This past month, Public Justice was busier than ever, celebrating several significant advocacy and case wins, as well as welcoming new changes that mark an exciting new chapter for our organization.

At the end of July, we held our Annual Virtual Gala and Awards Celebration, which is now available to view on our YouTube channel. During the Gala, we bid farewell to our outgoing President Eric L. Cramer, and welcomed our incoming President Dan Bryson.

A seasoned lawyer with decades of experience in class actions and personal injury cases, Bryson first became involved with Public Justice through a 2010 AAJ Summer meeting in Vancouver, Canada, in which he found himself inspired by the work of the organization and its commitment to ensuring justice for all.

Bryson recently spoke with our Media Relations Director Karen Ocamb for the Los Angeles Blade on what he hopes to accomplish as Public Justice's new president, as well as his ongoing work in fighting attacks against the transgender community in his own home state of North Carolina: “As President, I look forward to working with the staff to continue that expansion and maximize the impact of our work to tear down systemic injustice and work for a legal system – and a country – that is fairer, more inclusive and more equitable for all.”

As we gear up for the fall season, we can't thank you enough for your support in helping us make an impact in the court and create real and lasting change for individuals and communities across the country. Learn more about our latest wins and ongoing battles below!
Corporations are once again trying to dismantle longstanding Federal Rules of Civil Procedure designed to ensure that the civil justice system is fair and transparent—that it uncovers the truth and holds bad actors accountable.

This time, Rule 26(b)(5)(A) is on the chopping block. This rule requires a party withholding material as “privileged” to describe the nature of the material, without revealing its contents, so that other parties can assess whether it should be privileged. Such descriptions are included in a privilege log.

Sounds reasonable. But corporations say this rule is too burdensome and that they should be allowed to claim general categories of information are privileged without describing, or even identifying, particular documents.

Read Ellen's full blog post on why this rule helps ensure access to justice - and how you can help - on our website.
This month, we saw several significant legal wins in our fight against Ag-Gag laws in several states. Ag-Gag laws unconstitutionally silence whistleblowers and prohibit undercover investigations that expose some of the agricultural industry’s most egregious and harmful practices like animal cruelty, pollutions, and worker abuse.

On August 18, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling that Kansas's Ag-Gag law violates the First Amendment, which now prevents the state from enforcing its Ag-Gag law; a major victory for transparency and accountability in the food system. Enacted in 1990, the law was the oldest in the U.S., and had successfully prevented whistleblowers from investigating factory farm conditions.

We filed this lawsuit in 2018 on behalf of the Kansas coalition, consisting of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Center for Food Safety, and state farmed animal organizations Shy 38, Inc. and Hope Sanctuary.

On Monday, August 9, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit released its opinion reversing a lower court’s February 2020 dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the Arkansas Ag-Gag law as unconstitutional. The court held that animal advocates can prospectively challenge ag-gag laws that enable factory farms and private businesses the right to sue whistleblowers investigating corporate abuses.

This case against Peco Foods Inc., and Jonathan and DeAnn Vaught of Prayer Creek Farm, is led by the Food Project and brought on behalf of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Equality, Center for Biological Diversity, and Food Chain Workers Alliance, challenging the constitutionality of Arkansas’s Ag-Gag law, which prohibits undercover investigations that expose abuses at factory farms and other businesses across the state. This ruling to reverse the lower court’s decision affirms the public’s ability to investigate and publicize corporate businesses and factory farms’ practices and hold them accountable when the well-being of animals and workers are at stake.
Image via ALDF

Public Justice is fighting to protect whistleblowers' First Amendment rights to expose what agricultural industry's worst abuses. Learn more about our fight against this case, our fight against the Arkansas and Kansas Ag-Gag law—and Ag-Gag laws across several states here.
Public Justice is excited to share that this month, the Washington Supreme Court ruled in favor of Steven Long, a homeless man in Seattle, who was charged over $500 for a minor parking infraction.

