Overview of Public Justice
and the Public Justice Foundation
Nearly 25 years ago, 200 of the nation’s outstanding trial lawyers decided to create a new type of organization: a national public interest trial lawyers’ firm. They envisioned a unique, membership-supported law firm that would fight for justice through precedent-setting litigation, exposing the truth and making the wrongdoers pay.
Today, as Public Justice, we
are America's public interest law firm. Supported by over
3,500 trial lawyers, other attorneys, and public interest advocates throughout the world, our cutting-edge litigation has made new law and won justice for thousands by:
- advancing consumers’ rights;
- preserving the environment;
- upholding civil rights and liberties;
- preventing toxic injuries;
- defending workers’ rights; and
- safeguarding the civil justice system.
Our special projects
preserve access to justice by fighting
federal preemption, unnecessary court secrecy, class action bans and
abuses, the misuse of mandatory arbitration, and other efforts to
deprive Americans of their day in court. We keep the courthouse
doors open for all.
Key victories and cases in the categories listed above are highlighted below.
We invite you to sign up for free
E-lerts to receive occasional updates on our important cases.
Advancing Consumers’ Rights
Public Justice is holding unscrupulous
businesses and manufacturers of unsafe products accountable
HMOs: In Riemer v. Columbia Medical Plan, we proved that
HMOs in Maryland were illegally double-billing their members. When
Maryland subsequently passed a law retroactively authorizing this
practice, we won a groundbreaking ruling in Harvey v. Kaiser
Foundation Health Plan that struck down the law as
Auto and Boat Safety: Our Airbag Litigation Project prompted the
auto companies to install airbags faster. Our Federal Preemption
Project preserved the rights of millions to sue for injuries caused
by unsafe cars, trucks, and boats.
Credit Card Companies: In Wells v. Chevy Chase Bank, we
are fighting to hold a credit card company accountable for gouging
its customers and breaking its promise to "never" charge
more than 24% interest.
Defective Products: In Cox v. Shell Oil Company, we
created a new model for consumer class action settlements and won
unprecedented relief for millions of homeowners victimized by
defective, leaking plastic plumbing.
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Protecting the Environment
Public Justice is making polluters across the
country clean up their act.
Clean Water: Our Environmental Enforcement Project has already
won the largest Clean Water Act citizen suit settlements in
Arkansas, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, and Tennessee. Now we’re
prosecuting polluters in several other states.
Clean Air: We won the largest Clean Air Act settlement in New
Jersey and the first Clean Air Act citizen suit settlement in Texas.
We also stopped an asbestos removal experiment that would have
exposed poor minorities in one U.S. city to extraordinary dangers.
Now we’re suing the nation’s largest electric utility for
spewing tons of sulfuric acid into the air daily.
Exxon Valdez: Our suit against Exxon and Alaska Pipeline Co.
helped document the full effects of the disastrous Prince William
Sound oil spill and prompted a major increase in the government’s
recovery for environmental damage.
Mountaintop Removal Mining: Our landmark lawsuits changed
the federal government’s and West Virginia’s entire regulatory
approach to mountaintop removal mining. Now, we’re leading the
fight to stop coal companies from blowing up mountains and dumping
the waste in the valleys and streams below.
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Upholding Civil Rights and Liberties
Public Justice is fighting for the Constitution
and our civil rights every day.
Due Process: In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Rasul v. Bush,
we helped persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to hold that the war on
terrorism does not give the President unlimited, unreviewable power
to imprison American citizens and foreign nationals indefinitely
without any hearing or court review.
Sex Discrimination: Our landmark Title IX litigation successfully
battled sex discrimination at Brown University and over ten other
schools, preserved women’s opportunities to participate in
intercollegiate athletics, and made new law to advance women’s
rights. In a key employment discrimination suit, we won equal pay
and promotional opportunities for women at Lawrence Livermore
Race Discrimination: In Maxey v. Alcoa, we helped win a
ground-breaking settlement for African-American and Hispanic hourly
employees shut out of skilled trade apprentice opportunities because
of discrimination resulting from the company’s misuse of
Disability Rights: The unprecedented settlement we and Disability
Rights Advocates won in ASK v. Oregon Department of Education
created a national model for schools to use to properly accommodate
children’s learning disabilities. Now, we’re fighting disability
discrimination by a private contractor providing housing for U.S.
