Disaster Relief

West Virginia Continues to Rebuild After Devastating Floods

It’s been just over two months since devastating floods in West Virginia killed 23 people and left thousands more homeless. The hardest-hit communities are struggling to rebuild. They could use our help.

A series of catastrophic storms pounded the state on June 23, dumping up to a foot of rain in some areas over a 12-hour period. State streams and rivers rose rapidly, burying communities under several feet of water, debris, and mud. FEMA declared eight counties federal disaster areas. The National Weather Service called it a “one-in-1,000-year event.”

West Virginia AAJ members pitched in to help their communities, spending the days after the floods digging out homes and roads, providing food and shelter for displaced residents, hosting fundraisers for local relief efforts, and even providing legal assistance. But, much more needs to be done, and we can’t forget those who are still fighting to rebuild.

This unprecedented flooding affected hundreds of homes that are not within flood plains, so most homeowners were without flood insurance and have lost everything. Many of those affected were already struggling to provide for their families. They had little to no savings or existing lines of credit that can help them rebuild. Entire neighborhoods were washed away and have been replaced by tent cities—and winter is just months away.

We encourage you to find ways to help West Virginians rebuild, and have included some organizations for you to consider supporting. Be sure to designate each donation for the “June 2016 West Virginia Floods.”

  • Mountain Mission’s The HOPE Project (1620 7th Ave., Charleston, WV) is dedicated to helping people in Kanawha County rebuild homes damaged by the floods. You can learn more at mountainmission.com/flood-relief/.
  • Save the Children worked in three counties directly affected by the flooding and continues to provide health and early education programs for children across the state. You can learn more at Savethechildren.org.
  • The Greater Greenbrier Valley Community Foundation and the Country Roads Recover Project is working with local citizens, business leaders, relief organizations, and government agencies to rebuild communities destroyed by the floods. Please visit countryroadsrf.org to learn more.
  • Local community foundations are also accepting donations. The Nicholas County Community Foundation, the Hinton Area Foundation, and the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation can all use our support.
  • You can also support the Red Cross by texting “WV FLOODS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation or donate to the Salvation Army.
  • And, please help our furry friends by supporting the Greenbrier Humane Society. Learn more at greenbrierhumane.org.

Thank you for all your support!

Posted on August 31, 2016 at 8:08 pm in Disaster Relief, General by Jared Saylor - RSS 2.0

How to Help Louisiana Students and Families

The severe and deadly flooding in Louisiana is the worst natural disaster in the U.S. since Superstorm Sandy. For the survivors, thousands of them have been left with nothing, and need our help. Students are in great need of supplies for the new school year.

Here’s how you can help:

Trial Lawyers Care has created school supply lists for three different age groups—elementary, middle school, and high school—based on requests from affected parish schools. You can either download the supply list and shop locally and mail; or follow the  links below to Amazon school lists pre-populated with the supplies:

View and print the supply document and shop at your retailer of choice locally or online. (Shipping address is below).

Pre-populated Amazon shopping lists:

AAJ/TLC Elementary School Supply List – approximately $105 w/completed backpack: http://amzn.com/sl/5XDK6SM6KZNM

AAJ/TLC Middle School Supply List – approximately $150 w/completed backpack: http://amzn.com/sl/2FS53WY0FE13D

AAJ/TLC High School Supply List – approximately $185 w/completed backpack:    http://amzn.com/sl/2L5TU0IJEWSQ3

If you choose Amazon for your purchase, there are buttons to move all items on the list to your cart at one time, or to select individual items and move them individually to your cart. These options enable you to make changes before purchasing anything.

Please note that we’ve included “clear backpacks” in these lists because many parish schools now require their use. We did not include the scientific calculators at the high school level since this would double the cost of the high school supplies. But, if you are so inclined, we welcome this item as well.

Ship to:

TLC School Supplies
Herman Herman & Katz, LLC
820 O’Keefe Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70113
Tel: 504-581-4892

AAJ’s Trial Lawyers Care Committee member Jennifer Greene, at the Herman firm, is organizing a team of volunteers who will unpack and distribute the shipments to schools in the affected areas in and around Baton Rouge. If you have any questions regarding these supplies, please email Jessie Hoerman at Jess@THLawyer.com or Jennifer Greene at JGreene@hhklawfirm.com.

