Name: Lisa Finnegan Email: [email protected] Phone: 212 636 7175 NEW YORK: After three years of hard-fought litigation including numerous filings, depositions and a three-day trial, Fordham Law students celebrated a $350,000 federal court decision they helped secure on behalf of a Korean immigrant. Students and professors in Fordham University’s Civil Rights Clinic of Lincoln Square Legal Services, Inc., worked alongside the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) on behalf of a Korean immigrant Keun-Jae Moon, who sued the Stanford Hotel, its owners and business partners for back pay.
Moon repeatedly worked seven days a week, 90 hours a week, without overtime pay. He was often forced to sleep in the boiler room of the hotel so he could respond to emergency repair calls. His case was won based on violations of the Fair Labor Standard Act and New York Labor law. The seven students involved helped draft briefs and other court papers, took depositions, participated in court conferences and cross-examined witnesses during the trial. According to Kenneth Kimmerling, legal director of the AALDEF, “this case is also a victory for the students of Fordham Law School. As part of the Fordham Law School clinical program, law students acted as Mr. Moon’s lawyer in this case. Mr. Moon won because of thousands of hours of work put in by these students.”
For student Jamie Mowder, the case confirmed that the legal system works. “Working on this case provided me with very practical experience about how the law can work to preserve the rights of individuals,” said Jamie Mowder, a recent Fordham graduate who worked on the case for two years. “It was a thrill to see the legal system bring justice to such a deserving person.”
According to Professor Elizabeth Cooper, J.D., who supervised the students, the groundbreaking litigation is consistent with the increasing lack of tolerance for illegal and harmful behavior by employers. “This is exactly what clinical education is all about: providing students with tremendous learning opportunities and providing legal services to otherwise underserved communities,” she said “We are lucky to be able to engage in this type of partnership with AALDEF.” Fordham University School of Law was founded in 1905, and has more than 14,000 alumni practicing in all 50 states and throughout the world. In the past 20 years Fordham Law School has secured a place as a national leader in public interest law, legal ethics and human rights law.