UPCOMING CLINIC OPPORTUNITIES

Note, if this will be your first time volunteering at a limited-scope legal clinic, we ask that you review the substantive training materials on VLJ's Volunteer Resources site, prior to the clinic date. 

You MUST email if you are interested in attending, so we can confirm with you that there are still in fact volunteer spots open. PLEASE DO NOT JUST SHOW UP. Thank you! 

Divorce Program 

All clinics take place in downtown Newark, NJ from 2 - 5pm

2 spot(s)  Pro Se Litigant - Filing Clinic - September 13
2 spot(s)  Pro Se Litigant - Filing Clinic - October 11

Email donuschak@vljnj.org, with interest. 

Consumer Law Program 

All clinics take place in downtown Newark, NJ from 9:30am - 12:30pm

2 spot(s)  Consumer Clinic - August 21
1 spot(s)  Consumer Clinic - September 16
2 spot(s)  Consumer Clinic - October 18

Email donuschak@vljnj.org, with interest. 

DO18E-1000934

BERGEN COUNTY - DISCRIMINATION

Representation in lawsuit under NJ Law Against Discrimination (and/or federal discrimination claims)

SA and SA are siblings who were both enrolled in the same high school (the brother, 19, graduated in June 2017, and the sister, 17, was disenrolled by the district for excessive absences in January 2017 during her junior year). The siblings are U.S. citizens of Palestinian background and Muslim faith; there are very few Muslim students in their high school. There have been numerous instances of insensitivity on the part of the district. A guidance counselor with a poster of the Twin Towers on fire and the motto “never forget” said, “We don’t have a lot of your kind” and “What country are you from?” Another student hacked into the brother’s email account and put his name on a terror watch list. The band director only called SA “Mohammed” or “Son of Islam,” and other band members repeatedly made fun of him on social media. When SA and his mother, DO, complained, they were essentially told to toughen up. SA was depressed and traumatized as a result of this behavior. In addition, the sister was repeatedly harassed by another student, became too traumatized to attend school, and was ultimately disenrolled. The family filed a HIB complaint that did not result in a finding of HIB because the district considered the threat (“I hope you bleed out on the floor and die”) to be a falling out among friends. DO is seeking appropriate consequences for the band director in particular, improvement of school climate at the high school for other Muslim students, and monetary damages.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

UNDER REVIEW

LM18E-1000935

ESSEX COUNTY - BANKRUPTCY

Full representation through Chapter 7 bankruptcy

LM is a 59 year old woman living on a fixed income of Social Security Disability benefits.  She has approximately $35,000 of dischargeable debt, comprised of credit card debt and a defaulted bank loan.  She requires assistance in filing for bankruptcy so that she can have a fresh start and manage her expenses going forward and stay within her limited fixed income.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

TC18E-1000889

ESSEX COUNTY - SECTION 8, NAME CHANGE

Assistance in relocating out of state with court’s consent; reinstating Section 8 voucher or securing new one; possible name change for client’s son

TC, a single mother of three young children, is a victim of domestic violence, both from her ex-husband as well as many of his family members. She fears for her safety and is seeking to move out of the state. TC needs help obtaining the court’s consent to relocate. TC managed to get a Section 8 voucher in Pennsylvania, but it expired in April and she was unable to get an extension. She is seeking assistance in getting her Pennsylvania voucher reinstated or else obtaining a voucher in another state. In addition, because TC’s son has her ex-husband’s last name, she is concerned that her ex-husband might be able to find him if she does move out of state. TC is also seeking a name change for her son if possible.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

UNDER REVIEW

CA17E-1001604

ESSEX COUNTY - CRIMINAL RECORD EXPUNGEMENT

Full representation to draft and file expungement petition. Spanish speaking client. 

CA is seeking expungement of one assault conviction from 2002 for which he successfully completed a five year probationary term, and a dismissal from 2018. Successful expungement would result in a clear record. Client speaks Spanish only.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

WJ18E-1000809

ESSEX COUNTY - CHILD SUPPORT

Representation at the child support and alimony modification hearing scheduled for August 31, 2018. 

WJ is a homeless veteran, who is seeking to modify his child support and alimony obligation due to a recent change of circumstances stemming from WJ becoming homeless and losing his higher paying job. The hearing on his motion to modify child support and alimony is scheduled for August 31, 2018.  

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

ME18E-1000867

ESSEX COUNTY - SPECIAL EDUCATION

Settlement conference – August 9th

Representation at settlement conference to obtain appropriate placement, IEEs, transition plan, 1:1 aide, and comp. ed.

