Teamsters will pay for beating up protesters

A brother and sister who said that Teamsters beat them up for protesting against President Clinton during a 1998 visit to Philadelphia have settled their legal battle with the union. Don Adams, 47, and his older sister, Theresa, both of Cheltenham in Montgomery County, agreed last week to a settlement with Teamsters Local 115 and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The union will pay the two an undisclosed amount to drop the lawsuit, according to attorney Joe Adams, a cousin of the plaintiffs.

Clinton was in the midst of the Monica Lewinsky scandal at the time of the city hall appearance in 1998. A large group of Teamsters was present, along with the Adamses, who were protesting Clinton's visit.

The Adams say two union men grabbed Don Adams' sign, which read: "Liar, pervert, national shame." A scuffle ensued when he tried to get the sign back.

Adams suffered a concussion, cuts and bruises and a herniated disc. His sister was bruised but not seriously injured.

The Adamses filed federal civil rights claims against the union, the Philadelphia district attorney and then-Mayor Ed Rendell, whom they accused of instigating the attack by inviting the union to drown out protesters. They were aided by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group.

A federal judge dismissed that suit in 2003. When their appeal failed, the Adamses brought a civil lawsuit in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.

The suit accused the Teamsters of assault, defamation of character and malicious prosecution.

In a written statement Wednesday, Adams said he and his sister "are declaring victory for the First Amendment and freedom of speech."

Thomas Kohn, attorney for the Philadelphia-based Teamsters local, would not comment on the settlement other than to confirm one had been reached.


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