June 26, 2015
On June 17, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (WLC) presented two Outstanding Achievement Awards to Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. The awards recognize law firms that undertake civil rights work of special significance in collaboration with the WLC. Weil received the Outstanding Achievement Awards for the Firm’s contributions in the area of fair housing and for its efforts to protect the civil rights of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing inmates.
One of the awards recognized Weil’s work on a case that ensured the standing of organizations to bring challenges in source of income discrimination cases in the District of Columbia. Following an erroneous dismissal by the trial court, a Weil team, working alongside co-counsel at the WLC, successfully argued the organizational standing of its client to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. The court’s published decision established a highly favorable precedent that ensures organizations the ability to redress violations of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act. Following the decision of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Weil was able to negotiate a solid injunctive and monetary settlement for its client. The Weil team was led by Peter Isakoff, and included Adam B. Banks and Gary A. Coad.
Weil was presented with a second Outstanding Achievement Award for negotiating a comprehensive settlement agreement that should ensure proper treatment under federal law for prisoners in Kentucky and also serve as a model for other states and the federal government. The agreement settled federal litigation brought by Weil, the WLC, and Belzley Bathurst Attorneys, a Kentucky civil rights firm concentrating in the area of inmates’ rights. The Weil team included Ralph Miller, Kristen Murphy, Sutton Ansley, and Zac Garthe.
The settlement included provisions that will offer protections to Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing prisoners, such as:
- Access to videophones so that deaf inmates will be able to communicate with family and friends outside of prison, just as hearing inmates can
- Adequate visual notification of oral announcements concerning emergencies and visitation
- Adequate access to Sign Language interpreters and other auxiliary aids and services for mandatory rehabilitation programs
- Implementation of necessary policies, training, outreach to prisoners, and monitoring to ensure equal treatment by prison officials
For more information, see the WLC’s press release here.