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Jordan Stoner

Legal Assistant/Intake Specialist

Jordan Stoner serves as a Legal Assistant/Intake Specialist providing support for Legal Aid’s Intake and Pro Bono Programs. They manage the intake phone lines and ensure that callers and applicants are connected with the resources they need. Jordan also staffs Legal Aid’s walk-in intake hours and assists with the processing of applications for assistance. Prior to joining Legal Aid in February 2020, Jordan worked as an Assistant Paralegal at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP where they focused on business immigration matters, including employment-based visas and green-card applications. They also served as an Assistant Citizen Outreach Director at Fund for the Public Interest in D.C., a non-profit that runs public fundraising and grassroots operations for progressive non-profit organizations. Additionally, Jordan has volunteered as a Shelter Volunteer at the Family Crisis Center in Prince George’s County, Maryland, assisting women and children affected by domestic violence.  Jordan graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a B.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice and a Certificate in Women’s Studies.

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EDUCATION

B.A., University of Maryland

CONTACT

Email: jstoner@legalaiddc.org
Phone: (202) 851-3384
Fax: (202) 727-2132

Gloria Alston

Ward 8 resident Gloria Alston received disability benefits and food stamps when she came to Legal Aid for help. She also had a voucher that covered a portion of her rent, but the DC Housing Authority had recently terminated its contract with her landlord because the apartment repeatedly failed inspection.

There had been multiple sewage floods in the apartment, mold and mildew growing in the carpet, and a bedbug infestation. Due to the landlord’s negligence and failure to fix these problems, Ms. Alston was paying the price.

“They made me feel like family.”

“The bedbugs would crawl all over me, and the mice would crawl in the room, and there was a big hole in my wall in my bedroom where the mice would come out,” Ms. Alston said.

When Ms. Alston came to Legal Aid’s Southeast office at the Big Chair in Anacostia she was connected to Kirkland & Ellis litigation associates Pat Brown and Paul Suitter. Through a unique partnership with Legal Aid, Kirkland & Ellis not only financially supports our Anacostia office but also has its attorneys conduct initial intake interviews with prospective Legal Aid clients and provide extended pro bono representation.

Once Pat did some investigation into the conditions in Ms. Alston’s apartment, they decided to file a civil action for negligence against Ms. Alston’s landlord – a potentially time-consuming and resource-intensive action. In the end, the team’s zealous advocacy resulted in a favorable settlement for Ms. Alston, enabling her to move into a new apartment free of bedbugs and mold.

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Fatoumata Niang

Fatoumata Niang and her ex-husband were married less than a year before separating. Originally from Senegal, Ms. Niang had limited English proficiency while her ex-husband is well-educated with a professional career. Their marriage was rife with abuse as Ms. Niang’s ex-husband consistently questioned her intelligence, controlled her finances and social life, and physically abused her.

After Ms. Niang became pregnant, her ex-husband’s behavior worsened. He never attended a prenatal appointment with her and attempted to postpone her labor induction because of his work schedule, even as the doctor warned that a delay posed a significant risk to Ms. Niang’s life and the life of their child.

Enter Maryam Casbarro of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, who agreed to represent Ms. Niang in the divorce case, and the child support and custody battle of their eight-month-old baby. Maryam was steadfast in her support of Ms. Niang, even briefly returning from parental leave so she could represent Ms. Niang at trial.

“That’s why I’m here smiling.”

Both Maryam and Ms. Niang’s resilience paid off. The judge granted a divorce and awarded child support and custody on terms that were quite favorable to Ms. Niang. While both parties have joint physical and legal custody of their child, Ms. Niang has tie-breaking authority in the event of an impasse on matters relating to childcare, education, or healthcare.

In spite of the chaos, Ms. Niang has taken control of her destiny. As Maryam put it, “From start to finish, I remember when I met Fatou she hardly spoke English, and now she’s enrolled in college, she’s paying all her bills, she’s no longer dependent on her husband. She’s a leader in her community.”

