Raise Your Paddle(Board) for LAM @ 101 Surf Sports on Halloween

101 Surf Sports to donate all Paddleboard and Kayak rental proceeds to LAM from 11 am.-3 p.m. on Halloween
Join LAM at 101 Surf Sports in San Rafael from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Halloween Saturday.

Join Legal Aid of Marin and 101 Surf Sports on Halloween for a family fun day of Paddleboarding and Kayaking to support the work of Legal Aid of Marin. During the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., San Rafael’s 101 Surf Sports will generously donate all Kayak and Stand Up Paddleboard rental proceeds to LAM.

Never paddled? No worries — introductory lessons from 101 Surf Sports included as part of the deal.

Bring the family, bust out your best costumes and grab your paddles to support LAM’s programs of free legal services for low-income families and households in Marin.

11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday, October 31
101 Surf Sports
115 3rd Street, San Rafael

Paddleboards and Single Kayaks: $20 per hour
Double Kayaks – $30 per hour (holds two adults and one kid)
Use Code Word: “LAM” at check-in.
Event Chaired by LAM Board Member Captain Ron Steinau


– BBQ Hot Dogs and Veggie Dogs
– Candy for kids
– Costume Contest
– Raffle Prizes
– And some surprises…

Maura Prendiville appointed Legal Aid of Marin Interim Executive Director

Prendiville a longtime LAM senior staff attorney with deep roots in Marin County. Paul Cohen assumes leadership of Eviction Defense Collaborative of San Francisco.
Interim Executive Director Maura Prendiville (at center) was instrumental in establishing the award-winning Marin Community Court.

The Legal Aid of Marin Board of Directors is proud to announce that Maura Prendiville has been appointed as Interim Executive Director.

Prendiville joined LAM in 2008 and has spent the past several years in the leadership role of Senior Staff Attorney advising staff on cases ranging from employment to housing and debt collection. Prendiville has been instrumental in establishing the award-winning Marin Community Court, which is approaching its fifth year and has received national recognition and acclaim for its innovative methods of serving the homeless community. Prendiville, who earned her law degree from UC Berkeley, was also the lead attorney in a 2014 class-action settlement that improved rent collection practices for more than 500 Marin public housing tenants.

“As a native of Marin County, I welcome this new opportunity to continue serving the community where I was raised,” said Prendiville, who will be building on the successful tenure of Paul Cohen.

After nine years of dedication to Legal Aid of Marin’s mission of increasing access to justice, Paul Cohen announced his decision today to dedicate his time exclusively to protecting and preserving housing for the residents of San Francisco as he assumes leadership of the Eviction Defense Collaborative of San Francisco.

As Legal Aid of Marin’s Executive Director, Paul oversaw the provision of free legal services to nearly 20,000 Marin households.

“I have had the great privilege of working with the Marin community and especially the Board and Staff of Legal Aid of Marin,” said Cohen. “I will remain connected to Marin through all of the friends, colleagues and connections that I have developed at and through LAM.”

During his tenure as Executive Director, Paul created several programs and clinics to reach more Marin County residents in need of LAM services including the Marin Mandatory Settlement Conference calendar for Residential Evictions, the Marin Medical-Legal Partnership, the Marin Opportunity Centers and the Marin Lawyer Referral Service. Most recently, Paul was very proud of his assistance to residents of Parnow House and the workers at the Drake’s Bay Oyster Company.

Legal Aid of Marin’s staff and Board of Directors wish to express gratitude to Paul for his many years of dedicated service to the agency and wish him well in his next endeavor.

Prendiville will guide LAM through a leadership transition while continuing the agency’s mission to provide free legal services to the most vulnerable members of the Marin community. The Legal Aid of Marin Board of Directors plans to announce a permanent executive director by the end of this year.

LAM Secures Landmark Class Action Settlement on Behalf of Janitors Who Cleaned California Ross Stores

Legal Aid of Marin settles Vasquez, et al. v. USM, Inc., et al.
LAM Staff Attorney Joanna Shalleck-Klein, pictured at left with Staff Attorney Ann Munene and Supervising Legal Assistant Sandra Esquivias of LAM's employment team, played a key role in securing relief for the underpaid janitors

In a landmark victory for janitors, Legal Aid of Marin, with co-counsel, have won a settlement of $1 million for a class of janitors who performed daily maintenance cleaning in Ross Stores in California. Notice of the class action settlement in Vasquez et al. v. USM, Inc., et al. (N.D. Cal. Case No. CV-13-05449-JD) was provided to the janitor class members throughout California this week.

