SeniorLAW Center and Pepper Hamilton LLP are proud to announce the first victory of their new pro bono partnership to fight contractor fraud and seek justice for low-income older homeowners in Philadelphia.
Litigation partners and associates of Pepper Hamilton have formed a pro bono practice group to specialize in this area of law which helps vulnerable seniors stay independent in safe, habitable homes. Pepper’s new practice group is co-chaired by partners Gay Parks Rainville, Vice Chair of SeniorLAW Center’s Board of Directors, and Laurence Shiekman, both of whom are also handling cases.
Pepper attorneys attended a legal training in April 2011 on how to handle a home improvement contractor fraud case and eight teams of attorneys volunteered to accept cases. Now, just months later, the team of Mary Margaret Spence and Anthony Vale have successfully prosecuted a claim for negligent work in the home of a low-income senior and recovered $4800 (in certified funds). In light of the contractor’s shoddy work and treatment of the senior, the legal team turned down an offer from the contractor to return to the home and instead, tried the claim and won.
Congratulations, Mary Margaret and Tony, and thank you for the gift of your time and talent on behalf of this senior homeowner.
A majority of older Philadelphians own their homes. Seniors over the age of 65 in Philadelphia account for 30% of the total homeowners in the city. Their housing is aging and creating an increasing demand for repairs. As the need for repairs grows, so does exploitation by repair contractors: seniors are targeted by unscrupulous home repair contractors as easy prey for those who would propose to perform unneeded home repairs, or enter into contracts to perform work that is needed, and which is never performed, completed or done in shoddy fashion. Homelessness is an imminent reality for many of our community’s poor elders. For most of our low-income seniors, their home is their only significant asset. Addressing their housing legal needs enables them to use their limited income on medicine, food and other necessities, and enables them to age in their own homes and communities, rather than being forced into a care facility.
The impact of Pepper’s volunteer efforts will be powerful: enabling elders to maintain their home and their most important rights and needs, avoiding homelessness, loss of independence and institutionalization, and making their homes safe, healthy and dignified places to live. SeniorLAW Center is proud to partner with Pepper Hamilton.