Four Brooks Pierce attorneys recently received the 2014 Pro Bono Award from the Greensboro Bar Association (GBA). Kyle Woosley, Nicole Crawford, Alex Elkan and Kim Marston were recognized for their representation of Mary’s House, a Greensboro nonprofit that provides housing and support services for homeless mothers recovering from substance abuse and their children.
The GBA board of directors unanimously approved the recognition. Legal Aid of North Carolina, which partnered with Brooks Pierce on the case, recommended the four attorneys receive the award.
"The GBA is always thankful when local attorneys and law firms step up for the greater good," said Jim Bryan, president of the GBA and an attorney at Nexsen Pruet. "On behalf of the GBA, I compliment Kyle, Nicole, Alex and Kim for their tireless pursuit of justice and dedication to pro bono service in the community. They are deserving recipients of the 2014 Pro Bono Award."
Mary’s House had received federal funding under an emergency shelter grant program since 2005; however, in 2010 and 2011, the state of North Carolina denied the Mary’s House grant applications. Mary’s House believed the state’s denial decisions violated its rights and its residents’ rights under federal and state law, and it went to Legal Aid for help. After researching the legal issues and implications, Legal Aid decided to represent the Mary’s House residents and reached out to Brooks Pierce for assistance. The subsequent litigation against the state lasted more than three years and involved two contested cases in the state office of administrative hearings, a discrimination lawsuit filed in federal district court, and an administrative complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Earlier this year, Mary’s House agreed to a settlement, which included a lump-sum payment of $72,500 from the state, an amount large enough to fully replace the funds that had been denied the nonprofit since 2010.