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2009 November - December

Foreclosure Mediations--Can They Make a Difference?

By Geoff Walsh

With the foreclosure crisis showing few signs of abating, loan modification would seem to offer benefits both to homeowners, by helping them stay in their homes, and to mortgage holders, by minimizing the losses they incur. Moreover, federal guidelines under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) require loan servicers to modify the loans of homeowners who qualify under an objective test. However, servicers continue to resist workable loan modifications. Some state and local governments are turning to mandatory mediation to compel servicers’ compliance with HAMP requirements. Copies of this article are

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The Supreme Court's 2008-2009 Decisions on Court Access

The March to the Right Continues

By Gary F. Smith, Matthew Diller, Jane Perkins & Gill Deford

The Roberts Court continued on its conservative course, restricting plaintiffs’ access to federal court in several cases, involving pleading requirements, deference, standards for preliminary injunctions, stare decisis, and postjudgment relief. In Ashcroft v. Iqbal the Court again restricted Rule 8 notice pleading. Winter v. National Resources Defense Council, a case pitting environmentalists against the Navy, changed the standard that some appellate courts use to grant a preliminary injunction. Horne v. Flores made it easier to overturn remedial injunctions in “institutional reform” cases. In another case the Court found it easy to reject stare decisis when most justices disagreed with the precedent. However, the Court found that Title IX did not preclude a Section 1983 action and where politics, money, the judiciary, and corporate litigation mixed, recusal was required.

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News and Notes

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Universal Voluntary Retirement Accounts

A Financially Secure Retirement

By Karen K. Harris & Michael Lezaja

Universal Voluntary Retirement Accounts (UVRAs) have been proposed as a way to provide retirement security for workers who would otherwise have no retirement security whatsoever. UVRAs are government-sponsored, defined contribution plans in which employees contribute to their own retirement through the workplace with or without employer contribution. Advocates must be ready to discuss the pros and cons of UVRAs, engage the skeptical, and form alliances in pushing for and implementing UVRA legislation.The Shriver Center hosted a webinar on UVRAs on December 14, 2009. To download a recording of the webinar, along with other relevant resources, please visit the webinar archive.

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Look Both Ways Before You Cross State Lines

Using the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act to Assist Domestic-Violence Survivors

By Deborah Goelman & Darren Mitchell

A court’s proper assertion of jurisdiction in child custody cases is critical to ensuring the safety of domestic-violence victims. When fleeing abuse, particularly across state lines, victims do not know when and how a court in the old and new forums can protect them. Using the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, attorneys can guide victims through the jurisdictional maze to secure maximum protection for victims and their children. Copies of this article are

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Approaching Ethical Issues Involving Unrepresented Litigants

By Russell Engler

Traditional “ethics” training often has limited relevance for the real-world ethics challenges to legal aid lawyers, among the challenges being cases where the adverse party is unrepresented and the array of issues when an attorney provides less than full representation. Court personnel also must consider how to interact with unrepresented litigants. A new framework geared to legal aid practice can help advocates resolve ethical issues better. Copies of this article are

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Case Note: Seventh Circuit Decision Jeopardizes Federally Assisted Housing Preservation Programs

Seventh Circuit Decision Jeopardizes Federally Assisted Housing Preservation Programs

By Katherine E. Walz Download this article   |   Read more ➢

Case Note: Denied Water Service Because of Race, African Americans Win $10.85 Million Jury Verdict

By Reed Colfax Download this article   |   Read more ➢

The Olmstead Decision at Ten

By Ira Burnim & Jennifer Mathis

June 2009 marked the tenth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C. Yet millions of people with disabilities remain institutionalized even though, with new service approaches, people with even the most challenging needs can now be served in integrated community settings. Future Olmstead implementation efforts should incorporate several fundamental principles to give people with disabilities a real chance to live, as much as possible, “like everyone else”—the fundamental goal of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Copies of this article

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About This Issue

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