Together, we do the community justice.

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality on Facebook Advocates for Basic Legal Equality on Twitter Advocates for Basic Legal Equality on LinkedIn

LAWO on Facebook LAWO on Twitter LAWO on LinkedIn

OSU Law Students, ABLE Allege Racial Profiling

The following article, written by Kevin Milliken, appeared December 2, 2014 on La Prensa's website. ABLE Attorney Eugenio Mollo is quoted inthe article. Read below, or view the contents on

Law school students at the Ohio State University (OSU) have sued the U.S. Border Patrol, hoping to force the disclosure of arrest records that they claim will show federal agents have committed racial profiling across northern Ohio, an area with a growing Latino population.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit is focused on the border patrol's Sandusky Bay Station, which patrols heavily along the Ohio Turnpike between Cleveland and Toledo. That station is charged with monitoring the U.S.-Canada border along Lake Erie. The OSU law school students want to compel border patrol agents to release documents that could reveal the profiling in both policy and practice.

Law students contend border patrol agents have disproportionately targeted Latinos since 2008, shortly after the Sandusky Bay station opened.

OSU's Moritz College of Law Civil Law Clinic and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE) filed a public-records request with the Border Patrol on Aug. 18, 2014 but have yet to get a response. So the two groups filed the FOIA complaint in U.S. District Court of Southern Ohio in Columbus on Nov. 18.


U.S.-Backed Mortgages Put to Test in an Innovative Lawsuit

The following article, written by Peter Eavis, appeared November 27, 2014 on the New York Times website. ABLE Attorney Andrew Neuhauser is quoted in the article. Read below, or view the contents on the NY Times website.

When Hayward Ferrell of Huber Heights, Ohio, fell behind on his mortgage payments several years ago, his bank did not meet with him to try to work out a plan to make the loan easier to pay, he says.

"They never sat me down and said, 'It looks like you are going to lose this, so why don't you do this?'" he said. "They never did that." The lender, U.S. Bank, foreclosed on the house in 2009.

Not engaging with borrowers who have missed payments may not seem like the strongest grounds for litigation against a bank. Yet that is the basis for an innovative lawsuit against U.S. Bank, a division of U.S. Bancorp, one of the largest banks in the country. The legal action could mean fresh legal problems for other big mortgage banks, as well. It is the latest threat to emerge from a barrage of cases that have forced big banks to pay tens of billions of dollars in recent months.

The lawsuit focuses on a popular type of government-guaranteed mortgage that in fact requires that banks take distinct steps — like trying to arrange a meeting — when borrowers stop paying.

The lawsuit is being brought by Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, a legal aid group. In a twist, the group is suing U.S. Bank in federal court in Ohio on behalf of the United States government, using the False Claims Act. This legislation, which dates to the Civil War, allows private citizens and groups to pursue legal action against companies and other entities for receiving payments from the government on false grounds.


Deadline Now: Lead Poisoning Threats

Robert Cole, a managing attorney for ABLE and David Norris, a senior researcher at Ohio State University's Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity were guests on the November 14 segment of Deadline Now on WGTE Public Television.


Legal Aid Makes Online Connection for Low-Income Clients

The following, written by Stephanie Beougher, appeared December 1, 2014 on the Court News Ohio website. Read below or view on

Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. (LAWO) has launched a new online project to connect low-income residents with volunteer attorney assistance. The LiveChat project allows the attorneys and clients to meet virtually for "chat-based" counsel and advice online.

Free of charge to legal aid clients in the LAWO service area who meet income guidelines and have Internet access, the LiveChat project will make brief, but helpful advice on eviction from private housing, assistance with housing conditions, return of a security deposit, debt collection, or car repossession.


Giving Tuesday 2014

You don't have to be a celebrity or a billionaire to give back. #GivingTuesday is about ordinary people coming together doing extraordinary things.