GE is a 6-year-old who just finished Kindergarten. He has been diagnosed with ADHD and speech articulation deficits. Since preschool, he has had behavioral outbursts and incidents of aggression in school, but has not received sufficient positive behavior supports, an effective behavior plan, or consistent speech-language services. In November 2017, he transferred as a Kindergartener to a charter school, but was only permitted to attend school for five hours a day as a result of his behavior. He was placed on home instruction due to his behavior in January. Despite the fact that his IEP lists counseling and speech services, GE did not receive any while he was on home instruction. In late April, he returned to school, but only for two hours a day. GE’s mother, ME, does not know if her son will be retained. ME filed for due process in April and has a settlement conference scheduled for August 9th. She is seeking an appropriate placement for her son, independent evaluations, a transition plan, a one-to-one aide, and compensatory education.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

EN18E-1000869

ESSEX COUNTY - SPECIAL EDUCATION

Negotiation with district to obtain promotion to next grade, appropriate IEP or 504 plan, and possible comp. ed.

MK is a 15-year-old who just finished 9th grade. She has chronic migraines, but does not have an IEP or 504 plan, despite the fact that her mother, EN, requested a 504 plan in October 2017. As a result of the migraines, she missed a significant portion of the year. The district was disorganized and uncooperative in providing home instruction, resulting in MK missing weeks of instruction and ultimately receiving failing grades. The district let EN know that it plans to retain MK. EN is seeking her daughter’s promotion to the 10th grade with an appropriate IEP or 504 plan, and compensatory education if appropriate.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

GJ18E-1000811

ESSEX COUNTY - BANKRUPTCY

Representation in bankruptcy petition, through discharge

GJ is a 62 year old woman living on a fixed modest income of SSA and pension and wishes to get a fresh start by discharging her approximately $14,000 of debt, the majority of which stems from a previous car loan.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

UNDER REVIEW

AS 17E-1001104

ESSEX COUNTY - EXPUNGEMENT

Representation in expungement petition

AS is a disabled veteran who has been battling health issues. He was arrested in 2016 for terroristic threats, but charges seem to have been downgraded to harassment and dismissed. We have the client’s Criminal Case History report and the client has said he can provide the complaint and dismissal. A successful expungement petition should result in a clean criminal record for him. He is a grateful client and would benefit from the help of a volunteer attorney.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

UNDER REVIEW

MH18E-1000648

BERGEN COUNTY - DRIVER'S LICENSE

MH served in the Army in the 1960s. His mother died when he was 9 months and her cousin raised him. She registered him for school using her last name and that is the name he has been using since, which is different than the name on his birth certificate. In the 90s he got a DUI and his license was suspended. He completed the required classes. He went to the DMV to reinstate his license but he was denied because his birth certificate shows a name different than what is on his other documents. There is a letter from the MVC that references fraud/misuse of his driver’s license (presumably a misunderstanding resulting from his conflicting birth certificate). He has a hearing date with the MVC on July 27 (it’s possible that this hearing can be avoided or rescheduled but volunteer attorney would make contact with the MVC ASAP before this date). It would be worthwhile to review the 6-point ID requirements from the MVC and see if he has other documentation, such as a US passport, that he can use in lieu of the birth certificate. His first choice is to not go through the name change process unless there is no other choice. If that doesn’t work, the client would need assistance with filing a name change application with Superior Court and, ultimately, with restoring his driver’s license.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

UNDER REVIEW

TA18E-1000767

SOMERSET COUNTY - SPECIAL EDUCATION/BULLYING

Appeal of district’s HIB findings; negotiation with district to obtain reevaluation, IEP amendments, and comp. ed.

AC is a 13-year-old 7th-grader who has been diagnosed with ADHD, as well as Autism Spectrum Disorder and Tourette’s syndrome (though only the ADHD is documented in her IEP). AC has been bullied for years, particularly by one girl, and repeatedly called names like “ugly” and “retarded.” In January 2018, students on the bus pulled off the wig AC was wearing, video-recorded the incident, and posted the video on social media. In a separate incident, other students told AC to put lotion on her face, and when she did, laughed at her for having “ejaculated semen” on her face. AC’s mother, TC, reported both incidents, but neither was found to be HIB. TC requested a hearing before the BOE, and a date was scheduled in April. When TC arrived, she was unable to get into the building. The district claimed that she failed to appear and affirmed its findings. AC has also not had a reevaluation since 2012. In addition, her IEP does not include counseling or social skills instruction. TC is seeking a possible appeal of the district’s HIB findings, a thorough reevaluation of AC, compensatory educational services if warranted, and development of an IEP that addresses all of AC’s unique needs.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

UNDER REVIEW

AB18E-1000198

MERCER COUNTY – HUMAN TRAFFICKING 

Municipal Defense Litigation

AB is a survivor of human trafficking having battled and overcome severe physical, emotional and mental abuse, drug addiction, and homelessness. She faces an open prostitution charge in Trenton Municipal Court as a result of sex trafficking. It has been pending since August 2016, and since then, AB has worked hard to rebuild her life, secure stable housing, pursue her education, support her young daughter, and complete extensive therapy. She would like to advocate for dismissal and automatic expungement so that she can put her traumatic past behind her and continue making tremendous strides. 

