David W. Webber receives 2016 Alexander Forger Award
Congratulations to our founding executive director David W. Webber, who was honored with the 2016 Alexander Forger award for “sustained excellence in HIV legal services” from the American Bar Association’s AIDS Coordinating Committee. The award was presented at the Committee’s HIV/AIDS Law & Practice Conference on February 4, 2016 in San Diego, CA. Joining David in the celebration are our managing attorney Yolanda French Lollis, of counsel Sarah Schalman-Bergan, and executive director Ronda Goldfein.
Jenna Collins wins Morris M. Shuster Fellowship
On December 10, 2015, Jenna Collins was awarded a Morris M. Shuster Fellowship at the Philadelphia Bar Association Public Interest Section Annual Awards Ceremony and Reception. She was one of four awardees. In 2003, Morris M. Shuster worked with the Philadelphia Bar Foundation to establish a Named Endowed Fund with a gift of $100,000. Since then, the Shuster Fellowship has provided awards each year to deserving public interest attorneys to help them retire their law school debt.
Baez named Deputy Managing Attorney
Congratulations to Juan Baez, who was named deputy managing attorney of the AIDS Law Project on January 1.
Juan first worked with us in 2009-2010 while a student at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University. After graduating, he joined us as a staff attorney, specializing in consumer debt, tax, estate planning, social security disability and student loan cases.
He is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. In 2014, he graduated from Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law with a Masters in Law in Trial Advocacy.
Juan’s dedication, determination and enthusiasm have been great assets to the AIDS Law Project and we look forward to the additional contributions he will make as deputy managing attorney.
Honors at Black-Tie GayBINGO
Ronda B. Goldfein, executive director of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, was honored by the Philadelphia AIDS Fund as Favorite Straight Person of the Year at Black-Tie GayBINGO on Saturday, April 5.
Jaci DuBoise Adams would have loved the way her memorial service began.
At the first mention of her name, the crowd rose in a spontaneous, joyful and prolonged standing ovation.
More than 300 people filled the sanctuary of St. Luke and the Epiphany in Philadelphia on Friday, March 21 to say farewell to Jaci, a transgender and HIV activist who died at age 56 on February 15 after a struggle with cancer. They listened as she was described as mother, sister, friend, mentor, and protector. And yes, often loud and in your face. Continue reading here.
Jaci Adams, who overcame childhood abuse and drug addiction to become an inspiring leader in Philadelphia’s LGBT community, died on Saturday, February 15, at Keystone House, a hospice in Wyndmoor, PA, after a struggle with cancer. Continue reading here.
AIDS Law Project volunteer awarded fellowship
We congratulate Mr. Adrian Lowe on his award of a Conwell Community Corps fellowship in December 2012. The fellowship program, run by Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, funds paid, full-time, temporary positions for lawyers at Philadelphia-area public interest law firms. Adrian graduated Temple Law in 2012 and passed the bar in Pennsylvania. He will continue to assist on discrimination & HIV criminalization cases, and on policy work through April.
AIDS Law Project contributes to ABA Benchbook
Hot off the presses, the American Bar Association (ABA) has published a book for judges with contributions by AIDS Law Project staff and interns. The “HIV & AIDS Benchbook, 2nd Edition” is a guide for judges hearing cases in the specialized area of HIV law.
For a closer look or to purchase a copy, go to the ABA’s Web Store, available via http://bit.ly/UyGo36.
Update: Former AIDS Law Project intern Kate Reilly is now in Swaziland, Africa, where she is serving as an HIV/AIDS Educator for the Peace Corps until August 2014. She will write occasionally at her blog, Crossroads, available at http://kateinswaziland.blogspot.com.
Congratulations to our 2011-12 Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law interns who graduated on May 17, 2012: Francesca Fiamingo, Alexander Holmquist, Matt Mossman and Irena Shiloh. Matt in particular was singled out in Dean Roger Dennis’ commencement remarks for work here assisting attorneys who won a $22,000 employment-discrimination settlement for an HIV-positive nursing assistant. We wish them all best wishes as they begin studying for bar examinations.
