Cases involving potential violations of civil rights or human rights bring out strong emotions and difficult questions. Victims of human trafficking, domestic enslavement, or wrongful conviction are often left with nothing–even when the people and organizations committing the crimes are criminally prosecuted—and need legal help to achieve financial recoveries. Similarly, those who are denied access to housing, jobs and other basic needs or endeavors, such as dining at a coffee shop, because of their protected class are entitled to pursue legal claims.
PII has assisted attorneys with such litigation for much of its 30-year history, interviewing witnesses about sensitive subjects and collecting relevant declarations, documents and public records.
Building and collecting evidence for civil litigation takes patience, tenacity and creativity. In numerous cases, evidence that PII has gathered has led to victims winning large judgments or significant settlements.
PII has worked with civil rights attorneys and public interest groups, including Public Counsel, Housing Rights organizations, and the ACLU on such cases.
Examples of PII’s investigations:
• Owners of a group of 10 apartment buildings in the Lancaster/Palmdale area in Southern California were accused of refusing to rent to African-Americans and Latinos. PII investigators fanned out in the area, interviewing current and former tenants to collect declarations about their experiences and those of their current or former neighbors.
• PII probed allegations of racially discriminatory service at the Denny’s restaurant chain in an investigation that spanned 30 states on behalf of a civil rights monitor overseeing a Consent Decree settlement.