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Here are some examples of how LAET has made a difference in the East Tennessee community. You can make a difference - donate to Legal Aid of East Tennessee today!




Conservatorship

 Client came to see Legal Aid about a conservatorship over her sister. Her sister was in a nursing home and her doctors had stated that it would be long term. She was unable to care for herself and was a threat to herself. Her sister’s doctors stated that her sister was incompetent and needed a conservator. A pro bono attorney assisted this client with obtaining a conservatorship so that she could be sure her sister obtained all the necessary medical assistance she needed. The client had this to say about her attorney’s assistance; “My pro bono attorney was a tremendous help. She made herself available to address each concern as questions arose. She is a kind and thoughtful person. At a time of great difficulty she provided guidance and closure in gaining conservatorship for a loved one who needed assistance so badly.” Pro bono attorney Marcia McMurray and pro bono attorney Jim Bilbo served as Guardian Ad Litem.

Make a Difference

If you or someone you know can’t afford legal assistance regarding Domestic Violence, contact LAET at (865) 637-0484. To help someone like Judy with legal aid, click “Make a Difference.”


Domestic Violence

Judy’s Story

Mr. and Mrs. Brown were afraid that when they passed away their three children would not be able to divide their estate peacefully, so they decided to give the children their inheritance in advance to prevent disputes. Their son, Tom, was unhappy with his share and launched a harassment campaign against his two sisters. He dug trenches and cut down trees to block their access to the street.

Soon, Tom began taking “target practice” shots whenever he saw his sisters nearby. One sister was so afraid she moved away. The other sister, Judy, determined to not let Tom intimidate her, stayed behind.

When Tom tried to run Judy down with his car, she called Legal Aid of East Tennessee for help. A staff attorney assisted Judy in obtaining an Order of Protection against Tom.

Make a Difference

If you or someone you know can’t afford legal assistance regarding Domestic Violence, contact LAET at (865) 637-0484. To help someone like Judy with legal aid, click “Make a Difference.”


Employee Collects Unpaid Wages

Betsy BeckJohn Rayson"Rachel" was as a server at a local restaurant, working between 70 and 80 hours per week. She came to Legal Aid when the restaurant closed and the owners failed to deliver her last paycheck. Rachel estimated that the restaurant owed her about $1,000. We referred the case to Betsy Beck and John Rayson, who discovered that the employer had been paying Rachel for a 40-hour week, regardless of how much time she worked. Rachel did not know that was illegal. Betsy and John filed suit against the restaurant’s owners in Blount County and succeeded in collecting Rachel’s back wages totaling $3,177.

Make a Difference

If you or someone you know can’t afford legal assistance regarding Domestic Violence, contact LAET at (865) 637-0484. To help someone like Judy with legal aid, click “Make a Difference.”


Housing

Mildred’s Story

While Mildred was in the hospital for open-heart surgery, she fell behind on her rent. Her landlord had the right to evict her, but not the right to take possession of her apartment and its contents without a court order. Three days before she was released from the hospital, her landlord told her he had changed her locks and cut off her utilities.

When Mildred asked to get into the apartment to remove her things, her landlord refused and told her to sue him. The Pro Bono Project referred her case to Knoxville attorney Heather Anderson. Heather obtained a court order allowing Mildred to remove her belongings from the apartment, but when she went to her home, she found another tenant living there.

Everything she owned had been removed except for her furniture, which the new tenant had purchased from the landlord. Attorney Anderson filed suit against the landlord and won a $6,000 judgment in Mildred’s favor.

Make a Difference

If you or someone you know can’t afford legal assistance regarding Housing, contact LAET at (865) 637-0484.
To help someone like Mildred with legal aid, click “Make a Difference.”


New Tennessean Gets Translator

Melinda Meador"Jak" immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe, and he is not yet fluent in English. When he originally arrived in Tennessee, he used an international driver’s license. But when it expired, he discovered that the Tennessee Department of Safety would not let him use a translator (even at his own expense) when he took the driving test. Tennessee law allows a translator only for people who speak Spanish, Korean, or Japanese, which did not help Jak. We referred the case to Melinda Meador, who persuaded the Department to permit Jak to take the test with a translator.

