During Fall 2014, the Civil Rights/Public Interest section of IPR filed five lawsuits. In federal district court, we filed a retaliation and wage case on behalf of a worker misclassified as exempt from overtime, and terminated by his employer when he complained. Also in federal district court, we filed a FOIA case against the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys for failing to produce records we requested regarding the use of summary affirmance motions by the US Attorney’s Office for DC. In DC Superior Court, we brought two different wage theft cases, both on behalf of workers employed by DC government contractors or grant recipients. In Prince George’s County, Maryland, we filed a case on behalf of an individual improperly assessed a deficiency under state consumer protection statutes. We have also agreed to represent an individual whose employer denied her the lactation breaks she was entitled to under state and federal law, and another worker whose employer denied her disability and pregnancy accommodations, discriminated against her on account of her national origin, and illegally assessed fees against her in connection with her resignation. We argued two appeals in federal court, one in the DC Circuit in a race discrimination case, and another in the Fifth Circuit in a preemption case. We filed an amicus brief in the DC Circuit in the appeal of a decision holding that the fee-shifting provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act does not apply to prevailing parties represented by appointed counsel, and we filed an amicus brief in the New York Court of Appeals in a case challenging a New York law that discriminates against nonresident attorneys. We initiated work on two amicus briefs to be filed in the U.S. Supreme Court in Spring 2015.
In addition to litigation, our Fall 2014 students successfully represented a client in demanding wages owed by his former employer, and used documents obtained under FOIA to prepare a report exposing government misconduct. Students also analyzed a number of potential cases, including two consumer protection claims, a potential appeal in a sexual harassment case, and a potential race discrimination class action based on reverse red-lining in automobile financing. On behalf of a public interest organization, we analyzed a potential Administrative Procedure Act claim related to the recall of exploding airbags. Our students visited the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to meet enforcement attorneys and brainstorm on consumer-protection issues, participated in a conference call with CFPB Director Richard Cordray, met with Judge Lohier from the Second Circuit, and participated in moot courts for our own appellate arguments, and those of other public interest groups.