Plaintiffs in this action allege that retail giant Ross Stores, Inc. (“Ross”) and leading janitorial contractor USM, Inc. (“USM”) violated California Labor Code section 2810 by underfunding contracts for janitorial services, resulting in systemic wage theft from the janitors who cleaned Ross Dress for Less and dd’s DISCOUNTS stores in California. Ross, which operates approximately three hundred “off-price” retail stores in California, contracts with USM for janitorial services. In turn, USM further subcontractors with janitorial service providers, which then hire the workers and assign them to Ross stores.

The California Legislature passed Labor Code section 2810 in 2003 to address the substandard wages and working condition endemic in the underground economy, where subcontracting is prevalent. Any entity that contracts for janitorial services is liable under this law if it knows or should know that it has failed to provide sufficient funds to allow the contractor to comply with all local, state, and federal laws or regulations governing the services provided.

Represented by the firms of Legal Aid of Marin, Chavez & Gertler, Goldstein Borgen Dardarian & Ho, and the Stanford Community Law Clinic, Plaintiffs filed their proposed class action on September 5, 2013. Plaintiffs allege that Ross and USM knew or should have known that their janitorial contracts did not include sufficient funds to allow the service providers at the bottom of the subcontracting chain to comply with all governing labor laws. Plaintiffs further allege that, as a result of the unfunded agreements, the workers were not paid minimum wage.

View Complaint

On January 27, 2014, the Court denied Defendant Ross’ motion to dismiss the case against it, concluding that Plaintiffs’ complaint contained sufficient factual allegations that Ross knew or should have known that the janitorial contracts it entered into with USM were insufficient to pay the janitors all the wages they were owed for cleaning Ross stores.

View Order Denying Motion To Dismiss

Plaintiffs moved for class certification on October 24, 2014.

View Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification

On February 10, 2015, the parties reached a settlement, which provides a settlement fund of $1 million for janitors who performed daily maintenance at California Ross stores from September 5, 2009 until February 10, 2015, along with meaningful prospective relief designed to ensure that current and future janitors at California Ross stores are paid minimum wage for daily maintenance. Plaintiffs’ Counsel will seek a separate award for attorney’s fees and expenses.

This is the largest settlement to date for alleged violations of Labor Code section 2810 and an important victory for janitors.

Judge James Donato of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California preliminarily approved the settlement on April 13, 2015.

View Order Preliminarily Approving Settlement

All persons who have provided Daily Maintenance Service at a Ross store in California in connection with the performance of a contract or agreement between USM and Ross for the provision of janitorial services from September 5, 2009 until February 10, 2015 are entitled to share in the settlement fund. Claim forms are due by September 15, 2015.

To submit a claim, or for more information about the settlement, the claims process, opting-out and objecting, visit: http://www.usmjanitorsettlement.com Or call: 1-855-447-2248.

Press coverage and press release materials:

San Francisco Chronicle May 27, 2015: “Janitors at Ross to share $1 million settlement.”

Law360.com January 28, 2014: “Ross Stores Can’t Escape Wage Class Action.”

LawyersAndSettlements.com October 14, 2014: “Janitors Allege Ross Dress for Less Equates Work for Less.”

Contra Costa Times/Oakland Tribune, September 6, 2013: “Janitors sue Pleasanton-based Ross Dress for Less.”

Download September 2013 Complaint Press Release

Download May 2015 Settlement Press Release

For media inquiries, contact: Delfin Vigil, LAM Director of Communications and Development at dvigil@legalaidmarin.org; 415 492-0230, Ext. 316.

LAM partners with ABC’s 7 On Your Side to help San Anselmo senior citizen

LAM worked with Michael Finney of ABC's 7 On Your Side to raise money for a San Anselmo victim of a financial elder abuse scam.
LAM Executive Director Paul Cohen delivered a $500 check raised by 7 On Your Side viewers and LAM supporters

Legal Aid of Marin is proud to have partnered with Michael Finney of ABC’s 7 On Your Side to help a Marin senior citizen who was scammed out of nearly all of her savings.

