Civil Litigation Students Achieve Recent Successes for Real-World Clients

Posted 2013-12-10 2:23pm

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law’s Civil Litigation Clinic has seen its students achieve a slew of recent successes for their real-world clients:

  • Led by students Mike Fortney and Orlando Leon, recent alumnus Dan Meyers and volunteer attorney Carla Hawkins, clinic students reached a settlement in a long-term case involving alleged employment discrimination and retaliation.  After filling charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the clinic students filed suit, leading ultimately to a negotiated settlement in the case.  Students were also successful in obtaining benefits for the client through the unemployment compensation administrative process.
  • Leon, assisted by student James Gibson, represented a client in a hearing before the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission.  Based on testimony elicited in the cross examination of the employer’s witness, as well as the direct examination of the client, the hearing officer reversed a decision and found that the client was entitled to benefits.
  • In a separate case before the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission, Gibson, with the assistance of Leon, conducted cross and direct examinations, and obtained a reversal of a previous decision.  The students successfully argued their client was terminated without just cause because the employer had unreasonably applied its attendance policy.
  • Students Justin Hawal and Dulce Garcia filed an appellate brief with the Board of Immigration Appeals. In the brief they argued their client, a Honduran citizen who is currently detained and awaiting deportation, should be granted asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture.
  • Students Kate Southworth and Latisha Riggins have been successful in two  unemployment cases.  In one, they were able to satisfy a Hearing Officer that our client had presented "reliable, probative, and substantial evidence" to establish that he had worked a sufficient number of weeks and earned sufficient wages to have filed a valid application for benefits.  The students' preparation of the client for the hearing and Southworth's direct examination at the hearing overcame the lack of reporting to the agency by the employer.  In a second case, on which Riggins had the lead, the students won a reversal of an initial Determination denying the client benefits with a persuasive appeal letter.

    The Civil Litigation Clinic is currently in its second semester of operation.  Under the supervision of clinical professors Ken Kowalski and Doron Kalir, the Civil Litigation Clinic is one of three clinics currently operating at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.  Clinic students serve the community while learning lawyering skills as they work directly with individual or organizational clients on real legal issues, under the close supervision of experienced attorneys and professors.



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