Litigation Group

The Litigation Group consists of six units.

Civil Rights Unit

The Civil Rights Unit (CRU) defends all lawsuits filed against the City and its employees in which it is alleged that an individual’s constitutionally-protected rights have been violated. Most of these cases are filed in federal court under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C 1983. Many of the cases involve Fourth Amendment claims brought against the Philadelphia Police Department, and Eighth Amendment claims asserted against the Philadelphia Prison System. CRU also represents the Department of Human Services when constitutional violations are alleged to arise out of DHS’ child welfare cases.

CRU provides legal advice to City departments on issues with potential civil rights implications and counsels City departments on policy issues. CRU also assists in ensuring training is properly conducted and that City personnel in all departments are aware of the constitutional limits of their authority.

Name Job title Phone #
Steven Bryson Assistant City Solicitor
Civil Rights Unit
(215) 683-5443
Meghan Claiborne Assistant City Solicitor
Civil Rights Unit
(215) 683-5447
Jonathan Cooper Deputy City Solicitor
Civil Rights Unit
(215) 683-5448
Keilah Crawley Legal Assistant
Civil Rights Unit
(215) 683-5437
Jacqueline Crowell Legal Assistant
Civil Rights Unit
(215) 683-5423
Tahyetta Daniels Data Services Supp Clerk
Civil Rights Unit
(215) 683-5435
Tara Fung Assistant City Solicitor
Civil Rights Unit
(215) 683-5445
Kathleen Gill Executive Secretary
Civil Rights Unit
(215) 683-5438
Matthew Hubbard Senior Attorney
Civil Rights Unit
(215) 683-5391
Elizabeth Leyden Clerk Typist II
Civil Rights Unit
(215) 683-5431
Mark Maguire Divisional Deputy City Solicitor
Civil Rights Unit
(215) 683-5439
Michael Miller Deputy City Solicitor
Civil Rights Unit
(215) 683-5433
Andrew Pomager Assistant City Solicitor
Civil Rights Unit
(215) 683-5446
Aaron Shotland Deputy City Solicitor
Civil Rights Unit
(215) 683-5434
Shannon Zabel Assistant City Solicitor
Civil Rights Unit
(215) 683-5114
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Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit

The Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit represents the City of Philadelphia in matters that directly protect the lives, health, and safety of Philadelphia’s citizens and visitors. Unit attorneys represent the Department of Licenses and Inspections, Department of Public Health, Philadelphia Historical Commission, Fire Department, Fair Housing Commission, and other City departments in a broad spectrum of enforcement matters before the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, the Philadelphia Municipal Court, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Court, and several administrative boards including the Board of Licenses and Inspection Review, Zoning Board of Adjustment, and Tax Review Board.

Through an array of enforcement tools, the unit’s attorneys ensure that individuals and businesses meet all licensing, permit, and other regulatory requirements under Title 4 (Building Construction and Occupancy Code), Title 6 (Health Code), Title 9 (Regulation of Business, Trades, and Professions), Title 10 (Regulation of Individual Conduct and Activity), and Title 14 (Zoning and Planning) of the Philadelphia Code. Attorneys in the Code Enforcement Unit file lawsuits against property owners and businesses who maintain dangerous, hazardous, and unsafe businesses and properties which threaten the public health and safety, and decrease property values in the community. Through the courts, the unit aggressively pursues fines, re-inspection fees, and injunctive relief. In addition to proactively filing lawsuits against non-Code complaint property owners and businesses, unit attorneys defend the City’s actions before various administrative boards and litigate any local agency appeals before the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Leadership

