SC Appleseed pursues impact litigation, looking for cases that can help all of those in our state harmed by abusive or predatory practices, not only participating clients. In so doing SC Appleseed often partners with private law practices and provides direct representation to low-income individuals in consumer-oriented cases.
SC Appleseed has counseled and defended clients on home foreclosures, fought for attorney-conducted loan closings, and intervened on behalf of consumers trapped in debt cycles by payday lenders.
We assist other non-profit agencies that face legal challenges to their missions of helping low-income constituencies. We recently helped a domestic abuse agency prevent its records of private counseling from becoming part of the open court records in a divorce case.
SC Appleseed joined a broad coalition of state and national public interest organizations to sue the State of South Carolina by filing Low Country Immigration Coalition v. Haley and enjoin the enforcement of SC’s anti-immigrant Arizona copycat law SB20/Act69 (i.e. the “papers please” law). In 2014, an agreement was reached and adopted that provides a step forward for our state and for communities across the nation. Learn more about the settlement.
SC Appleseed has intervened successfully in utility rate hearings, arguing before the Public Service Commission that proposed rate hikes by SCE&G were too onerous for consumers during the Great Recession.
In 2012, SC Appleseed, along with the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed an administrative class complaint with the state’s Department of Education against the Beaufort County School District on behalf of five students and their peers, whom the school district failed to provide with much-needed special education services and who were then suspended and recommended for expulsion. Schools are required to develop special education plans tailored to the individual child’s needs and are then obligated to follow through with services that help them achieve academic progress. Thanks to SC Appleseed and SPLC, the Department of Education looked more closely at practices and policies in Beaufort County, and in all parts of South Carolina, that subject children with disabilities to harsh punishments.
Occasionally, SC Appleseed will lend its voice in appellate court cases that impact low-income South Carolinians by filing an amicus brief. Amicus briefs have been filed in a mortgage foreclosure case arguing that counsel fees should be limited to what the client actually pays. Another amicus brief in a worker’s compensation case argued that the South Carolina Worker’s Compensation Commission should be able to prorate benefits over a claimant’s life expectancy, so that the claimant will not lose any social security benefits and suffer even great income losses.