Haffer v. Temple University
As the nation's first Title IX sex discrimination case involving intercollegiate athletics, we joined the National Women's Law Center as co-counsel and lead trial counsel resulting in a landmark settlement requiring new women's teams and comparable treatment for men and women athletes.
Brogan v. Kimberly Services
With the assistance of the public interest law firm National Gay Rights Advocates, Public Justice brought the nation's first case against a private AIDS-testing clinic for failing to follow proper testing procedures and providing false positive results. The company compensated Brogan and adopted stringent new testing and disclosure procedures.
International Union v. Johnson Controls
To shield itself from legal liability, battery manufacturer Johnson Controls banned all "non-sterile" female employees from positions involving lead exposure. Our amicus brief helped persuade the U.S. Supreme Court that this “fetal protection policy” could not be justified, and that the policy was blatant, illegal gender discrimination.
U.S. Bancorp Mortgage v. Bonner Mail Partnership
We filed an amicus brief which helped persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to end the practice of routine vacatur. We and others had criticized this practice, where wealthy litigants were regularly erasing precedents that they didn’t like, and the Court unanimously agreed that the practice was improper.
Cohen v. Brown University
In a case lasting almost more than two decades, we sought to hold Brown University accountable for violating Title IX when demoting its women's gymnastics and volleyball teams from university-funded to donor-funded varsity status. We won rulings that Brown had violated Title IX in the trial court and then on appeal, and won a precedent that would be widely cited and influential in shaping strong protections for women athletes. We ultimately also won substantial changes where Brown reinstated the women’s teams that had been cut.
Puerto Rico Tuna Canneries
We secured the largest Clean Water Act citizen suit settlement in Puerto Rico's history, forcing the Starkist and Bumble Bee Tuna canneries and a water treatment company to agree to comply with the law, pay $500,000 in penalties to Puerto Rico, and pay $500,000 for studies to revive the polluted Mayaguez Bay.
Hankin v. City of Seattle
We represented protestors who were illegally arrested when they demonstrated at the 1999 World Trade Organization conference. We won a trial and an appeal that the city violated our clients’ constitutional rights, and ultimately won an important settlement that both won justice for our clients but also won important relief changing the training and procedures for future events. The case is a landmark victory for freedom of expression and against unreasonable arrest.
Sprietsma v. Mercury Marine
Our client was killed by a defectively designed boat propeller, and she sued the manufacturer under Illinois law. The defendant argued that a federal statute and regulations preempted – wiped away – the state law dealing with defective products. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously agreed with us, and permitted the case to go forward. This landmark ruling shaped the law to help protect the rights of people injured and even killed by other types of defective products as well.
Aleksich v. Remington Arms Co.
Public Justice convinced a federal court to unseal records that showed gun manufacturer Remington was hiding evidence that a popular rifle model was defective and could fire without the trigger being pulled. Unsealed documents revealed that Remington knew of the defects since the 1940s yet failed to take its dangerous rifles off the market.
Ryan v. Koehler International
We joined this lawsuit against Smith & Wesson on behalf of an eight year old boy who was seriously and permanently injured by another child playing with a gun that appeared to be unloaded. We achieved a first-of-its-kind settlement with the gun manufacturer for defectively designing and failing to childproof their product.
Wells v. Chevy Chase Bank
We represented a class of consumers whose credit card company promised in writing it would “never” raise their interest rates over 24% — and then did. Twice the trial court dismissed the case (once because of the bank's forced arbitration clause and once because of a federal preemption defense), but we prevailed in the state's high court and overturned these barriers to justice. Ultimately we won a $16 million settlement and cleared improper debts off the consumers' credit reports. It was one of the first times in the nation that a bank’s arbitration clause was defeated.
West Virginia Highlands Conservancy v. Huffman West Virginia Highlands Conservancy v. Norton
We challenged acidic mine discharges violating the Clean Water Act in West Virginia after the state assumed responsibility for 169 former privately-operated mine sites. The state argued it was not in violation of the CWA because it did not need permits. The courts ruled the state was not exempt from the permitting process, and the same standards for CWA discharges applied. The state agreed to clean up the contaminated sites and undergo the same permitting process as other operators to keep the sites under its control cleaner and safer.
Yakima Valley Dairy Cases
We secured a huge victory in our lawsuit against mega dairies in Washington State's Yakima Valley for their role in dumping tons of manure onto the ground and contaminating the local water supply. A landmark court ruling found that livestock manure should be regulated under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, resulting in clean drinking water for Yakima residents for the first time in decades.
Castaneda v. United States and Castaneda v. State of California
After eight years of litigating two companion cases -- a federal case that went up to the U.S. Supreme Court and back to the trial court, and a state court case that went to trial -- we secured landmark settlements totaling $3.2 million for the family of Francisco Castaneda, an immigrant detainee who died at age 36 because the federal and state medical professionals entrusted with his care failed to diagnose and treat a cancerous penile lesion. The case spurred important changes to the federal government's detainee healthcare policy.
T.E. Pine Bush Central School District
We secured a $4.48 million settlement ensuring that an upstate NY school district would enact broad reforms following the events in which a group of former Jewish students were victims of pervasive, anti-Semitism in the schools. We won an important federal district court decision recognizing that anti-Semitic harassment is a form of race discrimination prohibited by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This settlement serves as a blueprint for what school districts across the country can do to prevent and address harassment.
Snyder-Hill v. The Ohio State University & Moxley v. The Ohio State University
We represent more than 100 survivors of sexual abuse by Ohio State University doctor Richard Strauss, who preyed on male students and others while employed at the university from 1978-1998. We filed Title IX suits to hold the university accountable for facilitating and concealing the abuse for decades. A district court dismissed the survivors’ claims as untimely, but we successfully argued on appeal that the survivors are entitled to proceed with their claims.
As we argued, most survivors—typically abused during medical examinations—weren’t aware that Strauss had abused them until 2018, when the university publicly announced it was opening an investigation into allegations of abuse by Strauss. And none of the survivors understood before 2018 that the university had known about Strauss’s predation from early on, could have prevented their assaults, and actively concealed the abuse. Our clients are still fighting for justice in these ongoing cases.
RCWA & Jane Doe v. Smithfield
We represented workers and people in the neighboring community who sued Smithfield, when a Missouri meatpacking plant was exposing workers and the community with leave policies that discouraged people who had COVID from staying home and that had no PPE or other protections. In response to the lawsuit, Smithfield made a number of very substantial changes to its operations to operate more safely, and the case made national news. After the various improvements were made, the court ultimately dismissed our case, but we considered it a success.
Carter v. City of Montgomery
We alleged that the City of Montgomery, Alabama and its contractor, for-profit company Judicial Correction Services (JCS) are responsible for illegally jailing Montgomery residents who were unable to pay traffic tickets and other fines. The district court ruled that there was enough evidence for our lawsuit to go forward, paving the way for our clients to finally get justice.
Moore v. LaSalle Management
We helped a family win their appeal after a lower court dismissed the family’s civil rights case against a private prison, its operating company, several employees, and the city that hired the private prison. Erie Moore, Jr., died in custody hours after being arrested. The appeals court held that a reasonable jury could find the prison’s employees caused Mr. Moore’s death and that they are not entitled to qualified immunity from liability; that the private prison corporations can be held liable for implementing policies that caused Mr. Moore’s death; and that the private companies may be held liable for punitive damages.