Clinic Accomplishments

In the recent past, Public Justice Advocacy Clinic students and faculty have:

Federal Cases

● With co-counsel, won a motion for summary judgment on liability and injunctive relief in a federal class action filed by the Clinic in 2005 which alleged that the District of Columbia Public Schools violated federal and state law by failing to offer special education services to disabled children aged 3-5.  See D.L. v. District of Columbia, 730 F.Supp.2d 84 (D.D.C. 2010); 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132092 (D.D.C. Nov. 16, 2011). The defendants appealed and the case argued before the D.C. Circuit on January 10, 2013.

● Filed and won a federal Freedom of Information Act case seeking data relating to the Medicare Advantage Program on behalf of a George Washington University professor. Biles v. CMS, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39269, 2013 WL 1154207 (D.D.C. Mar. 21, 2013). A student briefed an argued a motion relating to the proper defendant in the case.

● Litigated and settled on favorable terms a wage and hour case brought by a restaurant employee for unpaid overtime and other wages removed by the employer to federal court.

● Filed and settled on favorable terms a federal Freedom of Information Act case seeking records relating to the District of Columbia’s implementation of a federal settlement governing accessibility to homeless shelters.  Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless v. U.S. Department of Justice, No.11-2023 (D.D.C.).

● Litigated a Freedom of Information Act case on behalf of the National Security Archive against the SEC seeking documents relating to the relationship between Chiquita Brands International and armed militia organizations in Colombia.

● Favorably settled a federal lawsuit brought by a restaurant employee who was not paid overtime wages.

● Litigated a wage and hour case brought by a restaurant employee for unpaid overtime and other wages removed by the employer to federal court.

● Settled on favorable terms federal claims made by families who alleged that they were discriminated against on grounds of their disabilities in homeless shelters. One settlement included substantial reforms to relevant programs.

● Filed and litigated a federal lawsuit on behalf of a family placed in homeless shelters that failed to accommodate the child’s physical impairments.


District of Columbia Court of Appeals Cases

● Successfully appealed a denial of unemployment to the D.C. Court of Appeals for a client who was late to or absent from work on a number of occasions due to health emergencies and car trouble.  Students represented the client at the initial hearing before an Administrative Law Judge and briefed the case before the D.C. Court of Appeals. The court reversed the ALJ and ordered that benefits be paid.  Hamilton v. Hojeij Branded Food, Inc. 41 A.3d 464 (D.C. 2012).

● Prevailed in a case before the D.C. Court of Appeals seeking attorney’s fees for law student time in a disability compensation case.  Copeland v. District of Columbia Department of Employment Services, 3 A.3d 331 (D.C. 2010).


Superior Court Cases

● Obtained a judgment in excess of $16,000 for a client employed by a non-profit which failed to comply with compensation agreements.

● Negotiated a settlement agreement in a wage and hour case involving a local restaurant for $15,000 which failed to pay our client required minimum wage and overtime payments.

● Filed an intervention proceeding in the Probate Division for appointment of a conservator for a journalist taken hostage in Syria.

● Won a D.C. Superior Court judgment for over $12,000 for a cleaning company employee who was not properly paid for her work.  After the debtor refused to pay the judgment, students worked for over a year to locate assets that could be seized and successfully garnished the entire amount owed.

● Won a D.C. Superior Court default judgment of over $120,000 for two employees of a restaurant who were not paid the minimum wage or overtime.

●Filed and obtained $8,000 judgment in case in D.C. Superior Court on behalf of a man who was paid significantly less than the amount agreed to for his construction work on defendant's homes.

●Filed and settled on favorable terms a case in D.C. Superior Court on behalf of a restaurant worker who was denied overtime for all six years of his employment at a local restaurant.

●Filed and settled on favorable terms a case in D.C. Superior Court on behalf of a restaurant employee who was not paid required minimum wages during a portion of his employment.

● Successfully settled the claims of a minor whose employer had failed to pay her the minimum wage.

● Filed a lawsuit on behalf of four cleaning workers who had not been paid for work, had not been paid minimum wage and were not paid overtime.  Students represented the clients at trial after settlement offers were rejected.  The students examined five witnesses, admitted over twenty documents and presented opening and closing statements. At the conclusion of the day-long trial, each client was awarded a judgment of $5,000, the jurisdictional maximum. Students also filed claims in one defendant's bankruptcy case, resulting in additional payments to the plaintiffs.

● Favorably settled a D.C. Superior Court lawsuit brought by a bakery employee who was not paid overtime wages.

● Favorably settled a D.C. Superior Court lawsuit brought by two housing provider employees who alleged that they were not paid overtime and unused vacation pay and were retaliated against when terminated.

● Settled Superior Court lawsuits for over $6,900 filed on behalf of pizzeria employees who were not properly paid for their work.

● Settled the claims of an employee of a dry cleaner which had not paid her overtime during the entirety of her employment.

● Filed cases in D.C. Superior and Small Claims Court on behalf of a man who was paid significantly less than the amount agreed to for his construction work on defendants’ homes.

● Filed a case in D.C. Superior Court on behalf of a restaurant worker who was denied overtime for all six years of his employment at a local restaurant.

● Filed a case in D.C. Superior Court on behalf of a restaurant employee who was not paid required minimum wages during a portion of his employment.


Unemployment Compensation Cases 

● Prevailed in an unemployment compensation case on behalf of a client employed by a temporary employment agency.

● Obtained unemployment benefits for a client by successfully arguing that, under the circumstances, the client, a security guard who fell asleep on the job, had not engaged in gross misconduct. Students conducted all aspects of the hearing including conducting a direct examination and presenting a closing argument.

● Obtained full unemployment benefits for a client who had been accused of using his employee discount improperly. The students conducted the entire hearing including direct examination, cross-examination and a closing statement.

● Obtained unemployment benefits for a woman who had been terminated shortly after complaining of sexual harassment in the workplace. Students represented the client at a hearing that involved multiple witnesses for the employer and for the claimant.

● Successfully represented in an unemployment compensation hearing a bus driver who was fired for failing to complete her shift after experiencing medical problems.

● Successfully represented in an unemployment compensation hearing a home health care aide who was fired after missing work due to illness.  The clinic then represented the same client in claims against her employer for its failure to pay her overtime wages.  The matter was resolved favorably.

● Successfully represented in an unemployment compensation hearing an employee of a social service agency who was fired for allegedly failing to complete assignments.

● Successfully represented in an unemployment compensation hearing a bank employee who was fired for tardiness after a problem with her day care. 

● Successfully represented in an unemployment compensation hearing a man who had been fired for attendance issues shortly after his house burned down.

● Successfully represented in an unemployment compensation hearing a woman who had been fired for misplacing company money.

● Successfully represented in an employment compensation hearing a man who had been denied unemployment after his employer was closed by the city due to structural issues in the building.

● Obtained full unemployment benefits for a young single mother who had arrived tardy to work on a number of occasions due to childcare and public transportation difficulties.


Other

● Developed a policy proposal for D.C. Employment Justice Center to reform overtime provision governing home companions.

● Developed a policy proposal for D.C. Employment Justice Center to reform aspects of enforcement powers of D.C. Office of Wage Hour.


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