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John Bair
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Public Justice Gives 2015 Illuminating Injustice Award to Rosa Moreno

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Justice is always a worthwhile goal. A just world is a good world, and who doesn’t want to live in a good world? The quest for universal justice in our society will forever be ongoing and we must all strive to do our part. That’s the mission behind Public Justice, a coalition of trial attorneys dedicated to fighting injustice in all its forms and demanding accountability from people, governments, and corporations who violate others basic human rights. Public Justice utilizes creative litigation, public education, and innovative work with the broader public interest community to affect positive change and help promote justice in all its forms.

Every year, Public Justice nominates one person to receive their Illuminating Injustice award. This award is designed to help someone who has suffered a grievous injury, but received only a partial recovery. The Illuminating Injustice recognition is intended to highlight a specific case and Public Justice believes that the Illuminating Injustice process helps raise awareness of these all too common situations and thus helps promote their overarching mission of increasing justice.

This year’s recipient of the Illuminating Injustice is Rosa Moreno. Moreno, a single mother of 6 children, lost both her hands during her overnight shift cutting metal for flatscreen television parts at a factory in Reynosa, Mexico. As Rosa discusses in a moving editorial published in the Guardian online, this avoidable tragedy was the direct result of unfair and unreasonable demands from her supervisor. She was forced to work on a dangerous machine and pressured to increase the pace of her labor to unsafe levels. When the unthinkable happened and the machine she was working on fell onto her hands, she was trapped for over ten minutes. When finally released her hands were “flattened like tortillas” and they both had to be amputated.

Before the accident, Moreno worked 6 days a week in the factory, earning 5,200 pesos ($400) per month, barely enough to support her family. After she was released from the hospital, Moreno wondered how she would ever be able to work again.

In an attempt achieve justice Moreno turned to telling her story on television, which led her to Ed Krueger, a retired minister, who in turn led her to an Austin lawyer

That lawyer was Scott Hendler from the law firm Hendler Lyons Flores in Austin, TX. He took the case on pro bono and filed a suit against LG Electronics, who had contracted with Moreno’s factory.

Hendler, like many trial lawyers across this country, understood Moreno’s case for what it was: an absolute miscarriage of justice. A woman who wanted nothing more than to be able to support her family was shunted around a broken system and treated with malignant indifference. Due to his belief in serving the greater good, Hendler carried the torch for all trial lawyers who are willing to stand up and fight for what is right and just.

Although the suit was ultimately dismissed on a technicality, the exposure put Moreno on Public Justice’s radar, and ultimately led to her being presented with the Illuminating Injustice award. Selflessly, she hopes that her story will help shine a light on others wrestling with similar plights and that “someone, somewhere” will ensure that such atrocities cease to exist.

I am proud to know Scott, and I’m sure our Injury Board members across the country appreciate this amazing story.