Student Gains Real World Experience on Amicus Brief for Housing Rights
May 29, 2012
A Sullivan County woman wanted to fight her landlord’s attempts to evict her from her apartment, and went to trial in small claims court there.
She thought she would appear before a judge who would hear evidence, but was instead met with a court reporter who assured her that a judge would listen to her case later. She then was told to fill out a pre-signed “initial hearing/judgment order” form that required the woman to vacate the apartment. The woman did, and at a subsequent damages hearing was ordered to pay her former landlord $975, after never getting the chance to tell her side of the story.
She appealed, and Certified Legal Intern Alison Becker of the law school’s evening program co-authored, along with Professor Fran Quigley, ’87, an amicus brief in the case Lisa Reynolds v. Daniel Capps. The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed in its decision handed down May 23, 2012, because the woman was denied her due process rights.
Becker’s interest in this kind of work was piqued in fall 2010 in Professor Florence Roisman’s property class and the assignment to write about a landlord-tenant proceeding the professor asked her students to attend.
"Working with Professors Quigley and Roisman on this brief was one of my most satisfying endeavors at the law school,” Becker said. “I learned a great deal from these two dedicated individuals and it was an honor to see my academic pursuits make a difference for a 'real person' in the 'real world.' I look forward to continuing to work with Professor Quigley this fall in the Health and Human Rights Clinic and will always view Professor Roisman as a mentor and role model."
“Alison did a terrific job advising the Court of Appeals about the need to protect tenants’ due process rights in eviction cases,” said Clinical Professor of Law Fran Quigley, who teaches in the Health and Human Rights Clinic. “The Court issued a strong decision finding that Ms. Reynolds has a constitutionally-protected right to present a defense, so it is clear that Alison formed a great team with Indiana Legal Services here.”