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

UNDER REVIEW

AL18E-1000793

MORRIS COUNTY - MUNICIPAL

Limited to advocacy on behalf of client with Prosecutor's Office

In connection with an arrest in 2008 (theft by deception and related charges stemming from a Nigerian phone bank scheme that AL got involved with), some of AL’s property was confiscated and he has been fighting to get it back. A VLJ intern reached out to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and made contact with the assistant prosecutor in charge of evidence and of this case. AL would benefit from an attorney following up with the Prosecutor’s Office to advocate for the return of his belongings.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

BS18E-1000711

ESSEX COUNTY - CONSUMER

Negotiation and possible litigation

BS is 19 years old and has been largely independent since her mother suffered a stroke 3-4 years ago. Her mother has been unable to work and lives in a nursing home. BS applied to college and was accepted with a substantial financial aid award. The college later rescinded the award due to an inaccuracy in her FASFA regarding her mother. Once the college rescinded the award, BS could not continue to pay her tuition and she withdrew from the collge. The college is demanding unpaid tuition. Thus far, the college has refused to forgive the debt after several phone calls.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

AJ18E-1000769

BERGEN COUNTY - EMPLOYMENT LAW

Case review and merit assessment, brief consult with client regarding findings

AJ is a 55-year-old, father of 2, with severe cancer. Before becoming permanently disabled, AJ was employed as head of quality assurance at a major electronics company. In 2016, AJ was approached by a head hunting firm and was offered an opportunity after several rounds of interviews from August to December 2016. After receiving an offer letter, AJ resigned from his then-current position. Shortly thereafter, AJ’s offer was revoked with the new company and he concurrently fell very ill, becoming disabled. AJ and his family now live off a nominal budget, and in his current state of health, he wonders if he has any merit to pursue a legal claim with the employer.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

VL18E-1000573

ATLANTIC COUNTY - CONSUMER/CONTRACTOR

Negotiation/representation in lawsuit regarding contractor dispute

VL hired a contractor to demolish and rebuild her Sandy-damaged home. After the contractor demolished the home, he demanded additional payment, outside the scope of their agreement, in order to proceed with the rebuild. VL has paid the contractor $60k so far, but the contractor has failed to furnish invoices that total that amount. The contractor has not been to her house since the demolition in January 2016. Meanwhile, the contractor damaged VL’s neighbor’s oil tank while attempting to remove it, causing a spill. The DEP held VL liable for cleaning up the oil, which depleted her savings. She is seeking an attorney to help her recover funds from the contractor so she can finally move forward with rebuilding.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

ME18E-1000606

ESSEX COUNTY - DIVORCE

Client is Spanish-speaking. Case Management Conference to be scheduled for June.

ME is a Spanish-speaking victim of domestic violence. Her wife filed a divorce complaint, which ME answered and counterclaimed on May 22, 2018. The parties have no children together. ME is seeking legal representation in her divorce matter to address alimony and equitable distribution of property.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

ZB17E-1001672

ESSEX COUNTY - EMPLOYMENT MATTER

Seeking representation in lawsuit against employer

ZB is a 28-year-old single mother of two young children.  In September, she was sexually harassed at work.  She reported the incident, and her employer has promised her that they will transfer her to a different position in February.  Since the incident, however, ZB has been having severe anxiety and panic attacks, and has been self-medicating with alcohol.  In November, ZB’s employer put her in a mental health program to address anxiety and substance abuse.  She is currently receiving worker’s compensation but is unable to receive short-term disability benefits.  ZB is unsure if she will be compensated when she begins a new position in a few weeks.  An attorney who did a consultation with ZB determined that she had enough information to go to the EEOC with her complaint.  ZB is now seeking an attorney who could represent her in a lawsuit against her employer.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

RN18E-1000000

ESSEX COUNTY - DIVORCE

Representation in Divorce proceedings. Client speak limited English, but is fluent in Hindi.

RN is a 46-year-old mentally impaired Pakistani woman. She is seeking divorce from her abusive husband, who married her in order to obtain a U.S. citizenship. RN requires assistance with filing for divorce, serving her husband, who is a citizen of Pakistan, and representing her in all subsequent divorce proceedings.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org