We hope you're having a great start to your summer! Here at Public Justice, we're ramping up our work on all fronts and continuing our advocacy in key issues like workers' rights and protections, support for transgender and nonbinary youth, and Title IX protections for students nationwide. This month, we won a key victory in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for our student survivor Jane Doe, and sued Smithfield for lying to the public about meat shortages during the pandemic, at the expense of its workers' health and safety (read more below!).

As Pride Month comes to a close, we reaffirm our commitment to creating a just world that celebrates the rights and dignity of the entire LGBTQ+ community.

With an alarming increase of anti-LGBTQ bills–250 and counting–introduced in state legislatures, it is clear there is much work yet to be done. That’s why we're fighting for the rights and safety of trans and non-binary students under Title IX and supporting the passage and enforcement of the Equality Act.

Ending the intertwined systems of homophobia, transphobia, and racism that LGBTQ+ people face every day must be an urgent priority for our country. Join us today and help make a difference by supporting our work toward justice for the LGBTQ+ community.
Last, but certainly not least, we're excited to announce that civil rights attorney Ben Crump will receive our 2021 Champion of Justice Award! As one of the nation's most renowned advocates for social justice, Mr. Crump's legal advocacy focuses on his pursuit of justice for Black families impacted by our nation's ongoing epidemic of police brutality and systemic racism. We are honored to recognize Mr. Crump with this award.

Be sure to join us on Wednesday, July 21 as we salute his incredible work and legacy at this year's virtual Gal and Awards Ceremony. Learn more about this year's Gala below and visit our Gala webpage to secure your spot!
As the debate over whether eliminating qualified immunity should play a part in police reform continues, our Executive Director Paul Bland spoke to USA Today regarding the doctrine's damaging impact on obtaining justice: "[T]his doctrine has really become overly broad, and I don’t think that there was ever a strong basis for it. It’s been expanded in ways that I think are very harmful."

We believe qualified immunity acts as a significant barrier to police reform and accountability. To learn more about our work in calling for an end to qualified immunity, visit our QI Project webpage.
In response to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Goldman Sachs Group Inc v. Arkansas Teachers Retirement System, we joined the Consumer Federation of America and American Association for Justice in issuing a statement applauding the Supreme Court for "upholding investor rights."

This decision is a win for investors in holding companies like Goldman accountable. Our Executive Director Paul Bland told InvestmentNews: "Goldman Sachs was looking to make it much harder for investors to bring securities fraud cases, and that just didn’t happen.”
In reaction to OSHA's announcement regarding its long-awaited Emergency Temporary Standard and that it would cover only health care workers, we released a statement urging the Biden Administration to expand the ETS to include all workplaces where workers are in danger of contracting COVID.

Our statement was shared by Bloomberg Law in its coverage of OSHA's announcement: "Even as some workers have been vaccinated, COVID-19 outbreaks have continued to regularly happen as recently as this May, especially in facilities related to the food system.”
This past January, Kazan Budd Staff Attorney Alexandra Brodsky argued before the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in favor of a motion for a new trial in Doe v. Fairfax County School Board, on behalf of a student survivor of sexual assault who alleges violations of her rights under Title IX. At trial, the jury found that Jane had been sexually assaulted and deprived of educational opportunities as a result, but that the school board was not liable because it lacked “actual knowledge” of the assault allegation.
This month, we won our appeal in the Fourth Circuit, granting our client a new trial! The appeal to the Fourth Circuit claimed that the jury’s finding in the initial trial in 2019 on whether FCPS had “actual knowledge” of the assault is against the clear weight of the evidence, is based on confusion over the court’s instructions on “actual knowledge,” and would create a miscarriage of justice if allowed to stand.

This is a powerful decision for student survivors of sexual assault. Alexandra recently spoke with the Associated Press on this victory: “FCPS’s behavior— dismissing a student’s report of sexual assault out of hand—is too common among school districts across the country. The Fourth Circuit’s ruling in Jane Doe’s case should serve as a warning that all schools must train staff to recognize and address sexual harassment.” In an interview with The Washington Post, our co-counsel Lauren Khouri of Correia & Puth, PLLC said: "This is a victory for Jane Doe and all student survivors who have a right to an educational environment free from discrimination."

A recording of Alexandra's oral argument can be found here. Background on the history of the case can be found here.
This month, the Food Project filed a lawsuit against Smithfield Foods on behalf of Food & Water Watch, alleging that the multinational meat processing company misled consumers about the imminence of nationwide meat shortages and its workplace safety practices throughout the pandemic.
"COVID laid bare the industry's chronic worker abuse," our press release states. "Throughout the crisis, meatpacking workers, who are mostly people of color, have been experiencing massive COVID-19 outbreaks in their communities. More than 58,000 meatpacking workers have contracted COVID-19, and 293 have died."

Instead of implementing proper protections for its workers, Smithfield used advertisements, social media, and website disclosures claiming that it was providing protections when in reality, these statements were false.

“Smithfield led a coordinated campaign to tell consumers it was protecting workers—but in reality, it wasn’t," said Food Project Staff Attorney Randy Chen, who is part of the legal team in the lawsuit. "Smithfield also scared consumers into thinking national meat shortages were near—but that wasn’t true either. District of Columbia consumers have a right to truthful information and they should hold companies accountable when they lie to protect their business and brand— especially when those lies come at the enormous expense of workers’ lives."

The lawsuit has been covered in multiple media outlets, including the New York Times, Bloomberg, and CNN. We are proud to join Food & Water Watch in holding Smithfield accountable. Read the full press release here.
Celebrating Champions of Change:
The 39th Annual Public Justice Gala & Awards Ceremony
A Special Virtual Event Experience
Mark your calendars and RSVP today! Be sure to sign up here for the 39th Annual Virtual Gala & Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, July 21 at 7:00 pm ET. The Gala is free and open to anyone interested in attending.

You must register to attend this year’s Gala. We will be announcing the Trial Lawyer of the Year winning team, and honoring this year’s Champion of Justice, Ben Crump.

If you would like more information on the gala, our sponsors or would like to become a sponsor, please click here. Contact Susan Gombert, Senior Meetings & Events Manager at sgombert@publicjustice.net if you would like more information or have any questions.
We are proud to share that Public Justice has received a 2021 Platinum Seal of Transparency, the highest level of recognition conferred by GuideStar, the world’s largest source of nonprofit information.

This special certification demonstrates Public Justice’s steadfast commitment to fiscal responsibility, accountability, and transparency. To reach the Platinum level, Public Justice shared metrics highlighting progress toward our mission, which supporters can view on our comprehensive profile in order to best evaluate our organization.
The Public Justice team is back on the road and participating in several conferences and events across the country!

If you have an event where you’d like Public Justice to present—either in-person or virtually—contact Kelly Simon (ksimon@publicjustice.net) for more details.

Visit our Events page for up-to-date information about Public Justice speaking engagements and educational opportunities. Be sure to let us know if you’re attending any of these events — we’d love to see you there!
Public Justice welcomes this month's new membersyour unwavering commitment to our mission to combat injustice helps us reach our goals.

Questions? Contact us at memberservices@publicjustice.net.