July 17, 2017
Diane Bernoff Sher has more than 35 years of experience defending commercial, governmental and individual clients in complex civil litigation, with particular expertise in insurance coverage disputes, municipal liability law, the defense of civil rights claims, and personal injury litigation.
Diane practiced with our firm for 24 years and returns after serving for ten years as Assistant General Counsel for the School District of Philadelphia. As head of the Tort and Civil Rights Unit in the Office of General Counsel for the eighth largest school district in the United States, Diane defended the School District in hundreds of matters with an emphasis on civil rights claims brought under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, premises liability and vehicular liability. She was lead counsel in major jury trials, arbitrations and mediations.
Diane was a member of the team representing the School District in a high-profile investigation by the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice into allegations of racial harassment of students. Following resolution of the investigation, she ensured that the School District was in compliance with a court-approved settlement agreement. Diane worked within the School District to help draft policies and procedures related to bullying and harassment of students, and provided District-wide training to school staff, students and parents on proper implementation of those policies.
Diane argued the pivotal civil rights case of Morse v Lower Merion School District, 132 F.3d 902, 3rd Cir. (1997) in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. She was awarded a Certificate by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. Diane serves as Judge Pro Tem in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, where the court also appointed her guardian-ad-litem in a catastrophic motor vehicle accident case. She authored course materials and served on the faculty of continuing legal education (CLE) programs, including seminars on Municipal Law and Liability.
Since returning to our firm, Diane also has been retained to provide training to private school staff on compliance with mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse. She provides guidance and training to school administration and faculty on school policies and procedures to ensure compliance with applicable statutes and civil rights laws.