**If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and needs help, contact DC SAFE or call Legal Aid at (202) 628-1161 for assistance.

Get Help 24/7 from the National Sexual Violence Hotline at 1-800-656-4673**

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Costello Tobias

Costello Tobias is in his early 60s and can no longer work due to his physical health conditions. He has arthritis in both of his shoulders, high blood pressure (which has been difficult to manage with medication and frequently makes him feel agitated), pain in his knees lower back, and he suffers from symptomatic epilepsy. His seizures come without warning and sometimes make him black out.

“Go down to Legal Aid! They’re going to help you.”

Prior to the worsening of his conditions, Mr. Tobias was very active – he worked as a phlebotomist for 18 years, and played basketball or went running every day. Now when he tries to get outside and walk he can only go short distances. Sometimes even when he is lying or sitting down, his body seizes up in pain.

When Mr. Tobias applied for SSDI benefits he was denied, so he appealed the decision, requesting a Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Shortly thereafter Mr. Tobias came to Legal Aid. We referred him to Daniel Wolf and Alyssa Bonesteel of Gilbert LLP. They enthusiastically agreed to represent Mr. Tobias. At the hearing, the ALJ determined that Mr. Tobias is disabled and awarded him full benefits, thereby giving him the insurance benefits he needs and is entitled to by law.

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Linda Murph

In August 2017, Legal Aid partnered with Hogan Lovells and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice to file a class action lawsuit alleging systemic problems with the District’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps. Essentially, we asserted that thousands of DC residents had gone hungry because of the District’s mismanagement.

Linda Murph is a designated class representative in the lawsuit. Ms. Murph moved back to the District of Columbia in 2009 with ambitions of working as a professional security officer for the Smithsonian museums. She has a limited fixed income and relies on food stamps to make ends meet. In 2017, despite going in person to a government service center to renew her benefits, she stopped receiving her food stamps, without notice. She went for months without them due to the agency’s failure to process her recertification application.

“The bigger picture is bigger than me. I’m not the only one in this situation.”

Ms. Murph with attorney Kaitlin Welborn, part of the team from Hogan Lovells partnering with Legal Aid on the lawsuit.

The case continues to progress. In May 2018, US District Court Judge Christopher Cooper issued a Preliminary Injunction Order requiring the District to process food stamp recertification applications within the time periods required by law. As the Judge succinctly put it: “The harms described in these affidavits—forgoing food or other necessities— are clearly irreparable in nature.”

Judge Cooper also denied the District’s motion to dismiss, holding that Ms. Murph and her fellow plaintiffs had standing to proceed because their benefits could be improperly delayed or terminated again in the future.

Recently, Ms. Murph was hired as professional security officer at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Her full time employment has allowed her to cut back on the amount of assistance she receives.

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Nicole and Tano Washington

Several years ago, Nicole Washington* applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for her ten-year-old son, Tano,* who had been experiencing debilitating seizures. He would become unusually aggressive before and after the seizures, and as a result he was struggling in school.

When the Social Security Administration denied Tano’s application, Ms. Washington sought help from the Legal Aid public benefits unit. Legal Aid referred Ms. Washington and Tano to Paul Thompson of Cooley. Paul was all in: he accompanied the Washingtons to medical appointments and interviewed Tano’s physicians to gather evidence of his disability. Paul also worked with Tano’s school to develop an Individualized Education Plan to address the impact of his seizures on his memory.

At the hearing, Paul demonstrated the severity of Tano’s condition. Three years after Ms. Washington first applied for benefits, the judge issued a favorable decision awarding Tano SSI benefits, including back benefits, providing life-changing support for Ms. Washington and her son.

*Names have been changed to protect the clients’ identities.

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Alesia Mainasara

Alesia Mainasara’s apartment, where she lived with her two children, was in a chronic state of disrepair. Her heater was broken all winter, and her air conditioner was broken all summer. Mold had been growing on her leaky walls, and the apartment was infested with insects and even geckos. Fed up with her landlord’s refusal to remedy the problems, Ms. Mainasara began withholding rent. Rather than simply fixing the problems in the unit, as required by law, her landlord sued to evict the family.

