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Michael Trunk

Kline & Specter PC - Philadelphia
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Michael Trunk
Kline & Specter PC - Philadelphia

Michael A. Trunk, a partner at Kline & Specter, joined the firm in 2006 after successfully representing both plaintiffs and defendants at one of the country’s largest firms. He has since won a number of major cases on behalf of catastrophically injured clients.

Trunk was lead counsel in a case that resulted in a settlement of $11.9 million for a girl left brain damaged after she suffered an asthma attack caused by mold in a government-subsidized house. The Philadelphia Housing Authority, through its insurance carrier, paid the bulk of the settlement in the civil rights case for approving the home and then delaying the family’s move to a safe location. Trunk, who worked on the case for more than three years, reached the settlement on the day the trial was to begin in federal court. (See news coverage.)

In his most recent case, in October 2021, Trunk was lead counsel in a New Jersey case that resulted in a $1.8 million settlement for the family of a five-year-old girl who died of bacterial meningitis after missed diagnoses at a pediatric center and a hospital emergency room.

In another case, Trunk was lead counsel on a case that resulted in a $4.2 million settlement in June 2019 for the estate of a woman who died from routine neck surgery as a doctor who was supposed to have been remotely monitoring the procedure was instead out driving his car and making phone calls, including to a plumber. The case involved an investigation that spanned five years, including expert forensic analysis that showed the doctor had used software to try to purge his computer of evidence from the day of the surgery. (Read article)

A month earlier, Trunk was co-counsel in litigation that produced an $80 million jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon Inc. for a Media, Pa., woman injured by a surgically implanted vaginal mesh device. The verdict in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court came at the conclusion of a six-week trial and jury deliberations that lasted into a second day. The verdict included $30 million in compensatory and $50 million in punitive damages, making it the largest compensatory award in the nation to date in a vaginal mesh case. (Read article)

In 2018, Trunk worked with Shanin Specter to obtain a $30 million settlement for a worker who suffered severe injuries when he fell nearly 50 feet from a cell tower in Allentown, Pa., after a ladder rung to which he was tethered dislodged. (Read article)

Two years earlier, Trunk, as lead counsel, won a $5 million verdict in Montgomery County, Pa., for the family of an 88-year-old man who was literally drowned to death over a nearly 12-hour period when a feeding tube was mistakenly placed into his left lung instead of his stomach. The unanimous jury verdict came after a weeklong trial against a radiologist and Abington Hospital. (See stories below.)

Earlier in the year, Trunk achieved a $2 million settlement for a 17-year-old high school student from West Palm Beach, Florida, who lost an eye after he was struck by a Toypedo swimming pool toy. The settlement was Trunk’s third involving an eye injury caused by the plastic projectile. In October 2015, he obtained a $1.5 million settlement for a suburban Milwaukee man who lost an eye and previously Trunk negotiated a $3.75 million settlement for a 10-year-old girl who was blinded in one eye by a Toypedo.

Trunk in August 2015 won a $2.8 million verdict in Delaware County, Pa., for a woman whose larynx and trachea were damaged by medical error at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. The woman will have to breathe through a tracheostomy tube for the rest of her life. The verdict came after a weeklong trial and nearly five hours of jury deliberations.

In a prior case, he won a $7.8 million jury verdict for the family of a jockey at Parx Casino & Racetrack who was killed when a horse he was exercising threw and repeatedly kicked him after the animal was spooked by chickens allowed to roam free on the track. The verdict was among the Top 20 in Pennsylvania in 2014. (News coverage) After the verdict, Parx banned all non-equine animals from the premises. 

Trunk in 2013 won a settlement of nearly $2 million for the Philadelphia Eagles' Jason Peters who was re-injured following Achilles surgery when a defective rolling walker broke and caused him to fall. The injury required a second surgery and resulted in the all-pro offensive lineman missing all of the 2012 season. (See coverage)

Earlier that year, he was co-counsel with Shanin Specter in obtaining a $19 million settlement for the family of a newborn who suffered a severe brain injury following a uterine rupture caused by overmedication.

Super LawyersTrunk has been selected as among the top five percent of attorneys in Pennsylvania by the independent rating service Super Lawyers for 11 straight years (2012-2022) based upon balloting by attorneys and review by a special blue ribbon panel.

In one courtroom victory, Trunk in December 2011 was lead counsel in a case that resulted in an $805,000 verdict in Chester County for a West Goshen man who died in Chester County Hospital after being admitted with complaints of stomach pain only to be given an overdose of pain medication. The drug exacerbated his existing sleep apnea, eventually sending him into respiratory arrest. (See McGinley)

Also in 2011, Trunk was co-counsel in a case that resulted in a $1.87 million verdict for the estate of a woman who died after an emergency room doctor failed to diagnose her symptoms as carbon monoxide poisoning. Days after her discharge she was found unconscious in her Cheltenham home, where two other people were found dead. (See story)

In a case that drew national attention, Trunk, with Specter, in 2009 won a $7.5 million settlement against La Salle University on behalf of a former football player who suffered profound brain injury after being allowed to play in a game before a prior concussion had fully resolved. (See The Plevretes Case)

Also in 2009, Trunk was co-counsel in a case that resulted in a $7.3 million settlement on behalf of a seriously injured worker at a construction site. In that case, the worker was rendered a paraplegic after falling 20 feet from negligently constructed scaffolding.

Trunk also focuses his legal practice on product liability and medical malpractice. His work in those areas includes representing children severely injured by dangerous toys as well as medical malpractice cases involving babies who were brain damaged during birth.

At the Dechert Law Firm, where he practiced for seven years prior to joining Kline & Specter, Trunk was lead counsel in a case in which he represented a man who suffered nerve damage after he was beaten by a bouncer at a city tavern. The jury returned a verdict of $688,500 for the plaintiff. In another trial, he was lead plaintiff’s counsel in a civil rights case in which a prison inmate filed a lawsuit alleging he was beaten by a prison guard. Trunk argued the case ultimately before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Trunk also was co-counsel in successfully mediating 175 cases in federal court in New Jersey on behalf of a manufacturer of Ephedra, the herbal supplement and stimulant that was withdrawn from the market due to potential heart problems.

Trunk also had a stellar academic career. He received his bachelor’s degree from Temple University, where he graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.  

He graduated from the Temple University School of Law in 1999, where he was a member of the Temple Law Review and attained the highest grade-point average in his graduating class. Trunk also received a master’s of law in trial advocacy from the Temple University School of Law in 2008.

He has lectured on “Medical Monitoring Claims Under Pennsylvania Law” for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s forum Hot Topics in Products Liability.

Trunk is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and is admitted to practice before the federal district courts in both states as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

He is a member of the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania bar associations, the American Association for Justice, the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, and the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association.

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