Hi Lucy,

Happy fall!

This month, we are excited to share several exciting updates, including a major victory for our clients fighting back against Ohio State University's sexual abuse cover-up and a recap of our very own Karla Gilbride's hearing before the Senate HELP Committee in her nomination to serve as General Counsel for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

We also welcomed two new Skadden Fellows to our Debtors' Prison Project and Students' Civil Rights Project teams, celebrated another Clean Water Act win, and spoke with Public Justice member James Pizzirusso about his team's work on the recent $500 million T-Mobile data breach settlement — one of the largest in history.

Thank you from all of us,
The Public Justice Team

Justice for OSU Victims in the Sixth Circuit!

This month, in a 2-1 decision, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of our lawsuits against Ohio State University and its decades-long role in facilitating and concealing the sexual abuse of hundreds of students and others by school-employed physician Dr. Richard Strauss. This was a reversal of the district court’s decision to dismiss the cases, which was based on OSU’s assertion that the victims’ claims were untimely because the statute of limitations had expired.

In July, we argued before a panel of three judges that most survivors weren’t aware that Strauss had abused them until 2018, when the university publicly announced it was investigating allegations of Strauss’ abuse. We also argued that none of the survivors were aware of the role the university played — and its decades of concealment — in enabling Strauss’ abuse.

In a sweeping victory, the Sixth Circuit agreed, stating in its opinion that “plaintiffs adequately allege that they did not know and could not reasonably have known that Ohio State injured them until 2018,” rejecting OSU’s claims that the survivors should have taken action sooner.

"After today's ruling Ohio State can’t hide behind the statute of limitations and attempt to ‘run out the clock’ on its accountability for enabling and concealing two decades of Dr. Strauss’s serial sexual predation," said Students’ Civil Rights Project Director Adele Kimmel. "This decision is one step forward in granting justice for the over 100 survivors who have carried this burden and trauma throughout their lives.”

Click here to learn more about the OSU case

Public Justice's Karla Gilbride Testifies at

EEOC Nomination Hearing

On September 13, our Access to Justice Co-Director Karla Gilbride testified before the Senate Health, Employment, Labor, Pensions (HELP) Committee for her nomination to serve as General Counsel at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

"The laws the EEOC enforces represent some of this country’s greatest ideals: that everyone should have opportunities in the workplace free from barriers caused by bias, harassment, or a failure to accommodate their religion or their disability," said Karla during her powerful opening statement.

Karla's confirmation vote is expected within the next few weeks. Though we would miss Karla greatly if she is confirmed, we're proud to support her and urge Senators to swiftly confirm her nomination.

Karla Gilbride sitting at desk in Senate Committee chambers, with microphone in front of her, providing testiomony.
Karla Gilbride sitting at desk in Senate Committee chambers, with microphone in front of her, providing testiomony.

Karla testifies before the Senate HELP Committee on September 13, 2022.

Click here to watch the hearing

Karla Gilbride to Receive the Edith Prentiss Award from Disability Rights Advocates

Disability Rights Advocates announced our very own Karla Gilbride as the recipient of its 2022 Edith Prentiss Disability Justice Award.

This award was established in 2021 in memory of Edith Prentiss, a tireless advocate who fought for accessible public spaces in New York City. It is given to disability justice advocates who best exemplify Edith’s spirit through their own work.

Karla will receive the award at DRA’s 2022 Annual Gala on October 6, 2022. Congratulations, Karla!

The Legal Landscape After Morgan v. Sundance

Karla will also speak about what's happened since the Supreme Court's arbitration decision at this virtual event hosted by the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association.

Click here to learn more

Two Skadden Fellows Join Public Justice to

Fight Criminalization of Poverty and

Protect Students' Civil Rights

This month, we're thrilled to welcome two Skadden Fellows to our team! The Skadden Fellowship Program provides two-year fellowships to recent law graduates to pursue the practice of public interest law on a full-time basis.

Our new Fellows are in good company — Debtors' Prison Project attorney John He just completed his Fellowship, and our Students’ Rights Civil Project staff attorney Alexandra Brodsky joined Public Justice as a Fellow in 2016. Learn more about our Fellows below!

Caption: Jacquelyn Oesterblad

Jacquelyn Oesterblad

Jacquelyn Oesterblad joined the Debtors' Prison Project (DPP) team, where she will focus on the criminalization of poverty and homelessness in her home state of Arizona.

