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AWARDS: $2,350,000 award to automobile accident wrongful death plaintiffs • jury acquittal – double criminal homicide • $1,000,000 award to motorcycle accident wrongful death plaintiffs • jury acquittal – criminal homicide • $465,000 award to medical malpractice plaintiff • jury acquittal – criminal homicide, recklessly endangering another person, neglect of a care dependent person • $325,000 federal jury verdict, UIM and insurance bad faith award to automobile accident plaintiffs • jury acquittal – attempted criminal homicide • $300,000 award to medical malpractice plaintiff • jury acquittal- attempted criminal homicide, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon • $300,000 award to automobile accident/ products liability plaintiffs • jury acquittal – homicide by vehicle while DUI, homicide by vehicle, aggravated assault by vehicle DUI, aggravate assault by vehicle • $115,000 award to truck accident plaintiff • jury acquittal – murder, rape • $100,000 non-jury trial verdict to facial laceration plaintiff • jury acquittal – 1st degree Murder (capital case) • $90,000 award to premises liability/slip-and-fall plaintiff • jury acquittal – DUI, terroristic threats, carrying firearms without a license • $440,000 award to civil rights violation plaintiff • jury acquittal – theft, receiving stolen property • $135,000 award to civil rights violation plaintiff • jury acquittal – possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (PWI) • $636,000 jury verdict in plaintiffs’ medical malpractice case • jury acquittal – indecent assault, indecent exposure • $550,000 award in plaintiffs’ personal injury case • juvenile case acquittal- solicitation to commit aggravated assault, aggravated assault of unborn child • $250,000 award to mass transit accident plaintiff • jury acquittal – theft, receiving stolen property, conspiracy • $130,000 award to premises liability/slip-and-fall plaintiffs • court-appointed appellate counsel – Supreme Court of Pennsylvania reversal of rape conviction • $465,000 award to automobile accident plaintiff • jury acquittal – aggravated assault • $125,000 award to automobile accident plaintiff • jury acquittal – DUI • non-jury acquittal – dismissal of armed robbery charges • $170,000 award to automobile accident plaintiffs • successful jury verdict in defense of attorney charged with legal malpractice in professional liability case • $140,000 award to injured bicyclist plaintiff • non-jury acquittal – dismissal of 2 counts of criminal homicide • $180,000 award to employment discrimination plaintiff • jury acquittal – indecent exposure • non-jury custody trial – award of primary physical and legal custody of minor to paternal grandparents over natural mother • juvenile decertification petition granted to criminal homicide charges – release at age 21 • non-jury custody trial – award of primary physical and legal custody of minor to father • jury acquittal – DUI • $90,000 award to automobile accident plaintiffs • non-jury custody trial – award of primary physical and legal custody of minor to mother • $50,000 jury verdict for plaintiff- passenger in automobile accident case • non-jury custody trial – award of primary physical and legal custody of minor to father • hung jury – Arson trial (no criminal punishment imposed) • $265,000 award to premises liability plaintiff • jury acquittal – delivery of a controlled substance • $125,000 award to premises liability plaintiff • jury acquittal – DUI • $190,000 award to products liability plaintiff • $150,000 award to premises liability/construction accident plaintiff • $750,000 award to prison medical malpractice and civil rights violation plaintiff • $90,000 award to automobile accident plaintiffs • $108,500 award to automobile accident plaintiff • $80,000 award to automobile accident plaintiff • $150,000 award to truck accident plaintiffs.

Civil Rights Violations

Pennsylvania Civil Rights Attorneys

FIRST AMENDMENT: SPEECH, PETITION (RIGHT TO SUE) AND POLITICAL AFFILIATION

Charles Law Offices has successfully prosecuted claims involving the right to freedom of speech on matters of public concern. Several of these cases involved the rights of police officers who spoke as citizens on matters of public concern and were retaliated against by their municipalities. Several cases were successfully appealed through the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals, while others were successfully resolved at the District Court level.

The attorneys at Charles Law Offices have successfully prosecuted claims wherein employees were retaliated against by their employers for filing legal actions ranging from lawsuits, petitions, grievances, appeals and for participating in the arbitration process. They have successfully prosecuted matters wherein employees were retaliated against by their employers for giving testimony at a deposition, grievance hearing, grievance appeal and during the arbitration process. One such case was prosecuted in the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals and a favorable Opinion was obtained from Court of Appeals Justice Samuel Alito, who later was appointed as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

The attorneys at the Charles Law Offices have successfully prosecuted claims involving First Amendment protected political affiliation, wherein employees were refused a promotion, demoted or terminated due to their political affiliation, support of or refusal to support a particular political candidate. They have successfully prosecuted political affiliation claims against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, its Governor, elected officials and supervisors. They have successfully prosecuted political affiliation claims at the county, city and borough level and have effectively established municipal liability for each claim. One such claim was resolved pursuant to a successful appeal to the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals while another political affiliation claim resulted in one of the highest employment discrimination settlements in the history of the municipality.

