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Housing Clinic Highlights

Monday, September 15, 2008  
Posted by: The Advocate
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Student attorneys in the Housing and Consumer Law Clinic actively engage in litigation on behalf of low-income tenants, with the goal of maintaining and improving affordable rental housing in the District.

The Spring 2008 Housing Clinic students experienced the highest participation in administrative trials and settlements of perhaps any housing clinic crew. Julie Akemann, Keri Nash, Erik Pinsonnault, and Darren Schultz (all 2Ls at the time), along with Maria Mier (then-3L), litigated four rental housing cases in evidentiary hearings, spanning three or more days each, before the Office of Administrative Hearings. All four cases alleged poor housing conditions that entitle the tenant, our client, to receive rent refunds. Molly Hoffman, meanwhile, successfully negotiated settlement in two such cases, obtaining the highest settlement – $11,000 – that the Clinic has ever received for an administrative case.

Ms. Mier, Ms. Nash, and Mr. Pinsonnault kick-started the Clinic's representation of a group of 23+ tenants whose landlord has stopped paying for electricity, though the utility has always been included in rent.

Mr. Schultz continued work in the Clinic throughout the summer and early fall, by completing two evidentiary hearings that began in the spring, filing a motion for summary judgment, arguing in a contempt hearing, and playing the primary role in negotiating a $9,500 settlement.

The list of achievements of this group goes on. Over the summer, a decision was issued giving the Clinic its highest award in an administrative case, $23,000, for a tenant with poor housing conditions.

The Housing Clinic also welcomed an addition in February: Alysia Robben, '07, who joined Prof. Ed Allen as a second supervisor to the clinic. Ms. Robben first expanded the clinic caseload and then the number of students in the clinic to eight students in Fall 2008.

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