Throughout September, Dothan Staff Attorney, Kristy Kirkland, worked across many of the legal topics for which LSA services cover. The diverse amount of support offered by Kirkland to her clients created a myriad of positive results for our community.
In one case, a victim of intimate-partner violence was being harassed by her ex-boyfriend through the court. The abuser had become angry, struck the client, and then attempted to prevent her from fleeing in her car. Kirkland was able to have the PFA the client’s abuser had taken out on her dismissed, while securing the client her own PFA to protect her. Both the client and her abuser were arrested on domestic violence charges, despite the client’s PFA stating her actions were clearly made in self-defense. The prosecution would not back down, aggressively pursuing charges against Kirkland’s client. Shortly before trial Dothan prosecutors offered both parties the opportunity of deferred prosecution – requiring a conditional guilty plea, hours of anger management counseling, and a costly bill upwards of $1,500. Kirkland’s client refused to accept, as she was the victim of a violent crime; but her abusive ex-boyfriend took the deal. At trial Kirkland argued self-defense, and the judge found the client not guilty. The client is currently in school pursuing a profession which requires background checks. Not only did Kirkland help the client avoid costly fees and a sense of defeat, evading the guilty charge also protects this client’s future career. The client will also soon be pursuing a full expungement with the help of LSA.
In another case, Kirkland helped a client find much-needed financial security. The client’s pay was being garnished under a default judgement prompted by Southeast Health. The client was entirely unaware of the issue, as they were never served a lawsuit. Kirkland was able to have the garnishment dismissed and outgoing funds returned to the client. Beyond the scope of the case, Kirkland and others will be pursuing action to eradicate a dangerous waiver provision in this major hospital’s admission forms that allows these garnishments to happen.
Kirkland also helped several clients avoid homelessness by ensuring the completion of their requests for emergency rental assistance funds. In one such case the client reached out to LSA looking for help with an unlawful detainer filed due to a default in rent. Kirkland filed a motion to dismiss, and it was discovered that the landlord was willing to work with Emergency Rental Assistance Alabama, and that she had filed for assistance for other tenants. Payment was guaranteed by ERAA and the landlord filed to dismiss the unlawful detainer – helping the client catch up with close to $6,000 of rent owed and additional court costs.
For all of this and so much more, Kristy Kirkland is our September 2021 Advocate of the Month. Thank you, Kristy, for all you do!
If you are facing eviction in Alabama, visit LSA’s tenant help site for information on all available options and resources: www.alhelpstenants.org