Freedom of Speech

The First Amendment provides protection against retaliation for public employees who speak on matters of public concern. A matter is one of public concern if it relates to “broad social or policy issues” or “the way in which a government office serves the public.” To establish a First Amendment claim against a public employer, an employee must establish that:

 

  1. he was speaking as a citizen rather than as a public employee discharging his employment duties;
  1. his statements address a matter of public concern, as opposed to a personal interest; and
  1. the public employer did not have adequate justification for treating the employee differently than from any other member of the general public.

 

Once an employee establishes that his speech was made outside of his job duties and on a matter of public concern, his or her speech is protected under the First Amendment.

Right to Petition (Lawsuit, Arbitration, Appeal, Grievance)

Our Federal Courts have further acknowledged the Constitutional protections attendant to an individual’s right to petition the government for the redress of grievances and the right of access to the Court. The United States Supreme Court has required restraint on the part of federal courts in enjoining lawsuits and has held that the filing of a lawsuit carries significant constitutional protections implicating the First Amendment right to petition the government for the redress of grievances and the right of access to our courts. The Supreme Court has further determined that an employee’s rights under the First Amendment Petition Clause be granted the same protection and be analyzed under the same standard as free speech cases.

Freedom of Speech - Political Affiliation

In addition to protecting an individual’s right to freedom of speech, to file a lawsuit and/or to testify at depositions, hearings, arbitrations and trials, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects an individual’s right to freedom of political affiliation. In order to successfully prosecute a First Amendment political affiliation claim, an individual must establish that:

  1. he/she engaged in political activity and/or exercised the right of political affiliation;
  1. the employee suffered an adverse or unwelcome employment action; and
  1. the individual’s political affiliation or political activity was a substantial or motivating factor in the adverse employment action.

The attorneys at Charles Law Offices have successfully prosecuted claims wherein:

  • Assistant Public Defenders were wrongfully terminated due solely to their political affiliation;
  • police officers were denied a promotion because they refused to support a candidate for mayor;
  • police officers were denied a promotion because they spoke out and voted against their union endorsing a specific candidate for mayor or city council;
  • a police officer was denied a promotion because he served on the Board of Directors of an organization that had backed an unsuccessful candidate for mayor
  • a police officer was demoted and forced to resign because he actively campaigned for an unsuccessful candidate for mayor; and
  • a police officer was terminated, in part, because of his vocal opposition to the candidacies of an elected mayor and elected council members.

In each of the above instances, the attorneys at Charles Law Offices were able to successfully secure promotions or monetary awards/settlements on behalf of the individuals who had suffered discrimination due to their political affiliation and/or political activity.

FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT - PROCEDURAL AND SUBSTANTIVE DUE PROCESS

Pursuant to the protections of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution an individual may not be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. The Supreme Court of the United States has stated that in circumstances where a person’s good name, reputation, honor or integrity is at stake because of what the government is doing to him or her, notice of allegations and an opportunity to be heard must be given to the individual in order to provide the person an opportunity to clear his or her name. In order to state a deprivation of reputation claim, an individual must establish that:

  1. the government created and publicly disseminated stigmatizing information about the individual;
  1. the information was false or defamatory in nature;
  1. a deprivation of some additional right or interest occurred, such as the termination of the individual’s public employment; and
  1. the government failed to provide a name-clearing hearing.

The Fourteenth Amendment further insures an individual’s liberty interest in procedural due process concerning violations of his or her liberty and property interest sufficient to allow the individual to proceed with a cause of action for any violation of his or her due process rights. As a result, the government may be held responsible for any action which damaged an individual’s good name, reputation, honor and integrity and his or her legitimate claim of entitlement to pursue a chosen profession.

Charles Law Offices has successfully prosecuted claims under the Fourteenth Amendment involving the right to procedural and substantive due process. Several claims involved an employer’s circulating false, defamatory and stigmatizing information against an employee without affording the employee a procedural opportunity to be heard and to clear his or her name. Other claims involved an employer’s refusal to afford an employee a full and proper hearing prior to depriving the employee of his or her property rights. Other claims involved the employer’s improper deprivation of due process to employees concerning their liberty interest in their names and their rights to pursue their chosen profession. In each case, the attorneys at Charles Law Offices have held the government accountable for due process violations and have secured promotions, monetary settlements and/or relief on behalf of individuals who have been subjected to violations of their procedural and due process rights.

If you have been deprived of your liberty or a property interest without a hearing or without due process of law, contact the attorneys at Charles Law Offices.

Contact the attorneys at Charles Law Offices.

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What Our Clients Are Saying

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After being turned away and told by two other medical malpractice law firms that my case was “unwinnable,” I contacted Charles Law Offices. Both Attorneys are excellent, hard-working trial attorneys who are extremely knowledgeable and highly ethical. They produced an outstanding and favorable outcome for me.

Catherine R. Van Langen | Retired Radiological (ASRT) and Nuclear Medical Technologist

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A Family History of Devotion to
Law and Public Service

The Charles Brothers’ devotion to the law is derived from a family history in the legal system and of service to others. Their father, Charles “Chink” Charles (depicted in the lower left-hand corner of the photograph) held a 35 year career in law enforcement, and was selected to serve as the personal bodyguard for former United States Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson during their campaign visits to Allentown.

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