Giving Locally through the Baton Rouge Area Foundation

Another way to make a difference is by giving to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, http://www.braf.org/louisiana-flood-relief. The Foundation is community-based and has set up a special fund specifically for this flood relief effort, to which Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has been directing contributions.

If you make a donation, please let us know. We’d like to keep track of how we did on this project for the people of Louisiana. Email us at TLC@justice.org.

Thank you!

Posted on August 23, 2016 at 9:27 pm in Disaster Relief, General by kloiacono - RSS 2.0

The Phones Began to Ring: Help for Oklahoma Tornado Survivors

Members of the Oklahoma Association for Justice are working together on a campaign entitled, “Oklahoma Lawyers Care” to help victims of the devastating tornadoes that tore apart communities across central Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Lawyers Care was formed within an hour of the deadly May 20th tornado that left thousands of Central Oklahoma residents without homes and more than two billion dollars in damages in its wake. The OAJ Special Projects Committee decided to raise funds for the Red Cross, as they felt the Red Cross knew best how to assess the immediate and future needs of the victims, and how to effectively allocate resources.

Attorneys in Oklahoma and across the nation donated to the cause. Directors of other State Trial Lawyer organizations also sent funds. At this point, the Oklahoma Association for Justice has raised more than $60,000 for the Red Cross to use for Oklahoma tornado disaster relief.

The group didn’t stop there. The members wanted to do more. They knew families would need more than money, so the Special Projects Committee decided to open a virtual legal help center for the victims of the tornadoes.

In the days following the tornadoes, a website and 24-hour phone line was set up so that storm victims could call in for free, no-strings-attached legal advice. Within hours, the phones began to ring.

This line gives people access to real Oklahoma attorneys who can answer all types of legal questions. Questions may include things as simple as how to replace important documents such as birth certificates and social security cards. Thousands of people might need questions answered about processing insurance claims, questions about family medical leave (FMLA), federal disaster aid, tax relief, etc. Oklahoma Lawyers Care can help these victims find answers to these questions and more.

“The Oklahoma Association for Justice is made up of lawyers who live in communities and actively participate in those communities. The need to help those less fortunate following tragedies such as these is obvious, and our members have, once again, enthusiastically joined together to do their part,” said Past President, Bradley Gungoll.

More information is available at www.oklahomalawyerscare.org

OAJ recently received an award from the Oklahoma State Department of Human Services in honor of their volunteer efforts and community outreach projects. Just last August, the group raised approximately $60,000.00 to provide air conditioners to families across Oklahoma. OAJ is also involved in Lawyers Against Hunger, a group who has made national headlines with their community-based hunger relief efforts.

 

Posted on October 25, 2013 at 5:28 pm in Community Outreach, Disaster Relief, General by kloiacono - RSS 2.0

Helping Tornado Victims in Oklahoma

In the wake of the massive tornado that ripped through an Oklahoma City suburb, members of the Oklahoma Association for Justice have set up a website www.OKLawyersCare.org through which they will offer help to those who have been affected by the tornado.

The site will connect people with a lawyer who can answer whatever legal question they may have, ranging from, “My home is gone, do I still have to make payments?” to, “How do I apply for assistance?”

Making Donations

AAJ member and Oklahoma resident Noble McIntyre reports that he has contacted the local Red Cross and it will use his office as a drop-off point for donations. In addition, those who are able to make financial contributions to the recovery effort can make checks out to the American Red Cross*, and you can specify that the money go toward the Central and Western Oklahoma Region.

Checks can be mailed to:

McIntyre Law, P.C.

8601 South Western Ave.

Oklahoma City, OK 73139

You can also donate online by following this link to the Central and Western Oklahoma Region site.

 

*The American National Red Cross is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions to the Red Cross are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. The Red Cross’ tax I.D. number is 53-0196605.

Posted on May 21, 2013 at 2:28 pm in Disaster Relief, General by kloiacono - RSS 2.0

Texas Firm Issues Donation Challenge to Help Survivors of Explosion

In the days following the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, lawyers at Waco firm Harrison Davis Steakley Morrison, P. C. set up donation challenge to help the families devastated by the blast.

