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The Reason for Giving February 2016

The Reason for Giving February 2016

Thank you for providing HELP and HOPE throughout Alabama!

Your generous donations have made a huge difference for poor families across Alabama. LSA's mission extends beyond words on paper; it is tangible and serves as a beacon of light for those in need who have nowhere else to turn.

LSA is still fighting for working families but we need your help to continue!

June, 2015 - A bill that passed in the legislature that would deprive working families of a right protected under Alabama's constitution for over 100 years. This right protected up to $1000 of their wages from garnishment, but the new law denies this protection to the working poor. These poor working families will need LSA now more than ever to help protect income essential for basic necessities like housing, food and utilities and to protect money used to continue as productive citizens including car payments, car insurance and gas to get to and from work. Alabama must protect working families to improve our economy. Garnishing wages of those who need every penny to survive, harms working families and local communities.

July, 2015- The fight began to protect the poor!
The Alabama constitution of 1868, 1875 and 1901 offered the working poor a reprieve from this suffering. It gave them the right to protect $1000 of personal property, which covered wages. When collection lawyers challenged exemptions filed by clients, LSA explained to courts why the new law is unconstitutional, and how even if it were not it could not apply to old debts. Most courts across the State denied contests based on the new law.

October, 2015 - Collection lawyers tried something else. In a case involving a pro-se debtor who made more money than LSA's clients, the collection lawyers filed an appeal to the Court of Civil Appeals. The court said, in October 2015, that debtors could not protect their future wages from garnishment. Collection lawyers then began using the new case to try to stop LSA from protecting clients' wages from garnishments. LSA answered their arguments by stating that our clients do not accumulate their wages. Most of our clients' current expenses are more than they earn, so they should be allowed to exempt their future wages.

December 8, 2015 - a court for the first time, issued a decision expressly addressing the issue of future wages; the Court said that since the client showed he spends all of his paycheck on current bills, "he has no accumulation of wages exceeding $1000." It denied the contest to the exemption and dismissed the garnishment, allowing the client to pay his rent and keep his utilities on. A great victory for LSA and working families across Alabama that LSA will use as we continue to fight the collection industry to protect worker's exemption rights one case at a time! We need support to continue our fight against debt collection companies and their lawyers who have organized to mount a full scale assault on the wages earned by hardworking poor families. LSA lawyers are engaged in legal challenges across the state in an attempt to protect the wages of poor working families.

January, 2016- Collection attorneys began filing "supplemental responses" in ALL of their pending garnishment cases. They are attaching two good decisions they have on Gibbons issues. Both of these are LSA cases and both are under appeal. We need you to continue our fight for the working poor!

LSA and our partners know that the new law violates the state constitution in an effort to give debt collectors, debt buyers and their collection attorneys another way to seize the wages of hard-working families. If you would like to support LSA's continued work fighting for the working poor, please make a contribution to help those most in need and become a Partner for Justice! With your continued support, we will continue to provide help and hope to those most in need throughout the state!

Results of LSA's Wage Garnishment Fight:
WINS...75
LOSSES...9
PENDING...14

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From our Client:

"You all gave me good services and advice and I would surely recommend you all to anyone that needs legal services. Excellent and understanding."

Why did you go to LSA for help?
"My paycheck AND my bank account was garnished. I couldn't afford that. I tried numerous times to speak with the debt collectors about it and resolve it but they were of no help."

What did they help you with?
"They helped with getting my account unfroze and stopped the garnishment on my wages."

What would you say if you could thank them for helping you?
"I would thank them for all their help! Being able to not have to worry about my wages being garnished anymore took a lot of stress off my shoulders."

" I never understood how they calculated this, but every paycheck was a flat $435 [being garnished]. They were assuming I could live off of $870 a month, which I couldn't. My rent's $600 and that's just rent. But I never really understood why they were taking [my wages], how they were calculating, taking $435 flat. I could not afford to pay an attorney, so I called Legal Services and fortunately they accepted my case and we went to court a couple of weeks ago, and the [garnishment] case against me was dropped."

Legal Services Alabama fights poverty and SEEKS JUSTICE for ALL!!

Your donations mean so much to so many!
YOU help make it possible for LSA to represent the most vulnerable among us by:
• Preventing Homelessness and Preserving Housing
• Keeping Families Safe from Domestic Violence
• Ensuring Income Security for disabled and those denied lawful benefits
• Advocating for Seniors and Veterans
• Expanding access to justice through our 24/7 Online Intake process

ADVOCACY STORY

Preventing Homelessness for a Senior Citizen and Disaster Victim

Congratulations to Tuscaloosa staff attorney Joseph Abrams for helping an elderly tornado victim save his home in a rescission of a deed for support. The client, who was a 2011 tornado victim, purchased a new home after his previous residence was destroyed by the April, 2011 tornadoes. Unfortunately, shortly after obtaining possession of the property, the client's declining health and old age caused him to convey the home to his sister. As consideration for the conveyance, the client's sister agreed to use the property for his health and wellness during the course of his life. Before the agreed upon consideration could be completed, the Client's sister conveyed the property to a third party-the client's granddaughter. The granddaughter took possession of the residence without exchanging any form of consideration. The granddaughter then commenced an eviction action against the elderly client.

At the District Court level, the court evicted the client (who was then pro se) from his residence. The client then appealed and sought assistance form LSA. Initially, we drafted and filed a petition to revoke the first transfer and other successive conveyances. LSA then filed a motion to consolidate the eviction action with the newly filed petition for rescission. At trial, the court determined that the client was within his legal right to expressly revoke both conveyances and restored the client's title to the property.

Because of LSA's efforts, the client is now able to reside in his residence without any interference from his sister or his granddaughter and has reacquired his full ownership in the property. Thanks to LSA and the excellent advocacy from our Tuscaloosa office, the elderly client has a roof over his head!

From our Clients:
"I thank God for Legal Services because I had no one to go to or the funds to pay a lawyer. I love the kindness and the interest that Legal Services has to reach out to people in their time of need. Once again, thank you for all you have done to help me, and be there for me in court. I am so thankful."

"I extremely enjoyed Ms. Jenkins [my attorney]. She's down to business. She believed in me, and for [her] excellent care of me and my hearing. I will recommend Legal Services to anyone."

THE TEST OF OUR PROGRESS IS NOT WHETHER WE ADD MORE TO THE ABUNDANCE OF THOSE WHO HAVE ENOUGH; IT IS WHETHER WE PROVIDE ENOUGH FOR THOSE WHO HAVE TOO LITTLE. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

The average case costs $600 from start to finish. To learn how your firm can fund a case please give us a call today!
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Honorable James H. Fry
Executive Director
334.264.1868
jfry@alsp.org

Jaffe Pickett
Director of Resource Development
334.223.0232
jpickett@alsp.org

  • LSC

    LSA is a grantee of the Legal Services Corporation.