In City of Seattle v. Long, the Court held that the fine violated the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment, and that the courts must consider the individual circumstances of the person being fined. Additionally, the Court affirmed the lower court decisions that the truck was a home, and auctioning off Long's truck would have violated a state law that prohibits forcibly selling someone's home.

In February, we joined the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, and the Rutherford Institute in filing an amicus brief in support of Long, making the very arguments that the Court recognized in its opinion.

To learn more about the details of the case, visit our Skadden Fellow John He's blog post here. This case is part of our Debtors' Prison Project, which works to end the criminalization of poverty and establish key legal protections to which the debtors are entitled. To learn more, visit our DPP webpage.
Public Justice has been at the forefront of fighting against forced arbitration and calling for the passage of the FAIR Act, which would allow cases involving consumer, civil rights, and employment to be heard publicly in a true court of law, ensuring everyone can access the courts, rather than being forced to work things out on a corporation's terms.

An email that was recently sent to an Arizona lawyer reveals the latest tactics being used by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce - and other pro-forced arbitration entities - to stop the passage of the FAIR Act. In the email, an individual identifying himself with the Chamber asks the lawyer whether any client he represented in an arbitration would be willing to sign onto a pre-written op-ed aimed to convince Arizona senators to oppose the FAIR Act - in exchange for $2,000. Public Justice sees this as a desperate attempt from corporations - and a never-before-seen tactic in manufacturing opposition to legislation that would force them to face accountability.

Our Executive Director Paul Bland spoke with The American Prospect's Amelia Pollard, who covered the Chamber's latest attempt at curbing the legislation - and defending a practice that gives corporations the upper hand by forcing workers and consumers out of court: "The arbitration system is overwhelmingly rigged against individual human beings in favor of corporations [...] Nearly every Republican has said they’re on the side of the big corporate donors, and what they’re counting on is that their voters will never learn about it."

To read the full story, click here.
The results of our summer issue survey are in!

Your feedback helps clarify our purpose, and we will continue pursuing justice in every issue area our work touches.

With 96 percent of respondents citing Public Justice as a top organization they support, we are very grateful to have you by our side. Thank you! 
This month, our Kazan Budd Staff Attorney Alexandra Brodsky released her first book, Sexual Justice!

According to Publishers Weekly:

"Civil rights lawyer Brodsky offers a clear-eyed assessment of how to improve the adjudication of sexual harassment claims within schools, businesses, and other institutions.… A balanced look at how to address a thorny problem.”

Learn more about Alexandra's book here.
As the academic year begins, Public Justice is pushing forward in our fight to protect students’ rights. Our Students’ Civil Rights Project (SCRP) has fought – and won – some of the most impactful educational access cases in this country. We’re holding educational institutions accountable and empowering young people, especially LGBTQ+ youth and students facing gender and/or race-based discrimination, to build movements and demand change.

Protect, inform, and empower students with a special gift to the Students’ Civil Rights Project today!
Public Justice is pleased to announce a new online CLE-eligible webinar series, Justice Talks, sponsored by Western Alliance Bank.
The first edition of this on-demand webinar series – “Challenging the Vulnerable Arbitration Clause: The Defenses Still Available in Many Cases” – features Public Justice Executive Director Paul Bland and Staff Attorney Ellen Noble, and is now available exclusively for Public Justice Members.

If you're a Public Justice member experiencing problems accessing the webinar series, please contact Public Justice Senior Meetings & Events Manager Susan Gombert at
About This Episode of Justice Talks:

Too often, plaintiffs’ lawyers give up on promising cases upon learning that somewhere in their client’s sales paperwork, job application or the website they visited, a fine-print arbitration “agreement,” which supposedly foreclosed their right to bring future disputes in court.

But not all such clauses are as ironclad as they first appear. In this webinar, Public Justice Executive Director, Paul Bland and Staff Attorney Ellen Noble describe the challenges remaining to mandatory arbitration provisions and explain how to spot and effectively challenge delegation clauses within arbitration provisions.
Public Justice welcomes this month's new membersyour unwavering commitment to our mission to combat injustice helps us reach our goals.

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