Legal Aid referred the case to Stephen DeGenaro and Joe Cardosi of Jones Day, one of 14 law firms currently participating in the citywide Housing Right to Counsel Project.

Stephen and Joe fought zealously for Ms. Mainasara, engaging opposing counsel on a weekly basis and thoroughly documenting both the substandard conditions of her home and the inadequacy of her landlord’s belated repair attempts. As a result, Ms. Mainasara was victorious on all fronts. She and her children kept their home and housing subsidy, and her landlord made the comprehensive repairs they needed. On top of that, the landlord waived more than $2,000 in alleged outstanding rent and late fees.

“They fought and fought and fought and fought until the got a good agreement.”

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Donna Williams

Donna Williams is a single, working mother with a 16-year-old daughter. After saving for many years, she was able to buy a home in Congress Heights. On the very night of the closing, Ms. Williams and her daughter were so overjoyed they slept on the floor of their new, not-yet-furnished home.

Unfortunately, Ms. Williams fell behind on her mortgage payments when a blood clot left her with unforeseen medical expenses. She eventually hired a law firm that promised to help her avoid foreclosure, including through litigation. But when her lender filed a foreclosure action, her lawyers failed to appear in court or do anything to defend her case.

One day, a stranger came to Ms. Williams’ door and informed her that he had purchased her home at a foreclosure auction. She soon learned that the sale had occurred after a default judgment was entered against her in the foreclosure case. The law firm she had retained, and been paying for a year, had wholly failed her.

“You buy your home. You own your home. You don’t want to lose your home.”

Ms. Williams came to Legal Aid for help. First, Legal Aid prevented Ms. Williams from being forced out of her home by the auction purchaser. Next, consumer law attorney Jennifer Lavallee successfully argued that Ms. Williams had never been properly served in the case. The judge agreed, vacating the default judgment and reversing the foreclosure sale. Legal Aid then helped Ms. Williams secure a loan modification that lowered her interest rate and brought her mortgage to current status.

Finally, Legal Aid volunteer staff attorney Tom Papson and pro bono attorney and former Servant of Justice Awards honoree Andy Marks helped Ms. Williams bring a malpractice action against her previous lawyers. That matter has since settled, and Ms. Williams and her daughter can again enjoy peace of mind about the place they so proudly call home.

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Karen Bryant

When Karen Bryant came to Legal Aid she was at risk of losing the home where she and her disabled sister reside. Unbeknownst to her, the home that she inherited when her mother passed away had been auctioned off in a tax foreclosure sale. Although the mortgage was paid off decades ago and Ms. Bryant continued to pay her property taxes year after year, D.C.’s Office of Tax Revenue had assessed back taxes and penalties, determining that the home was not entitled to receive the homestead deduction after Ms. Bryant’s mother (the then-record owner) passed away—even though Ms. Bryant was the legal heir to the home and had been living there continuously. Miller & Chevalier’s Andrew Howlett and George Hani (not pictured) helped Ms. Bryant stave off foreclosure—she is now the recorded owner of the home receiving the benefit of the homestead deduction.

Keisha Jones

Keisha Jones, a domestic violence survivor, already had secured a Civil Protection Order (CPO) against the father of her two young children when Legal Aid referred her to Kirkland & Ellis attorneys Michael Podberesky and Eric Nguyen. Ms. Jones sought a permanent custody order to provide her and her children safety and stability long after the one-year CPO expired. On the day the custody trial was scheduled, the Kirkland team was able to settle the case favorably for Ms. Jones, providing her with sole legal custody and primary physical custody of her children. The father has visitation with the children twice a week.

COVID-19 UPDATE:

We are open, but offices are closed to the public, please apply for services online or by the phone Estamos abierto, pero las oficinas están cerradas al público, por favor solicite los servicios en línea o por teléfono