Lawyer Steve Harrison reached out to his fellow Texas trial lawyers, asking them to provide money to help families with car payments, mortgages, insurance premiums, and other bills still have to be paid, even in the wake of a disaster.

“We became aware that a fund has been set up by a local bank in West,” Steve wrote in an email to colleagues.

Steve explained that his firm has issued a challenge to members of the Waco-McLennan County Bar Association and members of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. His firm contributed $1,000 to the fund and will make additional contributions to match the first ten, $1,000 contributions from other lawyers. Immediately, Daniel Horowitz, Frank Herrera, and others responded.

Contributions can be sent to:

West Victims Fund

POINTWEST Bank

200 W. Oak Street

West, TX 76691

(254) 826-5333

Please indicate that that you are a part of the Harrison Davis Steakley Morrison Ten Thousand Dollar Challenge, so that your contribution will be matched.  Questions can also be directed to Steve Harrison at 254-761-3300.

Posted on April 23, 2013 at 4:46 pm in Community Outreach, Disaster Relief by kloiacono - RSS 2.0

NY Trial Lawyers: Door-to-Door Help for Superstorm Survivors

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, New York lawyers David Roth and Kenneth Hoefer organized a grass roots campaign to help residents of the devastated areas of Belle Harbor in the Rockaways and the city of Long Beach, New York. The trial lawyers led the charge to purchase and provide supplies for people who were most in need and could not wait for government intervention.

Roth said that after his office was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks, he pledged that if he ever had the chance to help others after a devastating event, he would.

More than 100 members of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association gave time and money to help. They purchased batteries, headlamps, water, tools, wet-vacs, garbage cans, warm clothing, work gloves, dehumidifiers, cleaning supplies – like bleach pumps to disinfect and kill mold – and more. Plus toys and goodies for the kids. At one Costco they wiped out an entire supply of brooms. Then, they drove their caravan into the flooded cities and went door-to-door, with their children as helpers, to give away supplies and ask residents what else they could get for them. Even when the residents didn’t need anything the lawyers brought hundreds of feet of heroes and would have lunch with the residents adding to the feeling of camaraderie.

When residents returned to evacuated homes some had pieces of torn concrete foundation blocking entryways or lying on their lawns, Brooklyn lawyer John Lonuzzi hooked up a winch to his truck and dragged many of the pieces away. When the lawyers heard that pets were starving, they made a dog food run. There was a severe gas shortage, and when people needed gas for their cars so they could get to work, or gas for their generators so they could have light and stay warm, the lawyers showed up with truckloads of gas cans and distributed gas to cars and generators.

The impact of the volunteer effort was felt by residents and helpers, alike. The lawyers’ children who handed out supplies and candy learned firsthand the power of helping neighbors in need. They learned how rewarding it is to help people, and to do it in a way that preserves victims’ dignity.

Roth and Hoefer decided that the lawyers would go door to door and meet the residents at their homes, instead of having them visit distribution centers to pick through donated goods. Additionally many of the items that lawyers brought, such as gasoline, wet-vacs, headlamps, and heavy duty work gloves, were simply not available anywhere else.

At the start of the neighborhood effort, a woman asked Roth if he and fellow lawyer Justin Blitz were from the church because, in her opinion, they were angels.

Roth responded, “Close, we are trial lawyers, doing what we always do — helping people.”

The Sandy survivors all asked what could they do in return, and the response was the same, “When the subject comes up about trial lawyers you can say, ‘I met some trial lawyers – they ain’t so bad.’”

Residents were quick to reply, “We will do way more than that!” and gushed their thanks to the lawyers and their families.

 

Posted on March 15, 2013 at 6:30 pm in Community Outreach, Disaster Relief, General by adeeley - RSS 2.0

Helping After Hurricane Sandy

The American Association for Justice is encouraging its members to assist people who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. You can read the message to members here.

AAJ has prepared a tip list for consumers: How to Protect Your Rights After a Natural Disaster.

Right now, you can make donations through the Red Cross. As we learn more, we can share information about more specific areas of need and places to donate. You can find additional links to organizations, including legal services information, here.

 

Posted on November 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm in Disaster Relief, General by kloiacono - RSS 2.0