Kemnitzer, Barron & Krieg Named 'Ambassors of Justice'
California Rural Legal Assistance has honored attorneys Bryan Kemnitzer, Nancy Barron, and Bill Krieg of the law firm Kemnitzer, Barron & Krieg with its 2014 Ambassadors of Justice Award. The award was presented to the consumer law firm on November 5, 2014, at its annual San Francisco Fiesta held at San Francisco's AT&T Park.
Accepting the award from Executive Director, Jose Padilla, founding partner Nancy Barron emphasized the synergy between the mission of CRLA and the work of the private bar in prosecuting consumer class actions. Kemnitzer, Barron & Krieg specializes in bringing cases against the car industry for defective products and against the finance industry for deceptive practices. Kemnitzer, Barron & Krieg also employs the Unruh Civil Rights Act and financial elder abuse statutes, to enhance remedies available under financial and consumer statutes.
The use of the class action device to enforce laws enacted for the public good, and especially for the benefit of vulnerable populations, is a form of collective redress that promotes economic civil rights for millions of Californians, Nancy Barron explained. This form of collective redress in the court system is under attack by corporations and businesses that benefit from exploiting the poor and uneducated, those with little choice, those without a voice.
The consumer rights movement was born of the labor rights movement, because that which can be earned in the workplace can be stolen in the marketplace. The great civil rights leader of the 1960s, Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, recently said that economic justice - including consumer rights in the form of truth in lending, fair credit, fair debt practices, freedom from fraud, financial literacy, and fair access to the court system - is the civil rights battlefield in the new millennium.
Since its founding in 1966, California Rural Legal Assistance has grown to provide urgent and essential education and representation to more than 29,000 individuals per year. It does so through its 23 regional offices in more than 22 California counties. CRLA serves an array of clients including its traditional base of farmworkers, but also individuals with disabilities, unemployed, immigrants, children, seniors and individuals with limited English proficiency.
CRLA staff conducts litigation, offers outreach and legal education on the most pressing issues facing low-income communities: housing, employment, education, workplace safety, discrimination, access to healthcare, domestic violence and sexual harassment in the workplace. These are basic human needs. These are basic human rights.
Although the percent of the population living below the poverty level in California is among the highest in the country, CRLA finds reason to celebrate. Their outreach is broad, and getting broader. Their advocacy is effective, and their influence is on the rise. You can read more about CRLA and the Ambassadors of Justice Award here.