Pro Bono Commitment
CPM uses its broad-based legal expertise to provide pro bono legal work for deserving clients in need. Below is a sample of cases handled by CPM attorneys.
Pauline B. Reade v. Fetuu Tupoufutuna, et al.
San Mateo County Superior Court
CPM and The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County provided pro bono representation to a 89 year old elderly widow, Pauline Reade, who was bilked out of nearly $600,000. Ms. Reade faced foreclosure on her Pacifica home after Fetuu Tupoufutuna, a scam contractor, tricked her into signing loan documents with various banks and mortgage entities in the sum of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The action was filed to stop the sale against various individuals and entities involved in the loan transaction, including, RBS Financial, Products, Inc., Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., GMAC Mortgage, LLC, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. Executive Trustee Services, Paul Financial, Fetuu Tupoufutuna and Mohammed Ali George.
City of San Jose v. Donald Trump
U.S. Supreme Court
The United States Supreme Court rejected the Trump Administration’s attempt to end legal protections for hundreds of thousands of Dreamers, keeping President Obama’s DACA program in place. Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy represented the City of San Jose in the case on a pro bono basis.
“This is a wonderful day not just for the Dreamers, but for our Country. DACA recipients add strong and vibrant fiber to the fabric of our communities,” said one of CPM’s attorneys, Justin T. Berger. “This decision offers a ray of hope in troubled times.”
As San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has previously stated: “DACA recipients compose some of our community’s best and brightest young people. According to the Center for American Progress, approximately 96% of DREAMers are either enrolled in school or working. They’re high-achieving students, they’re innovative tech entrepreneurs, and they’re teachers and nurses serving our community.”
“Finally, justice brings an end to the fear and uncertainty burdening these bright young Americans,” said CPM partner Joe Cotchett.
Weed Area Water Alliance et al. v. The City of Weed
CPM represents citizens of the City of Weed bringing claims under the California Environmental Quality Act to set aside a lease with lumber giant Roseburg Forest Products that significantly reduces the City’s access to Mount Shasta’s pristine Beaughan Spring, the city’s primary water supply that it has relied upon for over a century. Roseburg is selling Beaughan Spring water to Crystal Geyser, which in turn ships the water as far away as Japan. At the same time, the City faces dire water shortages and even contemplated, at one point, relying on rented water trucks to supply drinking water. After declaring a state of emergency, the City, without conducting any environmental review, entered into a new Water Lease Agreement--an action now challenged in this lawsuit. Although the trial court denied the petition for writ of mandate, the case is currently on appeal.
Souza et al. v. California Department of Transportation et al.
Northern District of California
Federal Judge James Donato issued a rare injunction temporarily halting the plan of the State of California's Department of Transportation to widen Highways 197 and 199 along the Smith River, in the northwest corner of California. Finding irreparable harm, Judge Donato observed Caltrans had determined that the Project is not likely to have an adverse effect on the threatened SONCC coho salmon or their critical habitat. The Court found that: “the biological assessment documents that Defendants bank on are contradictory and unclear, and Plaintiffs have raised serious questions about their adequacy under the law.” The Court also determined Caltrans’s documents contain “material inconsistencies and fail to reasonably explain” biological assessments.
Phil Gregory of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, attorneys for the local plaintiffs, applauded Judge Donato's courageous decision to save both the coho salmon and this scenic river:
“This is a case of a road versus a river. Caltrans plans to do major roadwork along the wild and scenic Smith River, in northwestern California; and neither Caltrans nor the National Marine Fisheries Service have come close to meeting their legal obligations to adequately analyze the proposed roadwork’s environmental impact.”
CPM, along with Sharon Duggan of Oakland and Stuart Gross of San Francisco, filed federal and state actions to prevent a large-scale construction project along the Smith River in Northern California. The construction was to be part of Caltrans’ project to develop a network of roads in rural Northwestern California on which larger “STAA” truck are allowed to travel from the Oregon border to the San Francisco Bay Area – the NW California STAA Network Project – and Caltrans’ failure to adequately address the environmental impacts of the project.
The Smith River, in Del Norte County, is the last major undammed river in California. While the Smith River and its basin are important and irreplaceable habitat for numerous animal and plant species, the clean, free-flowing river is a particularly important habitat of salmon. Based on the Plaintiffs’ evidence, the Court stated: “it appears likely that the Project will increase erosion and short- and long-term delivery of sediments into the Middle Fork Smith River, threatening the SONCC coho and its critical habitat.”
Judge Donato’s order notes that Caltrans’ documents reveal “contradictions and critical gaps in reasoning that give rise to serious questions.” The Court found issues about whether Defendants had discharged the “obligation to rationally identify potential impacts” or to “evaluate all the relevant factors and evidence.” The Oder found major flaws with the Project: “This is not a case of excusable minor sloppiness.”
“Judge Donato refused to rubber-stamp a haphazard consultation process,” Phil Gregory observed. Gregory, along with former Congressman Pete McCloskey, has worked pro bono to stop Caltrans' controversial highway widening project. Judge Donato's injunction requires Caltrans to take a hard look at the effects of the Project, as it appears likely that the Project will threaten the coho salmon and its critical habitat. According to Pete McCloskey,
“This case is about Caltrans ignoring the long-term effects of its construction work in favor of large trucking companies. The Smith River, especially due to the salmon, is a profound natural resource. The River should be preserved for the fish, not destroyed for big-box trucks. We are honored to represent individuals in their fight against this unnecessary and destructive project.”
Cruz v. Sierra Corporate Management
The case is a class action on behalf of low income residents of a Redwood City mobile home park over illegal and fraudulent rental practices by the park owner. The suit seeks to compel the park owner’s compliance with state and local rent ordinances to protect the homes of this vulnerable population.
Loy et al. v. Kenney et al.
Los Angeles County Superior Court
Animal Legal Defense Fund and CPM seek to hold Kenney family accountable for defrauding customers and harming dogs in violation of California law
“These defendants are selling diseased puppies. Worse yet, they grab the cash and then lurk behind the internet, leaving the innocent puppies to die a painful death. No child should have to watch their puppy die. Our lawsuit says ‘Time is up’ on this scam,”
- Attorney Gary Praglin of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy