Harold Goodman’s very first case out of law school led him to represent a consumer advocacy group’s First Amendment rights before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. A unanimous decision in his favor sparked a profound commitment to fight for victims of injustice. During his two decades of work with Philadelphia’s Community Legal Services, Mr. Goodman was lead trial and appellate attorney in countless landmark cases, including:
Mr. Goodman joined our firm in 1988. His first assignment was to represent the Philadelphia School District in its asbestos property damage lawsuit against the manufacturers whose products had contaminated Philadelphia’s public schools. As lead counsel, he and his team recovered more than $20 million for the School District. Over the years, he not only continued his representation of racial minorities, women, victims of sexual abuse, disabled employees, older workers and individuals whose rights to FMLA and other employee benefits were unlawfully denied, he also has represented doctors, lawyers, business executives and media professionals whose employment rights were violated. Among his many successes were: Swierkiewicz v. Sorema, N.A., 534 U.S. 506 (2002), a unanimous decision by the United States Supreme Court that made it easier for civil rights plaintiffs to plead their cases; the Lillie Belle Allen case, brought by the family of a young mother killed by a racist mob in York, Pennsylvania and which resulted in a $2 million payment to her heirs; the payment of $4 million to a surgeon who was terminated from his job; and the payment of several million dollars to a television newscaster whose rights to equal employment opportunity were denied.
Throughout his career, Mr. Goodman has been a formidable advocate in both the trial and appellate courts. On four occasions, he has argued and won cases before the United States Supreme Court. In addition, he has argued and won more than ten cases in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and more than thirty cases in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America© and has been selected to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list by his peers.
In his spare time, Mr. Goodman is an active leader in his Center City community where he has coached youth sports for nearly three decades. Hailing from Massachusetts, Mr. Goodman enjoys rooting for Boston sports teams, spending time with his children, cooking, gardening and exercising along the Schuylkill River Trail.
$2 Million Settlement for City Officials Inciting and Covering Up a Murder
Lillie Belle Allen, an innocent black woman on a family trip to York, Pennsylvania, was murdered on July 21, 1969 as a result of local police officers inciting and arming a racist mob “to kill as many n****** as you can.” For more than thirty years, the City of York’s Police Department covered up its officers’ involvement, as well as the identity of the shooters who took her life. Based on a death bed confession of one of the killers, the District Attorney reopened the case and two men were convicted of Lillie Belle’s murder in 2002. In January 2003 – thirty three years after her death – Harold Goodman and his team filed a civil rights claim against York on behalf of Lillie Belle Allen’s family. After overcoming the legal challenges faced in a many decades old case, Attorney Goodman pressed forward to trial. In 2005, the City of York settled the case, issued an apology to the Allen family, and commemorated Ms. Allen’s life in several City facilities.
Confidential Settlement for Police Failure to Prevent Suicide
Despondent about being in jail on minor charges, a woman verbalized her thinking about killing herself to a police officer. She was placed in a cell that had video surveillance so that the jail staff could respond to her if she followed through on her suicidal ideation. The police officer charged with monitoring the surveillance camera failed to watch the video feed and the woman committed suicide. Her family turned to Harold Goodman to investigate the circumstances of her death and to hold the jail staff accountable. Harold and his team established that the suicide occurred within full view of the cameras and the suicide was entirely preventable. The Police Departments settled the family’s claim on a confidential basis.
Confidential Settlement Against Police Department for Fatal Shooting of Innocent Bystander
An active and self-sufficient, 89-year old woman lived in the bottom apartment of a two story complex. When police responded to reports of a domestic disturbance in the apartment above hers, the police did not precisely determine the details of the complex layout. When gun shots were heard, the police deployed snipers – without a scope or binoculars – across the field from the apartment. The 89-year old woman opened her apartment door to see what was going on. Somehow mistaking her for the young, male perpetrator, a police officer shot at the silhouette without confirming that he was shooting at the right doorway and without actually seeing who he was shooting. The family asked Harold Goodman and Regina Foley to investigate the killing and hold the police department accountable for this senseless death. Regina and Harold were able to secure a settlement for the family, including an apology, before filing a lawsuit.
Confidential Settlement Against Professional Sports Team for Sexual Harassment
A young woman and recent college graduate accepted her dream job: a marketing position with a professional sports team. Her boss, however, quickly targeted her for sexual advances. He attempted to ply her with alcohol and gifts and continuously contrived ways to spend time alone with her in an unwanted and vain attempt to engage her in a sexual relationship. Distraught, she resigned her position rather than face his advances. She was referred to Harold Goodman and Amber Racine, who quickly convinced the Sports Teams’ owners to proceed to confidential mediation which resulted in a significant monetary settlement for our client as well as mandatory training for the harasser.