Pro Bono Reception Postponed

POSTPONED – LEGAL AID OF MARIN AND MCBA PRO BONO RECOGNITION RECEPTION

Postponed (Originally scheduled for April 2, 2020)

SPEAKERS
Judge Edward M. Chen | United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Judge Andrew Sweet | Presiding Judge, Marin County Superior Court

Due to countywide concerns over the spread of COVID-19, MCBA will reschedule certain upcoming Events.

 

Once the event has been rescheduled, your registration will be applied to the new date.

If you are not able to attend, we will issue a refund upon request.

Given the uncertainty of this dynamic situation, we are actively looking at virtual programming. Please stay tuned for updates.

For more information about Marin County’s response to the Covid-19, see: https://www.marinhhs.org/coronavirus

Please attend this festive evening reception to honor our community’s outstanding pro bono legal providers of the past year. We will award the State Bar of California’s Wiley W. Manuel Award for 50 or more hours of pro bono service. And we will honor the many volunteers for Legal Aid of Marin and for MCBA’s Lawyers in the Library who have donated numerous hours to counsel members of the community in need.

Remarks by Hon. Edward Chen, United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Presentations by Judge Andrew Sweet, Presiding Judge of the Marin Superior Court.
Acknowledgments by Stephanie Haffner, Executive Director, Legal Aid of Marin and
Robert Rosborough, Officer, Marin County Bar Association.

David Snyder Appointed Legal Aid of Marin Executive Director

The former Executive Director of the New Hampshire Bar Foundation, brings a wealth of experience in nonprofit management, fundraising, strategic planning and partnership growth.
David Snyder's passion for community service, public education and social justice issues spans over 20 years.

The Legal Aid of Marin Board of Directors has appointed David G. Snyder as the agency’s new Executive Director. Snyder brings a wealth of experience in non-profit management, fundraising, board and staff development, strategic planning, and partnership growth.

Prior to moving to California in 2009, David served as Executive Director of the New Hampshire Bar Foundation and for six years managed the state’s IOLTA (Interest on Lawyer’s Trust Accounts) program. Serving as an advocate for legal services, Snyder was able to deepen and expand a nationally recognized partnership with the New Hampshire Bar and the local banking community effectively increasing access to legal services for the underserved.

“David Snyder’s work in New Hampshire allowed the Bar Foundation to achieve the best IOLTA performance in its history,” said Attorney Paul Chant, who served as the NHBF Board Chair during Snyder’s tenure as the agency’s Executive Director. “David worked effectively with many organizations to further the purpose and breadth of Foundation giving. He was a key player in the New Hampshire legal services community during his work as Bar Foundation Executive Director.”

As Executive Director of the Berkeley Public Library Foundation, Snyder launched The Neighborhood Libraries Campaign, a $3 million capital campaign providing interior items required for a branch renovation project. Most recently, Snyder served as the Director of Development for International Rivers, a Berkeley-based nonprofit that protects rivers and defends the rights of communities that depend on them.

Snyder’s passion for community service, public education, and social justice spans over 20 years of working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector. He recently served as Board Secretary and Development Committee Chair with Novato Human Needs Center.

Since 2012, Snyder has hosted a monthly “Development Coffee,” in Richmond, where a network of Bay Area development professionals address topics and issues concerning the growth of local nonprofit organizations.

“I am honored to be able to serve my local community by helping to ensure that Marin continues to provide access to legal services for all. Our society has developed laws and a system of justice that requires legal assistance for many situations that are beyond the capabilities of most residents. We are thus obligated, as a society, to provide a means for insuring that justice is open for all, not just those of wealth.”

The Legal Aid of Marin Staff and Board of Directors are pleased to welcome Snyder to LAM.

David Snyder can be contacted directly at (415) 492-0230, Ext. 310.

LAM receives Cy Pres Award

Greenbrae-based firm Wynne Law Firm directs award to LAM for case concerning rights of security guards

Legal Aid of Marin wishes to thank the Wynne Law Firm for directing a recent Cy Pres award to our agency.

