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Champion of Justice & TLOY Award Winners Honored in San Francisco

Champion of Justice & TLOY Award Winners Honored in San Francisco

At the Public Justice Foundation’s 31st Annual Gala & Awards Dinner in San Francisco, Alan R. Brayton won the Champion of Justice Award, and Matthew Coyte and Jack Jacks were awarded the 2013 Trial Lawyers of the Year Award.

As Executive Director Arthur Bryant said in his speech about Brayton,

One of the country’s top asbestos lawyers, Al spends his life fighting for workers and their families injured and killed by corporations. Nationally renowned for his innovative legal strategies and shrewd negotiations, he battles for justice, both through his firm, Brayton Purcell, and through Public Justice — and he wins.

For over a decade, Brayton has co-sponsored a fellowship for new lawyers to work at Public Justice. In 2004, his generosity helped launched the Access to Justice Campaign. He has repeatedly won awards for recruiting the most new members, and the most women and minority members. In short, for years he has generously supported of all aspects of Public Justice and the Public Justice Foundation.

Albuquerque attorneys Coyte and Jacks won the TLOY Award for their work in Slevin v. Board of County Commissioners, a solitary confinement case. They represented Stephen Slevin, who had a history of mental illness when he decided to drive across the country in 2005. After being arrested in New Mexico for a DUI, Slevin spent the next 22 months in solitary confinement, where he languished without trial and without treatment for his declining mental health. A jury awarded Slevin $22 million, and the parties settled for $15.5 million, one of the largest-ever prisoner civil rights settlements in an individual case.

The Slevin verdict and ensuing publicity has changed the way New Mexico handles mentally ill prisoners.