Emily Baker-White, Plain View Project—While working for the Federal Community Defender Office in Philadelphia and investigating a police brutality claim, Baker-White came up with the idea for the Plain View Project in 2017. Baker-White led a team of attorneys in an analysis of bigoted social media posts made by police officers in eight jurisdictions across the country, including Philadelphia. Last June, in conjunction with nonprofit multimedia journalism organization Injustice Watch and BuzzFeed, the Plain View Project released its findings: thousands of Facebook posts and comments made by current and retired police officers that contained problematic content ranging from racism, misogyny and Islamophobia to condoning or encouraging excessive force. The release of the report led several of the departments mentioned in the report to take action against offending officers, including the Philadelphia Police Department, which put 72 officers on administrative duty and ultimately terminated 13.
Tom Kline, Kline & Specter—In October, amid a string of other courtroom victories throughout 2019, Kline, representing the plaintiff in the first punitive damages trial over Johnson & Johnson’s conduct in marketing the antispychotic drug Risperdal, told a Philadelphia jury during his closing argument to “send a message” to the defendant. Less than five hours later, the jury responded by returning a record-setting $8 billion verdict. According to a review of The Legal’s archives, the award is the largest verdict since at least 1994, when The Legal began tracking each year’s largest verdict and settlement.
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