San Anselmo resident Carolyn Collins, who lives on social security, received a call from someone impersonating a police officer. The scammer told Collins that she was “in deep trouble with the law,” with a warrant out for her arrest for failing to show up for jury duty. Unless she paid $500 through a money transfer, Ms. Collins would go to jail.

“I trust policeman,” said Collins who immediately sent the $500 through an untraceable Green Dot MoneyPak card. The scammer stayed on a cell phone call with Collins every step of the process as she walked to the bank and local store, warning her not to let anyone know what she was doing.

After realizing she was scammed, a friend encouraged Collins to contact Michael Finney to warn others about this financial elder abuse scam. ABC’s 7 On Your Side aired a special report in December and then reached out to Legal Aid of Marin to set up a special fund for Collins. In less than 24 hours, Seven On Your Side viewers and Legal Aid of Marin supporters raised more than $1,000 in honor of Collins.

On Friday afternoon, LAM Executive Director Paul Cohen delivered a check for $500 to Carolyn Collins. The remaining and future donation balance will help fund further outreach and education in the community about financial elder abuse. A full report will air on ABC 7 Six O’Clock News.

“I wasn’t able to pay any of my bills during Christmas. I felt so gullible,” said an emotional Collins. “I am so grateful for this help.”

Collins also agreed to work with LAM by sharing her story in the community through outreach and education presentations to older adult communities.

Each year, LAM provides more than 2,000 hours  of legal services to older adults, helping the deal with elder abuse — physical, emotional and financial. Thirty percent of LAM clients are 60 or or older and 18.9 percent of Marin residents are 65 or older — the fastest growing population in the county.

“Ms. Collins was heroic in bringing her story forward to help others avoid becoming victims of these older adult scams that have become all too common,” said LAM Executive Director Paul Cohen. “We look forward to working with Carolyn to tell her story in front of older adults in Marin.”

Click here to support LAM’s work protecting the dignity of our older adults.

Tip Your Hat for Justice

Join LAM on December 4 at the Panama Hotel and support our work on behalf of older adults in Marin County like Audrey McNamara Nevis (pictured here with actor Tyrone Power).

As a pioneering flight attendant with Trans World Airlines, Audrey McNamara Nevis dedicated more than 40 years of her life to serving and helping others. But when she reached retirement, Audrey became a victim of financial elder abuse through predatory lending. Her Lucas Valley home was refinanced 15 times. Without any family and facing homelessness at age 81, Audrey came to Legal Aid of Marin for help.

Representing Audrey for nearly six years up until she passed away in 2013, LAM helped reach a settlement that secured housing for the remainder of Audrey’s life, restoring her dignity and respect at a time when she needed it most.

If someone you know or love is a victim of financial elder abuse, know that our community has an ally in LEGAL AID OF MARIN. Please “Tip Your Hat For Justice” with LAM on December 4 at the Panama Hotel and help support our work on behalf of older adults like Audrey.

This event is generously sponsored by Bank of Marin.

LAM Attorney Araceli Ontiveros-Venegas speaks at College of Marin

Uncover your tenant rights with LAM Staff Attorney Araceli Ontiveros-Venegas.
LAM Staff Attorney Araceli Ontiveros-Venegas has extensive experience empowering tenants on housing matters.

Join LAM Staff Attorney Araceli Ontiveros-Venegas for a special discussion on renter’s rights at College of Marin on Wednesday, November 12.

Ontiveros-Venegas’ discussion, “Renter’s Rights: Uncover Your Rights As a Tenant,” is part of the free “Student Success Speaker Series,” hosted by College of Marin at noon on Wednesdays in the Deedy Lounge of the Student Services building.

“Knowing your rights as a tenant is so important — especially in areas like Marin where there is no rent control,” said Ontiveros-Venegas, who has been empowering tenants on housing matters since joining LAM as a Staff Attorney in 2012. “I’m looking forward to speaking to COM students about their rights, and offering tips they can use to advocate for themselves.”