For the past year and a half, Greenbrae-based attorneys Edward J. Wynne and J.E.B. Pickett worked diligently on behalf of a group of Bay Area security guards whose legal rights had been violated. As the wage-and-hour dispute case reached a class-action settlement this year, the Wynne Law Firm recommended that a Cy Pres amount of over $13,000 be awarded to Legal Aid of Marin.

“Both the judge and the defendant felt that Legal Aid of Marin was an excellent fit because of LAM’s mission of providing access to the court system for people who are otherwise underrepresented,” said Wynne Law Firm attorney J.E.B. Pickett, who personally hand-delivered the award to the LAM staff earlier this month.

Both J.E.B. Pickett and Ed Wynne have long-standing roots to Marin County and a deep commitment to serving those in our community. Ed Wynne grew up in Marin where he currently resides and has devoted his legal career to protecting the rights of individuals and employees both locally and across the state.

In addition to his work litigating over 40 wage and hour class action suits, J.E.B. Pickett has been participating in Legal Aid of Marin’s Pro Bono program since early 2007.

“J.E.B. has been a tremendous asset to our Pro Bono program – helping dozens of clients with issues ranging from employment to personal injury and medical malpractice,” says LAM Pro Bono Manager Nancy Murphy.

For more information on nominating Legal Aid of Marin for a Cy Pres Award, or to participate in our Pro Bono Program, contact Nancy at (415) 492-0230, Ext. 308; nmurphy@legalaidmarin.org

LAM Secures Landmark Class Action Settlement on Behalf of Janitors Who Cleaned California Ross Stores

Legal Aid of Marin settles Vasquez, et al. v. USM, Inc., et al.
LAM Staff Attorney Joanna Shalleck-Klein, pictured at left with Staff Attorney Ann Munene and Supervising Legal Assistant Sandra Esquivias of LAM's employment team, played a key role in securing relief for the underpaid janitors

In a landmark victory for janitors, Legal Aid of Marin, with co-counsel, have won a settlement of $1 million for a class of janitors who performed daily maintenance cleaning in Ross Stores in California. Notice of the class action settlement in Vasquez et al. v. USM, Inc., et al. (N.D. Cal. Case No. CV-13-05449-JD) was provided to the janitor class members throughout California this week.

Plaintiffs in this action allege that retail giant Ross Stores, Inc. (“Ross”) and leading janitorial contractor USM, Inc. (“USM”) violated California Labor Code section 2810 by underfunding contracts for janitorial services, resulting in systemic wage theft from the janitors who cleaned Ross Dress for Less and dd’s DISCOUNTS stores in California. Ross, which operates approximately three hundred “off-price” retail stores in California, contracts with USM for janitorial services. In turn, USM further subcontractors with janitorial service providers, which then hire the workers and assign them to Ross stores.

The California Legislature passed Labor Code section 2810 in 2003 to address the substandard wages and working condition endemic in the underground economy, where subcontracting is prevalent. Any entity that contracts for janitorial services is liable under this law if it knows or should know that it has failed to provide sufficient funds to allow the contractor to comply with all local, state, and federal laws or regulations governing the services provided.

Represented by the firms of Legal Aid of Marin, Chavez & Gertler, Goldstein Borgen Dardarian & Ho, and the Stanford Community Law Clinic, Plaintiffs filed their proposed class action on September 5, 2013. Plaintiffs allege that Ross and USM knew or should have known that their janitorial contracts did not include sufficient funds to allow the service providers at the bottom of the subcontracting chain to comply with all governing labor laws. Plaintiffs further allege that, as a result of the unfunded agreements, the workers were not paid minimum wage.

View Complaint

On January 27, 2014, the Court denied Defendant Ross’ motion to dismiss the case against it, concluding that Plaintiffs’ complaint contained sufficient factual allegations that Ross knew or should have known that the janitorial contracts it entered into with USM were insufficient to pay the janitors all the wages they were owed for cleaning Ross stores.

View Order Denying Motion To Dismiss

Plaintiffs moved for class certification on October 24, 2014.

View Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification

On February 10, 2015, the parties reached a settlement, which provides a settlement fund of $1 million for janitors who performed daily maintenance at California Ross stores from September 5, 2009 until February 10, 2015, along with meaningful prospective relief designed to ensure that current and future janitors at California Ross stores are paid minimum wage for daily maintenance. Plaintiffs’ Counsel will seek a separate award for attorney’s fees and expenses.

This is the largest settlement to date for alleged violations of Labor Code section 2810 and an important victory for janitors.

Judge James Donato of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California preliminarily approved the settlement on April 13, 2015.

View Order Preliminarily Approving Settlement

All persons who have provided Daily Maintenance Service at a Ross store in California in connection with the performance of a contract or agreement between USM and Ross for the provision of janitorial services from September 5, 2009 until February 10, 2015 are entitled to share in the settlement fund. Claim forms are due by September 15, 2015.

To submit a claim, or for more information about the settlement, the claims process, opting-out and objecting, visit: http://www.usmjanitorsettlement.com Or call: 1-855-447-2248.

Press coverage and press release materials:

San Francisco Chronicle May 27, 2015: “Janitors at Ross to share $1 million settlement.”

Law360.com January 28, 2014: “Ross Stores Can’t Escape Wage Class Action.”

LawyersAndSettlements.com October 14, 2014: “Janitors Allege Ross Dress for Less Equates Work for Less.”

Contra Costa Times/Oakland Tribune, September 6, 2013: “Janitors sue Pleasanton-based Ross Dress for Less.”

Download September 2013 Complaint Press Release

Download May 2015 Settlement Press Release

For media inquiries, contact: Delfin Vigil, LAM Director of Communications and Development at dvigil@legalaidmarin.org; 415 492-0230, Ext. 316.

LAM partners with ABC’s 7 On Your Side to help San Anselmo senior citizen

LAM worked with Michael Finney of ABC's 7 On Your Side to raise money for a San Anselmo victim of a financial elder abuse scam.
LAM Executive Director Paul Cohen delivered a $500 check raised by 7 On Your Side viewers and LAM supporters

Legal Aid of Marin is proud to have partnered with Michael Finney of ABC’s 7 On Your Side to help a Marin senior citizen who was scammed out of nearly all of her savings.

San Anselmo resident Carolyn Collins, who lives on social security, received a call from someone impersonating a police officer. The scammer told Collins that she was “in deep trouble with the law,” with a warrant out for her arrest for failing to show up for jury duty. Unless she paid $500 through a money transfer, Ms. Collins would go to jail.

“I trust policeman,” said Collins who immediately sent the $500 through an untraceable Green Dot MoneyPak card. The scammer stayed on a cell phone call with Collins every step of the process as she walked to the bank and local store, warning her not to let anyone know what she was doing.

After realizing she was scammed, a friend encouraged Collins to contact Michael Finney to warn others about this financial elder abuse scam. ABC’s 7 On Your Side aired a special report in December and then reached out to Legal Aid of Marin to set up a special fund for Collins. In less than 24 hours, Seven On Your Side viewers and Legal Aid of Marin supporters raised more than $1,000 in honor of Collins.

On Friday afternoon, LAM Executive Director Paul Cohen delivered a check for $500 to Carolyn Collins. The remaining and future donation balance will help fund further outreach and education in the community about financial elder abuse. A full report will air on ABC 7 Six O’Clock News.

“I wasn’t able to pay any of my bills during Christmas. I felt so gullible,” said an emotional Collins. “I am so grateful for this help.”

Collins also agreed to work with LAM by sharing her story in the community through outreach and education presentations to older adult communities.

Each year, LAM provides more than 2,000 hours  of legal services to older adults, helping the deal with elder abuse — physical, emotional and financial. Thirty percent of LAM clients are 60 or or older and 18.9 percent of Marin residents are 65 or older — the fastest growing population in the county.

“Ms. Collins was heroic in bringing her story forward to help others avoid becoming victims of these older adult scams that have become all too common,” said LAM Executive Director Paul Cohen. “We look forward to working with Carolyn to tell her story in front of older adults in Marin.”

Click here to support LAM’s work protecting the dignity of our older adults.