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Legal Aid Headlines

Pesticide Poisoning, Homeless Encampment Musical Chairs, and Buying a Divorce at Walmart: October’s news has it all.

By Kristin Parker

Over the past few weeks, civil legal aid has been featured in the news nationally and locally. Below are a few of our favorite headlines, and if you’re interested in more stories about legal aid and our grantees, check out the In the News page of our website.

Columbia Legal Services files pesticide exposure lawsuit on behalf of Yakima farmworkers, Columbialegal.org, 10/5/16
Columbia Legal Services filed a lawsuit in Yakima Superior Court against Jones Produce and Ag Air Flying Service on behalf of seven orchard workers. The workers alleged they suffered injuries after exposure of pesticides from a crop-dusting application of several restricted-use pesticides.

Clark County settles homeless case for $250,000, The Columbian, 9/28/16
LFW grantee, Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program (CCVLP) won a victory for homeless people whose belongings were seized in homeless camp clean-ups with little or no warning. Volunteer attorney, Peter Fels, learned of the illegal seizures at CCVLP’s weekly advice clinic at a homeless shelter and sued the county. As a result of the lawsuit the county will change its policy to afford 48 hours notice before clean-ups.

Murray: No More sweeps at Homeless Camps that don’t cause problems, The Seattle Weekly, 10/14/16
Mayor Murry announced the City will no longer evict homeless camps that “aren’t causing problems”, and will also open four City-supervised new authorized encampments. This latest proposal to address Seattle’s growing homeless population was spurred by a draft bill proposed by LFW grantee, Columbia Legal Services and other advocates who aimed to curtail disruptive sweeps of homeless encampments. According to statement by DOJ, municipalities’ prohibitions of public camping are unconstitutional when homeless shelter is inadequate. The Mayor’s proposal came as two competing bills were under discussion at the City Council’s Human Services and Public Health Committee.

Now get a divorce, other legal services at Walmart, KY3.com 10/15/16
In an attempt to decrease cost and increase efficiency in the provision of legal services, three Walmarts in Missouri now house The Law Store, a pilot project which could expand nation-wide. Available online and in the brick and mortar store, customers can review a menu of legal services and prices for basic services ranging from traffic tickets to divorce, from real estate contracting to estate planning.

Other:
Our state’s one of the few where illegal immigration is up, The Seattle Times, 10/12/16
How to increase pro bono participation without the guilt, Abovethelaw.com, 10/5/16
CWU to host immigration law panel, YakimaHerald.com 10/10/16