Marin City Meet and Greet with LAM’s Ann Munene

LAM and The Hannah Project invite you to a meet and greet with Ralph S. Abascal Fellow Ann Munene
Ralph S. Abascal Fellow Ann Munene joined LAM in September.

LAM invites you in welcoming Ralph S. Abascal Fellow Ann Munene for a special meet and greet at The Hannah Project in Marin City from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. on Wednesday, September 24.

Ann joined the LAM staff to provide worker’s rights advocacy with emphasis on outreach to Marin’s African American and Black Immigrant community. Together with LAM, Ann will offer community workshops and legal clinics to educate and advise on employment rights. Ann will hold office hours in Marin City every Wednesday beginning in October.

Come and find out how we can all partner together to serve the Marin City Community around employment related legal issues.

Continental breakfast will be served.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Ann directly at amunene@LegalAidMarin.org; (415) 492-0230, Ext. 311.

Legal Aid of Marin hosts Post Labor Day Law Clinic

FREE clinic from 1-5 p.m. this Friday
To help level the legal playing field, LAM hosts several free legal clinics throughout the year.

In order to better serve the legal needs of Marin County residents, LAM is continuing its long tradition of hosting at Post Labor Day Law Clinic. The FREE clinic will be from 1-5 p.m. this Friday, September 05 in LAM’s offices at 30 North San Pedro Road, Suite 220. This special clinic will be staffed by attorneys and law students who will address questions from participants concerning  civil legal issues.

UPDATE – appointments are now closed for this clinic. For cancelations call (415) 492-0230, Ext. 0.

Legal Aid of Marin partners with One Justice for Summer Clinics

Free clinics in San Geronimo, Tomales and Point Reyes Station.
LAM and OneJustice's Justice Bus Project will be in Tomales from 1-5 p.m. on Thursday July 10.

Legal Aid of Marin is partnering with the OneJustice’s Justice Bus® Project  this summer to host a series of free legal clinics in the communities of San Geronimo, Point Reyes Station and Tomales. Pro bono attorneys will answer questions about a wide variety of legal issues from housing and employment to consumer debt and senior legal issues. All three events are open to the general public.

These free legal clinics are part of OneJustice’s award-winning Justice Bus Project, which supports and expands the capacity of legal services organizations like Legal Aid of Marin to serve clients by connecting urban law student and attorney volunteers with rural and isolated communities in need.

“Rural Californians face barriers to basic services that most of us take for granted, like assistance with housing, employment, consumer debt, and other civil legal matters,” said Renée Schomp, OneJustice’s Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow. Last year, the Justice Bus Project and Legal Aid of Marin served 60 individuals over the course of two one-day clinics in San Geronimo and Point Reyes Station. This year, the program has expanded to include a third clinic in Tomales.

Clinic Schedules:

San Geronimo: Thursday, June 19, 2014

1:00 p.m.—5:00 p.m.

San Geronimo Valley Community Center

6001 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Geronimo,CA

Tomales: Thursday, July 10, 2014

1:00 p.m.—5:00 p.m.

Tomales Town Hall

27150Main St., Tomales, CA


Point Reyes: Friday, July 25, 2014

1:15 p.m.—5:15 p.m.

Dance Palace Community & Cultural Center

503 B Street, Point Reyes Station, CA



Legal Aid of Marin – (415) 492-0230 ext. 0

Law Day 2014

LAM celebrates Law Day with free legal clinic
LAM celebrates Law Day with free legal clinic

Free Legal Assistance

Who: Legal Aid of Marin.

What: Free legal advice on any matter.

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, 2014.

Where: Marin Justice Center, 30 North San Pedro Road, Suite 220, San Rafael.

Legal Questions? We can help! Legal Aid of Marin is celebrating Law Day with a FREE legal clinic at the Marin Justice Center in San Rafael. Get answers and accurate information on legal issues. Appointments (up to 30 minutes) available from 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Appointments are handled directly by an attorney. Visits are free; a $20 donation is requested of each participant. Law Day provides limited scope information and advice only. Please do not have an expectation of legal representation. Walk-ins will be served on a first-come, first-served basis. Call Kenia at (415) 492-0230 x 0 to schedule an appointment.

*APPOINTMENTS ARE HIGHLY ENCOURAGED* Please bring all relevant documents to the clinic.