Representative Public Interest Cases
Bondurant Mixson & Elmore has a strong tradition of commitment to cases involving public interest and pro bono activities. The firm’s many relationships with public interest organizations provide our lawyers with opportunities to become involved in important legal issues and to obtain landmark results.
Emmet Bondurant represented a group of voters in Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District in securing a 6-3 victory at the U.S. Supreme Court. The court’s majority in Wesberry v. Sanders holds that a 1931 apportionment plan that resulted in the Fifth District’s congressman representing two to three times as many voters as congressmen from the state’s other districts discriminated against voters of the 5th District, which at the time included Fulton, DeKalb and Rockdale counties.
Successfully represented lawyer Elizabeth A. Hishon before the U.S. Supreme Court under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act for sex discrimination. The court’s decision ruled that law firms are subject to federal discrimination laws, even though they are private partnerships.
Co-lead counsel with Children’s Rights in prosecution of class action resulting in systemic reform of the State of Georgia’s dysfunctional foster care system and establishing that foster children have a right to counsel.
Special Assistant District Attorney in the successful prosecution of Sidney Dorsey, the former sheriff of DeKalb County, Georgia, on charges including murder and RICO.
Won resentencing and release of federal inmate. Persuaded the district court to reverse its prior ruling denying the inmate’s pro se 28 U.S.C. § 2255 petition. Instead of serving ten more years in prison, the inmate was released.
Successfully represented a Georgia prisoner in an Americans with Disability Act and §1983 action. After thwarting the state’s efforts to exclude the client’s expert witnesses and defeating multiple dispositive motions and two appeals, obtained a monetary settlement for 100 percent of the client’s demand as well as significant non-monetary relief going forward.
Successfully obtained the reversal of a lower court decision on behalf of a prisoner in an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals to the Eleventh Circuit. The ruling clarified the requirements for exhaustion of administrative remedies, and has been followed by other circuit courts.
Represented amicus curiae the ARC of Georgia, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the rights of people with disabilities, in an appeal in which the Georgia Supreme Court reversed the conviction of a defendant with an I.Q. of 45 on the grounds that a jury should not have found him competent to stand trial.
Successful representation of a group of senior citizens against a high interest loan company.
Challenge to Georgia’s photo ID requirement for in-person voting that caused the state to repeal and modify the law.
Co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs’ class in Flournoy v. State, which was successful in obtaining statewide civil rights enforcement relief for a class of indigent defendants deprived of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel.
Successfully represented a man wrongfully detained at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by filing a complaint and petition for habeas corpus in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. After more than five years of detention, the Department of Defense approved his release in February 2007, when he was able to return to his wife and two young children.
Successful prosecution in a trial against a man charged with a scheme to defraud his 80 year-old godfather out of his home. After a multi-day trial, the jury convicted the defendant on several counts of theft-by-deception and elder abuse.
In a pro bono appointment from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, obtained reversal of an order denying an employee relief on a Title VII retaliation claim against the Federal Railroad Administration. The plaintiff ultimately obtained reinstatement and an award of nearly $1 million in back pay.
Worked extensively with the NAACP on public accommodations and discriminatory housing matters, and co-authored an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the NAACP, SCLC, AARP, and other groups filed in support of the petitioners in Kelo v. City of New London, 125 S.Ct. 2655 (2005), contending that the use of eminent domain for economic development purposes particularly disadvantages minorities, the poor and the elderly. Arguments made in the amicus brief were mentioned by Justice Thomas in his dissenting opinion.