First Amendment Suit Against Charter School and Management Company
A new management company created a central office to administer the charter school, overriding the supremely successful site-based management that the principal had created. Two educators criticized the management company’s decision. The educators advised parents of the detrimental changes to the school’s administrative structure. The management company, with the complicity of the school board, discharged the educators for their speech concerning a matter of public concern.
Ordinarily, at a charter school, an educator is employed by the management company with which the school board contracts for independent operation of the school. In the usual case, a wrongfully discharged educator can sue only the management company, not the school board. But, in the first known case in Michigan, Robert Levi convinced the court that sufficient evidence of conspiracy between the management company and the board existed to justify taking both entities to trial for violation of the employees’ right to freedom of speech.
Levi also obtained a favorable settlement for two school employees in unfair labor practice charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board.
Dismissal of a Criminal Charge Even Though Not Expungeable
The client incurred a criminal conviction even though the circumstances that led to it were extremely extenuating. The client was very intelligent and had a very admirable record as a university student. She had performed substantial volunteer work for worthy causes. She had the strong support of her family. Ordinary, the client’s post-conviction contributions to society would easily warrant an expungement. But, by law, the type of the conviction was not expungeable.
By reviewing the court record, Robert Levi discovered errors by the judge and the client’s trial attorney. With a detailed letter setting out his client’s positive achievements and the errors in the proceedings, Levi appealed to the prosecutor’s sense of justice. The prosecutor agreed to dismiss the conviction, because it was in the interest of justice.
Death Benefits Obtained for Family of Participant in Multi-Employer Pension
The pension administrator refused to pay the clients’ claim for death benefits, because the substantial unfunded liability of the plan had placed the plan into the “red zone” under provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). But Robert Levi requested copious plan documents from the administrator. After carefully reviewing the documents, Levi discovered that the plan had actually emerged from the “red zone,” but the administrator had not told the pension participants and beneficiaries. Levi made a claim for the benefits exposing the true status of the plan. The administrator paid the claim.
Successful Suit Against Title Company for Lack of Access to Island
The future purchaser of an island approached the client for a loan to buy the island. The purchaser represented to the client and an appraiser that there was land access to the island across a small bridge from the shoreline. But the purchaser did not tell the client that the shoreline land owners had blocked his access to the island and he was in litigation. Based upon the favorable appraisal which assumed land access, the client loaned the money to the purchaser.
After closing, the client discovered that the purchaser had lost the litigation and had no land access to the island. This loss made the island worth much less than the purchaser’s obligation under the promissory note.
The largest title insurance company in the United States had insured the island against lack of right of access. But the company refused to pay the client the policy benefits, because the company claimed access by water was sufficient. After successfully fighting the title insurance company’s Motion to Dismiss, Levi obtained a favorable settlement for the client.