation authority that operates bus, rapid transit, commuter rail, light rail, and electric trolleybus services for nearly 4 million people in five counties in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It also manages projects that maintain, replace and expand its infrastructure, facilities and vehicles.

Motiva Enterprises, LLC, is a fully owned affiliate of Saudi Refining Inc. and headquartered in Houston, Texas, United States with revenue of $24 billion during fiscal 2004.

Tom Kline, Trial As Theatre, 2009 Silhouette-red-tall-high res.jpg
Tom Kline, Trial As Theatre, 2009

In Manlove v. Scully Co. Kline was lead attorney for 11 of 12 plaintiffs in an apartment explosion case that resulted in a $40.5 million settlement. [15] In that case, six people died and six were injured in a 2001 explosion and fire that erupted at a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, apartment complex after heavy flooding dislodged a gas dryer. [16] In the 2010 case Leach v. Chad Youth Enhancement Center , Kline reached a settlement of $10.5 million. This was a federal lawsuit in the case of a Philadelphia teenager who died after he was placed in a restraint hold at a Tennessee treatment center. [17] In the December 2011 verdict in Zauflik [18] v. Pennsbury School District , Kline's case resulted in a $14 million verdict for a teenager who lost her leg after she was run over by a school bus at her high school. [19]

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania County of Pennsylvania, United States

Montgomery County, locally also referred to as Montco, is the third-most populous county in the U.S. state of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the 71st most populous in the United States. As of 2017, the census-estimated population of the county was 826,075, representing a 3.3% increase from the 799,884 residents enumerated in the 2010 census. Montgomery County is located adjacent to and northwest of Philadelphia. The county seat is Norristown. Montgomery County is geographically diverse, ranging from farms and open land in the extreme north of the county to densely populated urban neighborhoods in the southern and central portions of the county.

Pennsbury School District

Pennsbury School District is located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The district serves Falls Township, Lower Makefield Township, Yardley Borough, and Tullytown Borough. For the 2016-2017 school year, there were 10,495 students enrolled in the district with a final budget of $195,215,810. There was a total of 1,547 administrative, professional and support staff.

Theatre career

Kline has written and performed three productions of his show titled Trial as Theatre. [20]

Awards and recognition

In 2000 Kline was named by the National Law Journal among its "Ten of America's Top Litigators" [21] following the Hall v. SEPTA case. Kline was chosen for nine consecutive years (2004–2012) as the No. 1 attorney in Pennsylvania by Super Lawyers. [22] The publication Best Lawyers selected Kline as its "Lawyer of the Year" for 2013 for Philadelphia Medical Malpractice and in a previous year as its Philadelphia Personal Injury Litigator of the Year. [23] [24] He is also an elected member of the American Law Institute. [25]


Tom Kline is chair of the Board of Advisors of the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law, previously known as the Earle Mack School of Law [26] and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Drexel University. [27] On September 17, 2014, it was announced that he donated $50 million to Drexel University to rename its law school and develop the Thomas R. Kline Institute of Trial Advocacy of the Kline School of Law. [28] [29]

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  2. , Inner Circle of Advocates
  3. "2004 Alumni Association Award Winners: Awarded Alumni Reunion Weekend, April 30 – May 2". The Albright Reporter. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  4. Distinguished Student Award, 2012 Archived 2012-08-31 at the Wayback Machine ,Duquesne University.
  5. "Former Pennsylvania Justice Pomeroy Dies at 94, "By Tom Namako, The Legal Intelligencer, December 23, 2002
  6. Dale, MaryClaire. "Trial lawyer gives $50M to Drexel law school". The Big Story. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  7. Davies, Paul. "Wheels Of Justice He's Showing A Lot Of Class $51m Lawyer Credits Teaching Experience". Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  8. Tom Kline comments on Sandusky trial on YouTube, ABC World News
  9. Tom Kline comments on Sandusky trial on YouTube Good Morning America
  10. The Lackman case. Missed diagnosis of breast cancer on YouTube, ABC Nightline, October 22, 2003
  11. "Merck Agrees to $4.85 Billion Settlement in Vioxx Claims", By Amaris Elliott-Engel, The Legal Intelligencer, November 12, 2007
  12. "Another Risk Factor For Merck", Bloomberg Business Week July 29, 2007
  13. "$50 Million for boy who lost foot," By Chris Brennan, The Philadelphia Daily News, December 15, 1999; "Documents Uncovered Mid-Trial Fuel $51 Million Injury Verdict vs. SEPTA," By Claudia N. Ginanni, The Legal Intelligencer, December 15, 1999
  14. "Motiva To Pay $36.4 Million In Man's Death," By Shannon P. Duffy, The Legal Intelligencer, September 10, 2003; "Motiva to pay $36.4 million to settle suit in fatal tank explosion," By David B. Caruso,The Associated Press, September 10, 2003; "Motiva to pay millions to victim's family," By Jeff Montgomery, The News Journal, Delaware County, September 10, 2003
  15. "$40.5 Mil. Agreement Reached in Lethal Fire Case," By Asher Hawkins, The Legal intelligencer, October 1, 2004
  16. "City native bolsters 'Ruthian' reputation," By Ed Conrad, Hazleton Standard Speaker, October 8, 2004
  17. "$10.5M ends suit over slain DHS teen His family dropped claims against the city and agency, which had sent him to a Tenn. treatment center", By Troy Graham The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 12, 2010
  18. School Bus Accident, Pennsbury High School
  19. "Jury awards $14 million for loss of leg due to bus," By Bill Reed, The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 06, 2011
  20. Trial As Theatre,, November 07, 2011
  21. "Winners" edition of The National Law Journal, 8/14/2000
  22. "No. 1 attorney in Pennsylvania for nine consecutive years, Super Lawyers Magazine
  23. "Tom Kline and Shanin Specter of Kline & Specter On Achieving Some of Pennsylvania's Largest Verdicts". Best Lawyers. Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  24. Campisi, Jon. "'Best Lawyers' names Philadelphia's Tom Kline medical malpractice 'Lawyer of the Year'". The Pennsylvania Record. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  26. Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law, Chairman
  27. Board of Trustees of Drexel University, Member
  28. Drexel Law gets $50M gift, the largest ever for the university, Philadelphia Business Journal, September 17, 2014]
  29. Mathis, Joel. "Drexel Renames Law School After Thomas R. Kline". Philly Magazine. Retrieved 2 October 2014.