Make a Difference

If you or someone you know can’t afford legal assistance regarding Domestic Violence, contact LAET at (865) 637-0484. To help someone like Judy with legal aid, click “Make a Difference.”


Predatory Lending

Frances’ Story

Frances inherited a home worth $70,000 from her mother. The house had no mortgage on it, but she did owe $4,500 in delinquent property tax. Fearing a tax sale, Frances went looking for a loan. A mortgage broker assured her he could arrange a loan before the tax sale date. As the deadline drew near, the lender stalled Frances. At the last minute, the lender told her the only way to get her the money for the property tax was to sell the house to him “temporarily” for $10,000. He offered her the right to repurchase it for $40,000 after a year, while paying him rent in the meantime.

Believing she had no choice but to accept the terms, Frances agreed. A few weeks later, the lender demanded Frances pay him a security deposit. When she refused, the lender locked her out of the house and put the house up for sale. Frances contacted LAET for help, and a staff attorney helped her recover her family home.

Make a Difference

If you or someone you know can’t afford legal assistance regarding Predatory Lending, contact LAET at (865) 637-0484. To help someone like Frances with legal aid, click “Make a Difference.”


Foreclosure

Foreclosure

Megs’s Story

Meg owned her modest home, and that in combination with her mental disability made her a ripe target for a con artist. Kyle romanced Meg until she agreed to let him use her home as collateral for loan. As soon as Kyle got the money, he disappeared, leaving Meg with a mortgage she couldn’t repay.

When the lender threatened to foreclose, LAET’s Pro Bono Project asked Knoxville lawyer Joe Della-Rodolfo to help. Joe investigated the loan documents and discovered that the lender did not have the right to foreclose. “Thank you,” Meg wrote, “for saving my home.”

Make a Difference

If you or someone you know can’t afford legal assistance, contact LAET at (865) 637-0484. To help someone like Meg with legal aid, click “Make a Difference.”


Tenn Care

Caleb’s Story

LAET recently represented a 16 year old client who is over 6 feet tall and weighs over 300 lbs. He is autistic and suffers from PICA, a disease that causes a person to crave and eat non-food items such as glass. Since he cannot be left alone, Caleb lives with his mother and sister.

Caleb’s mother approached LAET because she needed assistance finding someone to help care for her son, monitor his behavior, and implement the behavior plan developed by his Applied Behavior Analyst. In addition to dealing with the eating disorder, her son needed to acquire toilet training and develop many other everyday skills.
 
Despite the extent of his needs, Caleb was continually denied care because of a dispute between the Medical Care Organization and Behavioral Care Organization over 1) who should pay for his care and 2) the extent of care needed.
During this time, things at their home grew desperate. Caleb’s mother had to lock her daughter in her room at night for fear that her son would attack her. She slept on her son’s floor so he could not harm himself or his family. She was terrified he would learn to work the gas stove in her home.

After almost a year of appeals by Caleb’s mother and four months of appeals through LAET, the client received a directive from TennCare for 60 hours a week of Behavioral Care Specialist services.

Thanks to his mother’s dedication, and the work of the many professionals who assisted Legal Aid and the client, Caleb and his family are safe and back on track. 

Make a Difference

If you or someone you know can’t afford legal assistance regarding TennCare, contact LAET at (865) 637-0484. To help someone like Caleb with legal aid, click “Make a Difference.”


Water Damage

Heidi Hoffecker“Mary” came to Legal Aid to seek assistance with a water damage problem to her home and property which was a result of construction done by the City. Mary had photos of an extensive amount of water damage along with mold & mildew. We referred the case to attorney Heidi Hoffecker who along with a Legal Aid staff attorney did research to determine if she could file. The city denied responsibility and a lawsuit was filed. After several years of discovery and negotiations, a settlement was finally reached. The city agreed to make repairs to the property and to bear the expenses associated with such repairs – packing, moving, and storing the client’s personal property while the house is vacated, hotel accommodations; moving back in and unpacking of their property.

Make a Difference

If you or someone you know can’t afford legal assistance regarding Domestic Violence, contact LAET at (865) 637-0484. To help someone like Judy with legal aid, click “Make a Difference.”

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