Knott claims self-defense in civil case

Like her two co-defendants, Kathryn Knott is contending she acted in self-defense during a high-profile attack on a gay couple in Center City.

Knott made the claim in a June 23 court filing in a civil case brought by plaintiffs Andrew Haught and Zachary Hesse, who are seeking at least $500,000 in damages. The couple is also suing Phillip Williams and Kevin Harrigan for the September 2014 attack at 16th and Chancellor streets; witnesses said the trio used antigay slurs during the incident, which began as a verbal altercation and escalated to a physical attack that left Haught with extensive facial fractures. 

In last month’s filing, Wayne Maynard, an attorney for Knott, wrote that she “asserts the affirmative defense of self-defense, and to the extent plaintiffs sustained the injuries and damages as alleged in plaintiffs’ complaint, said injuries and/or damages were sustained while [Knott] was in the process of defending herself from the real and perceived threat of bodily injury arising from the actions of plaintiffs and their friends.” 

Both Williams and Harrigan raised the self-defense claim in their own filing last year. 

Harrigan and Williams’ filings also noted plaintiffs’ “friends,” though the two men were by themselves at the time of the incident.

Maynard wrote that any injuries the plaintiffs suffered were “not the result of any act or failure to act” on Knott’s part and were “caused or contributed to by conditions or persons over whom [Knott] had no control and for which [Knott] is not responsible.” 

Maynard added that any injuries are “the result of intervening and superseding acts of others, including but not limited to plaintiffs and co-defendants.” 

Like Harrigan and Williams, Knott also filed a cross-claim against the other two co-defendants, arguing that any recovery awarded to Haught and Hesse should be “based upon the acts and omissions of … [Harrigan and Williams] who are solely responsible for the plaintiffs’ injuries and damages.”

An attorney for Haught and Hesse filed a reply July 6, denying all of Knott’s claims. 

Also this month, William P. Barrett, an attorney for Harrigan, asked to withdraw from the case, a request that Judge Denis Cohen will consider in a motions hearing Aug. 2.

A settlement conference in the case is scheduled for Sept. 13. If no settlement is reached, a pretrial conference is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 6, with a jury trial set for Dec. 4.

The criminal case against the three is resolved; Williams and Harrigan accepted plea deals and performed community service, while Knott took her case to court and served five months in prison after being found guilty of four misdemeanor charges.