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Recent Cases and Other Projects
NJP’s Bellingham office helped an elderly couple threatened with home foreclosure when they were unable to keep up with the payments. The couple had been stripped of their equity as a result of refinancing transactions in which they ultimately were saddled with a very high interest loan, which they could not afford on their limited income. NJP helped them complete an application to modify their mortgage under the federal home loan modification program which provides relief to homeowners in financial distress under certain circumstances. The bank initially refused to accept their application, then claimed the clients had too much equity in the home. After NJP demonstrated that the equity value used was inaccurate, the bank tried to refuse a permanent modification and engaged in a series of delaying tactics. But NJP persisted and ultimately contacted the US Treasury Department’s oversight office, which finally persuaded the bank to give the clients a permanent modification. The clients now have an affordable payment enabling them to remain in their home.
NJP’s Spokane office helped a disabled man who was at risk of serious health complications after the being denied Medicaid coverage for oral surgical implants, which prevented him from being able to eat solid foods. The man’s lower jaw had been removed as a result of cancer treatment. NJP worked the man’s health care providers to demonstrate the critical need for the implants. The state Medicaid agency then granted and exception to its usual coverage rules and approved the coverage. The client is now able to meet his nutritional needs.
NJP’s Pasco office represented a mentally ill homeless man whose SSI funds were unlawfully garnished from his bank account. After NJP filed a claim confirming the SSI funds are exempt from garnishment, the bank released the garnishment and restored the funds. But the collection agency that garnished the funds never filed the release order with the court. Instead without notice to NJP or the client, a new garnishment issued and the bank again threatened to withhold the clients SSI funds. NJP immediately got the order vacated and then co-counseled with a local private attorney to sue the collection agency and its counsel to prevent the abusive collection practices. The collection agency immediately settled by paying the client damages and attorney fees and waiving the unpaid judgment, enabling the client to move into safe permanent housing.
NJP’s Spokane office helped a father get a domestic violence protection order (DVPO) to protect his eleven year-old son from emotional and physical abuse by his step-father. After the step-father admitted to the abuse, the court prohibited him from having contact with the child and placed the child and his younger sister with the father. The father and mother then agreed to a permanent parenting plan that protects the children and prohibits further contact with the step-father.
NJP’s CLEAR helped a domestic violence victim when her former partner made suicide attempts and direct threats to kill her. After he was involuntarily committed, she sought a Domestic Violence Protection Order on her own. Amazingly, the court denied the protection order. With NJP’s help she was able to get a restraining order and parenting plan providing long-term protection for herself and her children.
NJP’s Everett and Spokane offices joined forces to help a domestic violence victim get her ten year old child back after he was kidnapped by his abusive father. Despite not having had contact with the child several years and having a highly restrictive parenting plan in place, the father kidnapped the child, fled to across the state and prevented the child from contacting the mother for over year. NJP attorneys collaborated across the state to obtain a writ of habeas corpus directing the Sheriff to retrieve the child from the father and bring them to court. After a hearing, the court ordered the immediate return of the child to his mother. Minutes later the mother and child were reunited and able to return home.
NJP helped over 30 low-income tenants who were displaced from housing at a Spokane apartment complex. In September 2011, the 25 unit apartment complex was condemned by the Fire Marshall for failing to meet several minimum housing code requirements, despite numerous notices to the landlord. Close to 45 people were immediately displaced and homeless. The tenants were given 15 minutes to pack what they could carry and leave. The building remained unsecured and many of the tenants’ possessions were lost or stolen. On behalf of 30 tenants from 21 of the condemned units, NJP quickly filed an action for a temporary restraining order requiring the landlord to secure the tenant’s possessions and damages for the costs of relocation. After being served the complaint, the landlord quickly entered into negotiations and agreed to secure the possessions as well as pay relocation assistance to every unit represented by NJP. As a result of NJP’s quick action, the tenants received funds to move and avoid continued homelessness.
NJP’s Wenatchee office helped and eight-year old child who has a neurodevelopment disorder that prevents her from speaking or using her hands to communicate. She was prescribed an eye-tracking device that measures a series of blinks and gazes in order to communicate her wants, feelings, and medical needs. Her mother advocated for Medicaid coverage for the much-needed device. After a year-long effort the state Medicaid agency finally approved payment for the equipment. While final arrangements between the medical equipment vendor and the state were underway, the vendor’s customer service representatives reported that the contents of the child’s file had been lost—they had no record of the prescription or approval of the device. NJP advocated with the agency and the health care providers and other professionals to recreate the file and carry-out the final steps of securing the device.
NJP’s Tacoma office has represented several persons in disputes to gain or protect access to the Pierce County para-transit SHUTTLE service, the alternative transportation provided to persons with disabilities, which prevent them from using the regular fixed route bus system. Following several years of in regard to these services, the agency has now sought to resolve cases prior presented by NJP and is working to improve their systems and procedures.
NJP’s Seattle office represented a working single mother of two young children, who suffered a near heart attack and received emergency treatment at a local hospital. But due to lack of health care insurance, soon she was facing a collection agency lawsuit to collect over $4,500 for hospital care. She was desperate and terribly stressed because there was no way she could afford to pay the bill and she was terrified she could go to jail. NJP helped her to answer the lawsuit raising and claimed the hospital should have provided her with “Charity Care” benefit that would waive the cost of her care. NJP then advocated with the hospital, which found her eligible for the benefit and granted her 100% Charity Care assistance. The lawsuit was then dismissed. The client was greatly relieved and could enjoy peace of mind and greater financial security for her family.