Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” Announces Full-Time Legal Fellowship Serving Summit County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Park City, Utah (September 23, 2015) “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” (AJFA), the Utah nonprofit uniting the state’s primary providers of civil legal aid – Disability Law Center, Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake, and Utah Legal Services – is very pleased to announce that it has secured $10,000 in  funding for Park City’s first full-time legal fellow dedicated to providing free civil legal aid to the poor and victims of domestic violence in Park City. AJFA’s Legal Fellowship Program was launched to simultaneously address two very pressing issues in Utah. First, it helps to address the ‘Justice Gap,’ in which a majority (80%) of low-income Utahns do not have access to an attorney when they most need one, though 67.5% of them will experience a civil legal dispute in any given year.  Second, too many young lawyers are un-or under-employed and need professional legal experience to jump-start their careers. Under supervision of a seasoned Utah Legal Services attorney, the Park City Fellow will not only manage the entire protective order calendar for domestic violence victims, but will also work to bolster relationships with Summit County attorneys to promote greater pro-bono involvement and conduct outreach to promote greater awareness about the legal resources available to Summit County low-income populations. A recent national think tank found representation by an attorney in protective order cases to be the best way to prevent domestic violence, while also saving states millions in the process.  In addition to domestic violence issues, it is anticipated that the Fellow will provide free legal services in other legal areas as well, including landlord tenant disputes and immigration issues. The AJFA Park City Fellowship is possible through the generous collaborative effort of the Park City Bar Association, Park City Foundation, Nutraceutical Corporation, the Park City Rotary Foundation and the law firm of Wrona Gordon & DuBois.  The Law Firm of Dodd & Kuendig has generously donated the in-kind desk space to house the Fellow. Scott DuBois, an AJFA Leadership Committee Member and member of the Board of Directors for the Park City Bar Association, helped lead the fundraising effort.  Mr. DuBois […]

PRESS RELEASE: Utah Legal Services Wants You To Learn How to Defend Yourself Against Unjust Eviction

Salt Lake City, Utah (September 2, 2015): A new lecture series is beginning in September at the Downtown Salt Lake City Public Library to arm tenants with the knowledge and skills to defend themselves against their landlords. This new lecture series, organized by “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” partner agency Utah Legal Services (ULS), will aim to provide tenants with the knowledge to avoid eviction and its high associated costs, how to improve the quality of your rental, how to improve your rental living conditions, and how to ensure that your landlord makes repairs, among other topics. Controversial landlord practices can range from improper water shutoffs, delayed rental improvements, and the refusal to meet disability needs, among others. Take, for instance, the case of Mary, 38, a single mother diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and her 8-year old daughter diagnosed with neurofibromatosis faced with the looming threat of homelessness when the Housing Authority took away the families Section Eight Housing funding. Mary was forced to give nearly all of her possessions and asked her 16-year old son to live with his father to save him from the impending shame of homelessness. Utah Legal Services was notified of the case when Mary and her daughter were “literally a week away from going into a shelter.” Mary’s Section Eight Housing funding was taken away after she moved to a handicap accessible apartment with her landlord’s approval. The Housing Authority did not authorize the move and terminated her housing funds. ULS filed a third-party lawsuit against the Housing Authority, as well as a counter-suit against the landlord to ensure that Mary was not forced to pay the $10,000 in past due rent. (The full story was covered by the Standard-Examiner here.) In Utah, treble damages — a statute that permits a court to triple the amount of compensation — on a $1,000 dispute plus attorney fees can result in the tenant owing upwards of $5,000.  This debt is garnishable, which means debt collectors could take payments directly from the tenant’s wages before the tenant receives them. The combination of treble damages, attorney fees, and wage garnishing often results in […]