Joanna & Katie:
Joanna’s young daughter suffers from Type 1 diabetes, a condition that is notoriously difficult to manage in children. When Joanna took her daughter to the hospital during a dangerous drop in her blood sugar, the hospital reported her to DCFS for medical neglect. In the course of the investigation several medical professionals told DCFS that Joanna likely did nothing wrong and that blood sugar levels and insulin could drop or spike for no reason.
When DCFS upheld the finding Joanna filed a pro se complaint for judicial review. The court referred her to CVLS. PILI-Fellow Katherine Rhoades of Kirkland and Ellis took the case, sifting through hundreds of pages of testimony and medical records. With the help of fellow Kirkland attorneys Jessica Fricke and Nader Boulos, Katie wrote a forceful brief outlining DCFS’s errors. Soon after the brief was filed, DCFS voluntarily expunged the indication and the case was dismissed as moot. Joanna was thrilled.
Michael, Thomas & Marcie:
Michael and Thomas lived with their paternal grandparents for most of their lives as their parents, heroin addicts, were unable to care for them. The grandparents were eventually appointed guardians by the court. Mom got sober and filed a petition to discharge the guardians when her sons were about 4 and 6 years old. Initially, Mom thought that because she was no longer using, she should have her sons in her care immediately. With the patient work of Marcie Hefler, the Court-Appointed CVLS GAL in this matter, Mom got over her disappointment that her petition was not granted immediately. Over a period of six months, Mom worked hard to build a parental relationship with her sons and a co-parenting relationship with the boys’ grandparents.
Mom called the boys every day, communicated with their school, worked with the boys on homework and created a plan, including academic and counseling support, for the anticipated transition into her home and care. When guardians went on vacation, Mom was able to step in and get the boys to school and meet all of their daily needs for the duration of the grandparents’ trip. Finally, the court agreed to discharge the guardians and just after Christmas, the guardians and mom successfully transitioned Thomas and Michael into their Mom’s care. The grandparents maintain a close relationship with the boys and are thrilled that they can now move into a grandparenting relationship with the kids instead of a parenting relationship.
Tony & John:
Anthony bought a run-down three-flat in 2015, planning to rent out two units while he and his 13-year-old daughter lived in the third. But because the building needed to be rehabbed first, he obtained a $29,000 remodeling loan and hired a contractor. The remodeling contract detailed the work to be performed, estimated costs and completion deadline. It also provided for a down payment of $15,000, issued by the bank directly to the contractor.
Within a few months, the contractor began spending less and less time on the house and became difficult to reach. The quality of his work deteriorated. When it became clear the contractor would not meet the completion deadline, Tony notified the bank, sent the contractor a letter terminating the project, had an appraiser inspect the property and changed the locks to preserve its condition.
However, Tony could not access the rest of his loan money unless he agreed to arbitrate the issue with the contractor. In addition, he wanted to recover some funds, because, as verified by the appraisal, he had overpaid considering the value of the completed work.
Tony arranged and paid for arbitration, but he wanted an attorney to represent him at the hearing. Luckily for him, John A. Aramanda, a new associate at Quarles & Brady, was looking for trial experience and agreed to represent Tony. John scored a big win. The arbitrator found that Tony is entitled to $10,778.88—which is the amount of money the contractor received minus the value of the work he performed plus interest, fees and costs.
A great win for Tony and for John. Thank you to Quarles partner and former CVLS board member Steven Hunter, for asking us to help John get some litigation experience.