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Preventing Toxic Injuries
Public Justice is winning justice for victims
of dangerous chemicals and other toxic harms.
Contaminated Drinking Water: In one of our first cases, Anderson
v. W.R. Grace, we developed new techniques for proving toxic
torts and helped win compensation for eight families with children
who died from leukemia caused by toxic waste dumped in Woburn,
Lead Paint: We filed the first lawsuits in the country against
the lead industry for lead paint poisoning and lead paint abatement,
and continue to work to hold the industry accountable today.
Unsafe Pesticides: Our Chlordane/Heptachlor Litigation project
helped victims of these two deadly pesticides win compensation –
and prompted the manufacturer to remove them from the market.
Toxic Tort Victims’ Rights: In four separate U.S. Supreme Court
cases, we helped preserve the rights of asbestos victims and of
Vietnam veterans fatally exposed to Agent Orange.
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Defending Workers’ Rights
Public Justice is battling for the right to a
safe workplace and just working conditions.
Migrant Farmworkers: In Buenrostro v. Washington State Apple
Advertising Commission, we won an unprecedented class action
victory for over 800 migrant farmworkers lured to the state with
false promises of jobs and free immigration assistance.
Nuclear Power Plants: In Atchison v. Brown & Root, we
achieved a milestone settlement for seven whistleblowers who were
fired for reporting dangerous safety violations at Texas’ Comanche
Peak nuclear power plant.
Electromagnetic Radiation: In Strom v. Boeing, we won
extensive damages for a leukemia victim and medical monitoring for
700 of his co-workers who were unwittingly exposed to
electromagnetic pulse radiation as part of a secret experiment run
by the aerospace company.
Worker Safety: We won a key settlement in Guzman v. Amvac
Chemical Corp., our precedent-setting suit against a pesticide
manufacturer for poisoning workers with a product that should never
have been marketed.
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Access to Justice
Our Access to Justice Campaign
is keeping the courthouse doors open for all.
Federal Preemption Project: Since our inception, we have
been fighting dangerous product manufacturers’ and other corporate
wrongdoers’ efforts to expand the federal preemption defense and
eliminate their victims’ right to sue. We’ve won throughout the
legal system – and in the Supreme Court.
Court Secrecy: Our nationwide project against unnecessary
court secrecy, Project ACCESS, unseals evidence of dangers to the
public health and safety, helps injury victims and others oppose
overbroad protective orders, and educates the public about the
dangers of litigation in secret.
Class Action Preservation: We won the nation’s biggest
victory against corporate efforts to use consumer and employment
contracts to bar customers and workers from participating in class
actions against them. Our Class Action Preservation Project
ensures the integrity of class actions by challenging class action
bans and other schemes used by corporate
wrongdoers to cap their liability and limit their victims’ rights.
Mandatory Arbitration: In Ting v. AT&T, we stopped
the phone giant from using a mandatory arbitration provision to
eliminate its California long distance customers’ rights to sue in
court, participate in class actions, and seek punitive damages. Our
Mandatory Arbitration Abuse Prevention Project is the national
leader in the battle against corporate efforts to use mandatory
arbitration to eliminate access to the courts.
Public Justice Foundation – Please Join Us!
What makes our public interest work possible is the active and generous support of
the Public Justice
Foundation’s members. While Public
Justice litigates in the courts, The
Foundation – a nonprofit educational membership organization – supports
Public Justice’s cases and educates the public about the important issues at stake.
We hope you will join us.
Membership contributions to the
Foundation are fully tax deductible and are a tremendous investment in justice. A
membership application form is located on our web site,
www.publicjustice.net. You may print that out and mail to us at the
1825 K Street, NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20006, or fax it to us at 202-232-7203. Or you may give us a call at 202-797-8600.
Join us today. Become a trial lawyer for public justice.
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