Lowe v. District of Columbia
Last week Elitok and Hartnett won a significant victory for a District of Columbia Department of Health (DOH) whistleblower who was fired following her reports to federal agencies about misuse of federal funds by the DC DOH. Our client refused to go along with her managers plans to use federal funding to “subplant” DC DOH employees - meaning to use federal money to pay DC employee salaries - a practice specifically prohibited by federal regulations because it effectively the resources available to carry out the DOH programs. The federal funds are supposed to help DC DOH do more -not just help DC provide less support for its programs.
The District of Columbia argued that the case should be dismissed because our client’s dismissal had nothing to do with her reporting to the federal agency - even though the federal agency told the DOH that their plan was improper, and put DC on restricted funding immediately after they fired the whistleblower ans went ahead with the plan anyway. The District’s argument failed to convince the Judge, who denied the Summary Judgement Motion. The case will now likely go to trial sometime in the next few months.
Vila v. Inter-American Investment Corporation, 570 F.3d 274 (D.C. Cir. 2009)
Last year Elitok and Hartnett attorney Doug Hartnett won a precedent setting decision in the Federal Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. The case involved a consultant, Mr. Jorge Vila, who helped the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) implement its development loan programs. Mr. Vila filed a claim against the IIC after they refused to pay him for the work he had done. The IIC claimed it was immune from suit under the International Organizations Immunities Act.
In one of two cases that year considering the immunity issue, the Court of Appeals agreed with Mr. Hartnett’s argument that the IIC had waived its immunity in order to engage with outside entities in work that furthered the corporation’s mission and purpose. This case represents a reversal of the long series of decisions finding immunity for organizations like the IIC and other World Bank affiliates, and will hopefully result in more public accountability for these organizations. Mr Hartnett is now pursuing the claim on Mr. Vila’s behalf in Federal District Court. A trial is expected in 2011.
In the recent past Elitok and Hartnett has helped a number of clients successfully receive employment and family based visas and status adjustments, including Legal Permanent Residency (Green card), H3, travel documentation, replacement documentation and various other immigration matters.