Kristin K. Bray
Chief Deputy City Solicitor
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Name Job title Phone #
Maria Castagliuolo Deputy City Solicitor
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5105
Jeffrey Cohen Assistant City Solicitor
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5412
Monique Cooper Clerk III
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5107
Ellen Corrigan Assistant City Solicitor
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5365
William Fernandez Assistant City Solicitor
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5116
Allena Graves Administrationistrative Technician
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5111
Jason Greenspon Deputy City Solicitor
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5102
Melanie Hill Legal Assistant Supervisor
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5108
Edward Jefferson Divisional Deputy City Solicitor
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5104
Christopher Johnson Deputy City Solicitor
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5118
Joanna Klein Divisional Deputy City Solicitor
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5115
Elizabeth Okakpu Assistant City Solicitor
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5132
Barbara Pace Legal Assistant
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5113
Beverly Penn Senior Attorney
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5106
Brendan Philbin Deputy City Solicitor
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5028
Leonard Reuter Senior Attorney
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5064
Jane Seu Assistant City Solicitor
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5226
Traci Taylor Legal assistant
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5110
Shanita Walker Legal Assistant
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5094
Maggy White Assistant City Solicitor
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5027
Marissa Wilk Clerk III
Code & Public Nuisance Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5117
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Labor & Employment Unit

The Labor & Employment Unit provides counsel to the City on the many employment issues affecting the City’s large and diverse workforce. Lawyers in the unit represent the City and its departments in federal and state courts in discrimination lawsuits under Title VII and other pertinent federal and state statutes and local ordinances, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Fair Practices Ordinance. Unit lawyers represent the City in the agency proceedings that precede the lawsuits. In addition, the unit handles suits against the City before the Civil Service Commission and in grievance arbitrations by unions. Unit lawyers represent the City as well as at the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board against union unfair labor practices and other labor matters. An important aspect of the unit’s practice is counseling the City’s human resources professionals and others in matters involving the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Family Medical Leave Act, and the ADA, among others.

Leadership

Nicole Morris
Chief Deputy City Solicitor
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Name Job title Phone #
Nicholas Basista Legal Assistant
Labor & Employment Unit
(215) 683-5223
Linda Busillo Senior Legal Assistant
Labor & Employment Unit
(215) 683-5362
Kia Ghee-Eneanya Assistant City Solicitor
Labor & Employment Unit
(215) 683-5079
Safiya Green Clerk Typist I
Labor & Employment Unit
(215) 683-5100
Erica Kane Assistant City Solicitor
Labor & Employment Unit
(215) 683-5078
Cara Leheny Divisional Deputy City Solicitor
Labor & Employment Unit
(215) 683-5081
Steven Liang Legal Assistant
Labor & Employment Unit
(215) 683-5190
Nicole Morris Chief Deputy City Solicitoricitor
Labor & Employment Unit
(215) 683-5075
Benjamin Patchen Assistant City Solicitor
Labor & Employment Unit
(215) 683-5077
Christopher Rider Divisional Deputy City Solicitor
Labor & Employment Unit
(215) 683-5082
Lisa Swiatek Deputy City Solicitor
Labor & Employment Unit
(215) 683-5076
Daniel Unterburger Assistant City Solicitor
Labor & Employment Unit
(215) 683-5080
Frank Wehr Assistant City Solicitor
Labor & Employment Unit
(215) 683-5183
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Tort Litigation Unit

The Tort Litigation Unit defends City agencies and employees in civil tort litigation. These claims include motor vehicle accidents from police pursuits, property damage due to water main breaks or City-authorized demolitions, and personal injury claims related to City streets, sidewalks, and real property. The unit works closely with civil and traffic engineers as well as medical experts to investigate and defend these claims. The unit’s staff ensures that legitimate claims are settled at as low a cost as possible and claims lacking merit are vigorously defended at trial or arbitration. The unit aggressively seeks defense and indemnification from insurance carriers based upon contractual obligations owed to the City. The unit also engages in affirmative litigation to recover judgments the City procures against co-defendants.

