Government Liability & Civil Rights Defense

Lamb McErlane has been counseling and defending local, county and state government for decades in a wide variety of lawsuits as well as non-litigation matters.

We have earned a reputation among government officials, self-insureds and insurance professionals for delivering first-rate, cost-effective and practical legal representation ranging from high-profile, cutting-edge matters to the more typical, yet equally important, standard claim.

We have successfully defended thousands of governmental liability claims for counties, cities, townships and public agencies in federal and state courts, and before administrative agencies including:

  • Police and law enforcement agency claims
  • Prison, police holding facilities and detention center matters
  • Zoning and land use disputes
  • Employment related claims including those asserted under Section 1983, Title VII, FMLA, ADA
  • First Amendment and defamation claims
  • Wrongful prosecution claims against prosecutors, and ineffective representation claims against defense counsel
  • Claims against Children and Youth Services, social workers and Family Court
  • Suits against elected officials, administrators, officers and judges
  • School based claims
  • Municipal tort claims

We are proud of our trial record having successfully obtained favorable verdicts in numerous cases for public officials and entities. We have achieved hundreds of resolutions via voluntary dismissals, motions to dismiss and summary judgment. Further, while many claims should be aggressively defended through  dismissal or trial, we recognize and identify early on those problematic cases in which settlement should be considered, and target them for a cost-effective, creative and reasonable resolution.

Our prominence in the field is recognized by others as we are often asked to speak at state and national civil rights conferences, and have been specially retained to handle a number of high-profile and complex matters outside of our usual geographic area including matters in western Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, Virginia, Michigan and Illinois.

Among our successes and accomplishments are the following:

  • Pre-trial dismissal or defense verdicts in over 20 police-related shootings;
  • Dismissal of multi-million dollar demand for alleged wrongful conviction of man jailed for over 20 years for a rape/murder that later DNA testing established he did not commit;
  • Summary judgment in three separate ‘state-created danger’ claims;
  • Extensive presentations regarding civil rights, municipal liability, and trial practice at over a hundred seminars and conferences including the Defense Research Institute, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities, Pennsylvania Township Supervisors Association, Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, Pennsylvania Sheriffs Association and Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Through procedures that are rigorously enforced by a system of review, we offer our clients the assurance that every file assigned to every lawyer is handled in compliance with applicable reporting requirements and is defended in accordance with a specific plan authorized by the public entity or insurance carrier.

Lamb McErlane stands ready to assist and defend government entities and their officials in the vast array of claims that are asserted against them, provide pre-litigation counseling, review of policies and practices, assessment of potential claims, and conduct internal training and seminars.