Lawsuit Challenges Unconstitutional Law Limiting Abortion Services
Working in partnership with abortion service providers and civil liberties groups, a Jenner & Block team filed a lawsuit in Florida to block the implementation of a new state law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy and could put doctors in jail for providing essential care beyond that point.
The lawsuit argues that the law, which is set to take effect on July 1, 2022, would limit an individual’s right to access abortion services in violation of the Florida state constitution. It seeks an emergency injunction against the law taking effect.
The Jenner & Block team is led by Partner April Otterberg along with Partners Shoba Pillay and Tassity Johnson and includes Associates Reanne Zheng, Sara M. Crook, Meg Hlousek, Annie K. Schoenfeldt, Emily A. Merrifield, and Savannah E. Berger, and Paralegal Fallon McDowell. Associates Sara M. Stappert, Casey Jedele, and Karolina L. Bartosik provided additional assistance.
Read the ACLU press release here: Florida Health Centers Challenge 15-Week Abortion Ban in State Court | American Civil Liberties Union (aclu.org)
Jenner & Block Honored with ACLU Award for Pro Bono Work
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California recognized lawyers from Jenner & Block’s Los Angeles office today with its Homeless Rights Advocacy Award. The organization presented the honor at its annual luncheon in recognition of the firm’s work in obtaining a favorable settlement for pro bono clients in a class action lawsuit challenging a Southern California city’s discriminatory housing ordinances.
Serving as co-counsel with the ACLU, the firm represented the Victor Valley Family Resource Center (VVFRC), which provides transitional housing to individuals recently released from incarceration, and also represented individual tenants and landlords who acted as class representatives.
Beginning in 2016, the City of Hesperia, in California’s high desert, began issuing regular citations to VVFRC for violating a city ordinance—which hadn’t been enforced in years—barring two or more unrelated individuals on probation from living together. The City also began pressuring VVFRC’s landlords to evict the organization, relying on a new ordinance requiring landlords to evict upon notice any tenant engaged in unspecified criminal activity, regardless of whether an arrest was made or citation issued.
In response, the ACLU of Southern California filed a class action lawsuit in the Central District of California against the City and the San Bernardino County Sheriff, alleging that the two ordinances were unconstitutional in that they violated state and federal equal-protection and due-process rights. Jenner & Block joined the case as co-counsel shortly after.
In the spring of 2017, Hesperia’s city council repealed one of the ordinances. Later that year, the city council adopted significant revisions to the other ordinance, many of which were drafted by Associate Christopher S. Lindsay and our ACLU co-counsel.
As part of a settlement agreement finalized in April 2018, Hesperia also agreed to pay a substantial award to make VVFRC and our other clients whole for the costs they incurred due to the city’s enforcement of the two ordinances, rescind any outstanding fines or citations, and release liens imposed against their properties. It also agreed to pay attorneys’ fees.
In addition to Mr. Lindsay, Associate Andrew G. Sullivan helped lead the firm team, with support from Partner A.J. Thomas and former associate Kate Spelman. Many other associates made valuable contributions, including Brian Adesman, Ben J. Brysacz, Sean D. Nelson and Daixi Xu; summer associate Anna Lyons; and former associate Calvin Mohammadi. Paralegals Alonso Ponce, Diana Vuong and Julian Valenzuela, and legal assistants Jennifer Rodriguez, Laura Saltzman and Kat White, supported the team.