Leadership

Kenneth S. Butensky
Chief Deputy City Solicitor
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Name Job title Phone #
Tiffany Allen Assistant City Solicitor
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5373
Alexandra Athanasiadis Assistant City Solicitor
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5417
Peter Baker Senior Attorney
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5420
Richard Barzaga Assistant City Solicitor
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5389
Amanda Bender Assistant City Solicitor
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5386
Sandra Bui Legal Assistant
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5367
Edwin Corbey -Ervin Legal Assistant
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5371
Diane Druding Clerk Typist II
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5383
Miles Dumack Deputy City Solicitor
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5369
Robert Evans Assistant City Solicitor
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5379
Joshua Feissner Divisional Deputy City Solicitor
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5382
Matthew Fink Deputy City Solicitor
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5392
Joshua Galvan Deputy City Solicitor
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5407
Jeremy Giatras Assistant City Solicitor
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5361
Miles Hartl Legal Assistant
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5410
Stephanie Haughton Legal Assistant
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5377
Juanita Johnson Tort Litigation Unit Coordinator
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5424
Derek Kane Deputy City Solicitor
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5374
Sean Kirby Divisional Deputy City Solicitor
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5380
Sheldon Kivell Senior Attorney
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5364
Pauline Manos Senior Attorney
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5411
Tiffany Martin Assistant City Solicitor
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5062
Robert O'Grady Senior Attorney
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5388
Jeffrey Oretsky Word Processing Spec 2
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5385
Rebecca Page Legal Assistant
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-3016
Deidra Peck Clerk Typist II
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5387
Karen Rompala Senior Attorney
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5393
Michael Sheehan Assistant City Solicitor
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5421
William Shuey Deputy City Solicitor
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5440
Cindy Smith Data Entry Clerk
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5422
Lisa Stahl Data Services Supp Clerk
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5416
Charles Thurmond Deputy City Solicitor
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5370
Deirdre Thurston Data Services Supp Clerk
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5376
Shawna Trawick Data Services Supp Clerk
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-3573
Denise Whitlock Legal Assistant
Tort Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5413
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Affirmative & Special Litigation Unit

Affirmative & Special Litigation attorneys represent the City in affirmative public policy litigation. They represent the City (and its officers when sued in their official capacity) in civil actions involving claims arising out of or relating to contracts for procurement of goods and services, contracts for performance of construction and similar public works, other City commercial transactions, and eminent domain. They also typically defend the City or its officers against actions involving claims arising out of real property title or document recording disputes, and represent the City and its officers and employees in connection with subpoenas served on them as non-party witnesses or records custodians in civil commercial actions. Unit attorneys also represent the City in complex civil cases involving City legislation or City powers.

Leadership

Eleanor Ewing
Chief Deputy City Solicitor

Eleanor Ewing has been a member of the Law Department since 2002. She previously served as senior attorney in the Appeals Unit, where she argued appeals on behalf of the City before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the Pennsylvania appellate courts. Before coming to the Law Department, Eleanor was a commercial litigation partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP. She is a graduate of New York University School of Law and the University of Pennsylvania.

Name Job title Phone #
Ellen Berkowitz Senior Attorney
Affirmative & Special Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5253
Benjamin Field Deputy City Solicitor
Affirmative & Special Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5024
Lydia Furst Deputy City Solicitor
Affirmative & Special Litigation Unit
(215) 683-3573
Amy Kirby Deputy City Solicitor
Affirmative & Special Litigation Unit
(215) 683-3566
Nicole Osborn Administrationistrative Technician
Affirmative & Special Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5026
Michael Pfautz Assistant City Solicitor
Affirmative & Special Litigation Unit
(215) 683-5233
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Appeals Unit

The Appeals Unit handles appellate matters in both state and federal courts including civil rights cases, labor and employment matters, tort claims, and contractual disputes. In addition, the unit handles administrative agency appeals concerning tax, pension, Civil Service Commission decisions, and land use matters.

The unit also handles challenges to the legality of City ordinances. It files amicus briefs on behalf of the City and coordinates the City’s participation in amicus briefs prepared by other entities. Within the Law Department, the unit advises trial attorneys in other litigation departments on significant legal issues that arise at the trial and pre-trial level.

Leadership

Jane Istvan
Chief Deputy City Solicitor
More +
Name Job title Phone #
Elise Bruhl Senior Attorney
Appeals Unit
(215) 683-5011
Kelly Diffily Senior Attorney
Appeals Unit
(215) 683-5010
Craig Gottlieb Senior Attorney
Appeals Unit
(215) 683-5015
Jennifer MacNaughton Senior Attorney
Appeals Unit
(215) 683-3561
Zachary Strassburger Assistant City Solicitor
Appeals Unit
(215) 683-2998
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