Greene vs. PHA: Achieving a Favorable Settlement in a High-Profile Case

In September 2010 the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) terminated Carl Greene as its Executive Director in the midst of intense media scrutiny surrounding his conduct, including several sexual harassment complaints that were made against him by former PHA employees.  Greene’s termination led to a much publicized lawsuit in federal court by him against PHA and its five-member Board of Commissioners which was chaired by former Philadelphia Mayor John Street.  Kleinbard’s litigation team was led by partner Steve Engelmyer and included partner Eric Schreiner and associate Lorena Ahumada.  Together Kleinbard’s team successfully represented PHA and four of the five Commissioners in this challenging, high profile matter, using their skills in both commercial litigation and employment law.

In his lawsuit, Greene claimed that the Board breached his employment contract by terminating him for cause.  He also asserted a civil rights claim against four of the five Commissioners, alleging that his termination had harmed his reputation and deprived him of a constitutionally protected interest in his reputation without due process.  Prior to trial, the Firm convinced the court to dismiss the breach of contract claim and the civil rights claim brought against the commissioners that it represented.  As a result, the only claim remaining for trial was the breach of contract claim against PHA.

After two weeks of trial, which included testimony by former Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell, Mayor Street and Greene himself, the Firm was able to successfully negotiate a favorable settlement of Greene’s claims.  The settlement allowed PHA’s new leadership to move past a very turbulent and controversial period and focus on its core mission of providing safe, high quality housing for low income residents of Philadelphia.