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Former Clinic Student Helps Win Case for Client with HIV

October 07, 2010

Kailee Farrell, a member of the Class of 2010, played a key role in winning damages and penalties for a woman who was evicted from an assisted living facility in Northampton County, Pennsylvania after disclosing that she has HIV.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission on Sept. 28 awarded the client more than $63,000 in damages, based on a lawsuit filed by the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, where Farrell worked as a Civil Practice Field Clinic intern in 2009-2010.

The award significantly exceeded the amount the PHRC typically grants, which averaged $10,000 to $15,000 in the last five years.

Farrell contributed significantly to the successful outcome, Civil Practice Field Clinic Professor and AIDS Law Project Deputy Managing Attorney Cathryn Miller-Wilson said, noting that the student conducted critical research, prepared for depositions and assembled evidentiary materials, performing with the skill of a second or third-year associate.

AIDS Law Project Executive Director Ronda Goldfein and Sarah Schalman-Bergman, of counsel to the AIDS Law Project and an associate at Berger & Montague, PC, were lead counsel on the case. Goldfein, Miller-Wilson and Schalman-Bergen characterized Farrell as an indispensable member of the team.

“We relied upon Kailee to conduct detailed interviews with witnesses, draft documents and research complicated statutory and regulatory issues,” Schalman-Bergen said. “Kailee's invaluable insight was based on her understanding of this case, as well as the issues that we routinely deal with at the AIDS Law Project.”

The victory affirms the value of integrating hands-on experience into the law school curriculum, said Associate Dean for Experiential Learning Susan Brooks.

Dean Roger Dennis said the case also demonstrates the power of the law school’s partnerships with premiere public interest organizations like the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania.

“It allows our students to work on litigation that really meaningfully changes lives,” Dennis said.

Farrell, who graduated in May, is currently a clerk for New Jersey Superior Court Judge Evan H.C. Crook.