Protecting children from lead exposure

Most Philadelphia homes were built before the use of lead-based paint was restricted; as a result, thousands of Philly children suffer from elevated lead levels.   In a discussion on WHYY’s “Radio Times”, Prof. Nan Feyler, a Sheller Center Affiliated Faculty Member, called for more aggressive enforcement of codes requiring remediation of lead-paint problems.  She and several students are exploring code-enforcement problems this semester.

Victory for clients seeking disability benefits

Colleague Spencer Rand from the Temple Legal Aid Office discusses his students’ work on behalf of clients whose applications for disability benefits were denied by the Social Security Administration.  It took an appeal to federal court and a second round of hearings, but in the end, the clients won — with the result that they “can now live successfully and independently in the community.”

Students looking into “Live Stop”

Students in the Center’s Social Justice Lawyering Clinic are studying the Philadelphia Police Department’s “Live Stop” program, which authorizes police to tow a vehicle if, during a traffic stop, the driver cannot produce a current license or registration.  An Inquirer article (“Philly cops leave undocumented woman, kids in street, take car”) illustrates some of the problems that can result.  Working with New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, the Center is examining the impact of the law and comparing Philadelphia’s approach with that of other cities.

“Philadelphia Lawyer” profiles Sheller Center

The Sheller Center is the cover story in the most recent edition of Philadelphia Lawyer, a publication of the Philadelphia Bar Association.  Larry Felzer, Temple Law alum and director of development and finance at the SeniorLAW Center, did a terrific job of profiling the Center’s work.

Tax clinic at the Sheller Center

As February approaches, plans are again underway for the Center’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) clinic.  Managed by Ceiba, a community organization, the clinic runs from February to mid-April, and is staffed in part by Temple Law student volunteers trained by Professor Alice Abreu (a member of the Center’s Affiliated Faculty).

Last year, the clinic prepared 187 returns, resulting in approximately $219,535 in state and federal refunds to local families.

The clinic also offers a terrific experience for law students.  Rachel Sellers, a second-year student, said this:  “VITA is an incredible opportunity to experience the tensions between tax policy and the consequences to real taxpayers. I genuinely looked forward to my Mondays at VITA as I met inspiring people and helped them to navigate the tax process. It is absolutely an eye-opening and worthwhile experience and I encourage everyone to volunteer!”

For more information, contact the Center or call Ceiba at 215.634.7245.

Grandparents win in Temple Legal Aid Office case

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently handed a victory to our partners at the Temple Legal Aid Office – Family Law Litigation Clinic, which collaborated with noted family law practitioner Stephanie Gonzalez Ferrandez in a case on behalf of grandparents seeking custody of their grandchildren. The brief on appeal, drafted by Stephen Boraske, Temple Law ’15, argued that grandparents always have standing to petition for custody of their grandchildren who have been adjudicated dependent. The Superior Court agreed in a precedential opinion.

Panel sides with wage-theft victim

Bradley @ Arbitration CtrBradley Napier (pictured) and Emily Bock (both Sheller Center Advanced Intensive Clinical students) successfully represented a client in a wage claim at the First Judicial District Arbitration Center. They got an award of about $2600 for unpaid wages for the client. The client was a construction worker who worked on a house and was paid only a portion of his wages.

Research by Temple students raises questions about family-detention facility

Democracy Now! reports that the state of Pennsylvania has taken what could be the first step to close a controversial family detention center that has housed thousands of families seeking asylum in the United States. The reporter interviewed the Sheller Center’s Prof. Jennifer Lee, whose students researched whether the Berks County Residential Center was legally authorized to detain immigrant families — and found that the answer is no.