Last year, she was successful in helping several clients who were referred to the clinic for legal assistance, including those with divorce cases, an elder guardianship case, and a case involving a client with an improperly served Protection from Abuse order.
Her experience also included what she referred to as one of her “bucket list” items: holding a slumlord accountable and obtaining a $50,000 judgment against him.
“The property (where the clients lived) had a leaking roof, standing water in the basement, and mold everywhere,” Lysaght said. “The mold was so bad our clients couldn’t use their furnace. In addition, the slumlord didn’t provide potable drinking water. Then, the slumlord evicted (the clients) as retaliation for asking him to fix things. I was able to find case law for each of the slumlord’s breaches against the warranty of habitability.”
The clients won the case, but it has since been appealed, she added, but she plans to take it to trial in the near future when she returns to work at the clinic in the spring of 2023 and plans to seek damages in excess of $50,000.
An additional case she plans to see through conclusion when she returns involves a client who has been stuck in a failed marriage for decades. “I know that my client feels like they have an elephant on their shoulders. That elephant will soon be lifted. I can’t wait to tell the client I have received the divorce decree and they are finally divorced. My client can start a new life and truly begin their healing process.”
Even with this heavy case load, Lysaght had another challenge to work through, after she suffered a serious leg fracture earlier this year. That led to extensive surgery and left her wheelchair bound for several weeks. Despite her health challenges, she has kept in touch with the clinic and stay updated on the cases she is handling.
“Being able to continue my work at the clinic helped my recovery because it allowed me to get my mind off my leg and onto more productive things,” she said. “I was so grateful for how the clinic responded when I was injured. I appreciated how I was treated and not having to worry about my work. I believe I was able to gain even more experience because of my extended time at the clinic.”
Interview was conducted in Fall 2022.
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