New York, NY– LatinoJustice PRLDEF submitted a public comment in May to the U.S. Navy detailing the ongoing health concerns of residents in Vieques affected by the Navy’s continued use of open-air burning and open detonation (OB/OD) as its preferred method of fulfilling its “clean-up” obligations to address over sixty years of military activities, including detonation of armaments on the island. Residents in Vieques continue to live with the long-term consequences of decades of weapons testing by the Navy, which have been exacerbated by their half-hearted clean-up tactics that ignore, and even aggravate, the health concerns of the people of Vieques. After much advocacy, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on an Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2020 that would authorize budgeting $10 million for closed detonation chambers to be used in the clean-up efforts in Vieques. If passed, this would signal an initial step towards a more responsible clean-up approach.
Georgia DDS Retains Government Documents from Puerto Rico, Detains Applicants Presenting the Documents and Fails to Issue Them Driver’s Licenses
A group of ex-restaurant workers in Kim v Yoo (Case 18-1447) won a new victory before a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Appeals Court. The Panel affirmed the decision and judgment of the late SDNY Judge Robert Sweet, who found that Ji Sung Yoo, the owner of Kum Gang San, Korean restaurant that employed the workers, had impermissibly transferred his interests in three properties in Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn to family members to avoid paying a $2.7 million judgment. The fraudulent transfers left the owner without sufficient assets to satisfy the wage theft judgment previously awarded to his former workers pursuant to New York State and federal labor laws.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF, The Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Treasury under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) to demand information concerning the appointments, vetting and conflicts of interest concerning members of the federal fiscal control board in Puerto Rico. The lawsuit comes as a result of the Department of Treasury refusing to respond to the FOIA request for nearly two and a half years. The board was created by federal statute known as PROMESA (Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act) in 2016.
A diverse group of public school students and local community-based organizations asked a federal court to allow them to intervene in a lawsuit over a program designed to improve racial and economic equity in admissions to New York City’s eight elite public high schools. Since the parties announced their request to intervene in defense of the program last month, they appeared in court before the presiding judge who allowed the process to move forward.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF, The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a request for pre-motion conference seeking to intervene in the federal lawsuit Christa McAuliffe Intermediate School PTO v. Bill de Blasio on behalf of Teens Take Charge – a public-school student led organization, the Hispanic Federation, Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM), and multiple Black and Latinx public school students and their families. The request asks the Court to allow these families and organizations to defend New York City’s modest 2018 efforts to increase access to the Specialized High Schools for disadvantaged students, and redress the systemic racial exclusion caused by the deeply flawed, test-only admissions policy.
On Tuesday, February 5, 2019, the Florida Supreme Court rescinded its appellate review of the City of Miami Beach’s appeal which sought to challenge a 2017 decision by the Third District Court of Appeals invalidating the City’s minimum wage ordinance which would have raised its minimum wage to $13.31 an hour by 2021. LatinoJustice PRLDEF’s Equal Justice Works Fellow Sesilia Valdez Diaz, who is sponsored by the Florida Bar Foundation, released the following statement:
Mineola, NY – Trabajadores por Igualdad (TPI), aided by LatinoJustice PRLDEF and Make the Road New York, filed a complaint about the dangers of working conditions at Nassau County Parks to the workers’ health and safety. Some of the hazards cited in the complaint include chemical exposure, blunt trauma injuries by high-speed golf balls, and other workplace hazards in violation of state labor law and safety standards.