Congratulations to Juan Baez and Kate Reilly for passing the New York Bar in May 2012! Juan is our current Drexel University Public Service Fellow and Kate was a summer associate in 2010 who graduated from Rutgers Law-Camden.
Best wishes to them both!
PA Appellate Court Rules in Favor of AIDS Law Project Client
A Pennsylvania appellate court has ruled in favor of our client, a woman wrongfully kicked out of a personal care home because she has HIV. Last year, the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania scored a huge victory for the client: After a two-day public hearing, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) issued a decision awarding our client $50,000 plus interest, and ordered the personal care home to implement a non-discrimination policy. The personal care home remained adamant they had done nothing wrong and appealed the decision.
Now, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has issued an opinion affirming the PHRC’s decision in all respects. In a forceful, published opinion, the Commonwealth Court also awarded delay damages and attorneys fees assessed against both the defendant and their counsel. Specifically, the Court held that the appeal had no basis in fact or law and was taken only to delay payment to our client. Sarah Schalman-Bergen, of counsel to the AIDS Law Project and associate at Berger & Montague, P.C., was co-counsel on this case.
For more, see stories on the ruling in The Morning Call newspaper here: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-northampton-hiv-canal-side-appeal-20111024,0,1020972.story
And in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly here: https://www.aidslawpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/ Legal-Inteliigencer-article.pdf
The opinion can be read here: http://www.courts.state.pa.us/OpPosting/Cwealth/out/2459CD10_10-20-11.pdf
AIDS LAW PROJECT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND A FORMER BOARD PRESIDENT ARE NAMED TO NATIONAL “TOP 100” LIST OF HIV/AIDS ADVOCATES
AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania Executive Director Ronda B. Goldfein, Esq., and former AIDS Law Project board president David Acosta were both named to the 2010 list of the POZ 100, recognizing the top HIV/AIDS activists in the country. POZ is a magazine and website for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. The POZ 100 noted that Goldfein “battles for HIV-positive people by fighting against stigma, discrimination and ignorance.” Acosta, prevention coordinator in the City of Philadelphia’s Health Department and a writer/activist for health care reform, “uses art and conversation to address cultural social change and undo the ties – and tongues – that bind,” the listing said. Acosta served on our board in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The AIDS Law Project congratulates Goldfein and Acosta, and joins POZ in celebrating their achievements in their respective fields. The POZ 100 and an accompanying story are available on the Web at: http://www.poz.com/articles/POZ_100_HIV_2546_19399.shtml.
AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania Wins Case for Client Who Was Wrongfully Thrown Out of Personal Care Home Because She Has HIV.
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission orders more than $63,000 in compensatory damages and civil penalties to woman illegally denied a place to live because she has HIV.
Financial Services Company Ordered to Pay Retirement Money to Longtime Partner Instead of Ex-Wife
The AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania announces a victory in a case involving TIAA-CREF, a financial services company, which had awarded a deceased gay man’s retirement benefits to his ex-wife rather than his longtime partner who was named as his beneficiary. On May 27, 2010, in connection with that victory, the parties agreed to settle the surviving partner’s claims against TIAA-CREF in consideration for payment of an undisclosed amount in attorneys’ fees. This January, U.S. District Judge Stewart R. Dalzell ruled in favor of Mr. Thomas Bernardo, Dr. John L. Turner’s life partner of more than 27 years. Dr. Turner, who died in March 2008, was one of the first physicians—to come forward to treat HIV in the earliest years of the epidemic. Judge Dalzell decided that Mr. Bernardo was the lawful beneficiary of all Dr. Turner’s annuity contracts, and that was therefore entitled to the full amount of money in dispute. For more information, read our press release or Judge Dalzell’s opinion.