“I'm looking forward to learning from the best! I love everything about DPP's work on the criminalization of poverty, and I can't imagine a better place to start my career than working on this issue, with these people,” said Jacqui.

Jacqui is a graduate of Yale Law School, where she worked on issues including affordable housing, decriminalizing sex work, the rights of incarcerated transgender people, and capital appeals. Prior to attending law school, she taught middle school social studies. Learn more about Jacqui here.

Caption: Shariful Khan

Shariful Khan

Shariful Khan will work on the Students’ Civil Rights Project (SCRP). In addition to litigating Title IX and VI cases with the SCRP team, Shariful’s fellowship focuses on the link between racial harassment and discriminatory discipline in education settings. He hopes that illuminating this link will create stronger case law for bringing racial discrimination lawsuits in schools.

“My experiences with education — both as a vehicle for social mobility and as a potentially traumatic space for underrepresented students with limited resources — are the inspiration for this project. I’m looking forward to learning all I can from Public Justice’s attorneys, who all somehow manage to balance brilliance and dedication to justice with equal doses of kindness and humor,” Shariful said.

Shariful graduated from Yale Law School, where he was deeply involved in the Veterans’ Legal Services Clinic. Click here to learn more about Shariful. 

Another Victory for Clean Water!

We are pleased to share that a $1 million settlement has been finalized in our Clean Water Act case against Keystone Protein.

Earlier this year, we won a motion for summary judgment against Keystone Protein for illegal discharges from its poultry rendering plant into a tributary of the Lower Susquehanna River.

The settlement funds will support community stream health monitoring and several watershed restoration projects.

Working With Our Allies

This month, we were proud to join our allies to collectively weigh in on matters that affect workers, students, and consumers. Click the links below to read each letter and visit our Endorsements page to learn more.

James Pizzirusso: Fighting for Victims of the T-Mobile Data Breach & Why Class Actions Matter

In August 2021, millions of former, prospective, and current T-Mobile customers became the victims of one of the largest data breaches in history. Over 76 million people were ultimately affected. In July 2022, a $350 million settlement was negotiated for the victims, one of the largest data breach settlements in history. An additional $150 million will be invested by the company to improve its own security infrastructure and practices.

Public Justice member James Pizzirusso (Hausfeld) was a key member of the legal team responsible for this historic consumer win.

We recently spoke with James about what this settlement means for data breach victims, and why class actions are one of the most effective tools for righting corporate wrongs: "Class actions are really the only way to provide real accountability to corporations on behalf of financially injured plaintiffs and consumers [...] We have seen time and time again how class actions cause companies to change their practices for the better, creating monumental and lasting change across industries." Read the full interview here

"Class actions are really the only way to provide real accountability to corporations on behalf of financially injured plaintiffs and consumers [...] We have seen time and time again how class actions cause companies to change their practices for the better, creating monumental and lasting change across industries." From Hausfeld's James Pizzirusso. 

Click here to read the interview on Medium

Interested in being featured in a future Member Spotlight?

Reach out to Lucy Sears at lsears@publicjustice.net.

Recommend Public Justice for a Cy Pres Award!

Public Justice is an excellent candidate for cy pres funding for a wide variety of cases. Our strategic advocacy, communications, and education efforts, paired with our wide-ranging case docket, advance the interests of class members or similarly situated people in many cases, and provide a collective, continuous service to the public interest.

Check out our new webpage to learn about how Public Justice puts cy pres funds to work. To recommend Public Justice for a cy pres award or request help drafting related court documents, please contact our Senior Director of Development Kelly Simon at ksimon@publicjustice.net.

Support Public Justice and donate today!
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Why Kalpana Kotagal Should Be Confirmed as EEOC Commissioner

By Paul Bland, Executive Director

Click here to read on Bloomberg Law
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Corporate Dark Money Too Easily Undermines Democracy

By Karen Ocamb, Director of Media Relations

End Anti-Trans Discrimination in Credit Reporting Practices

By Steve Ralls, Vice President of External Affairs & Bodhi Calagna

Interested in working at Public Justice? Know someone else who might be? We are hiring! Please share these opportunities with your network.

Vice President of Finance

Membership Manager

Anti-Court Secrecy Staff Attorney

Students' Civil Rights Project Attorney

Summer 2023 Law Clerk

2023-25 Food Project Fellow

Generalist Fellow

Public Justice welcomes this month's new members — your unwavering commitment to our mission of combating injustice helps us reach our goals.

Support our work by joining today!

Questions? Contact us here.

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