Justice First, LLP










Jenny Huang

Attorney-at-Law


Jessica Arena

Justice First Fellow


 

Jenny Chi-Chin Huang founded Justice First in 2005, and established a unique practice dedicated to public interest law.  Jenny’s civil rights practice includes employment discrimination, police misconduct, prisoners litigation, and hate crimes.  She also serves as an appellate attorney for the First District Appellate Project where she represents indigent and juvenile defendants in their criminal appeals.

Jenny has dedicated her entire career to working in public interest law.  In 2008, she was named Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow by Harvard Law School, where she will advise law students about legal careers in public service.  From 2001-04, Jenny worked as a Staff Attorney at Public Advocates, Inc. in San Francisco, on statewide, class-action litigation in the areas of educational equity, employment discrimination, community economic development, and transportation equity.  Jenny also supervised the Student Program at Public Advocates, where she mentored more than forty law students.

From 1998-2001, Jenny worked as an associate for Koob & Magoolaghan, a plaintiff’s civil rights law firm in Manhattan, where she served as lead attorney on several state and federal cases in the areas of prisoners’ rights, employment discrimination, and other areas of constitutional law.  Jenny also supervised the student intern program at Koob & Magoolaghan, where she had the opportunity to mentor over twenty law students.

Jenny graduated from New York University School of Law in 1996, where she served as an Arthur Garfield Hays Fellow and received the Moncrieffe Convocation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Racism & the Law.  After graduation from law school, she clerked for Judges Esther Tomljanovich and Sandra Gardebring on the Supreme Court of Minnesota from 1996-97, and for United States Federal District Judge Michael Davis from 1997-98. 

In addition to her law practice, Jenny is actively engaged in community service.  She has dedicated her time to improving diversity on the bench by serving on the Judiciary Appointments Evaluation Committee for the Alameda County Bar Association and on the Judiciary Committee for the Asian American Bar Association.  Jenny also served as co-chair for the Bay Area Chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.

In her personal life, Jenny is a fanatic inline skater, she enjoys the outdoors, and loves to travel. 

Significant Cases

Almódovar v. Andrews, et al., Case No. 00-Civ-0599S (W.D.N.Y. 2002) – served as lead counsel on behalf of Latina female who, during her incarceration in state women’s prison, complained against male correction officers who engaged in sexual misconduct with female inmates.  Claims asserted on behalf of Plaintiff for brutal assault by prison guards who retaliated against her for bringing complaints.  Confidential settlement was obtained after conducting minimal discovery.  

Battiste v. Artuz, 99 Civ. 0503 (S.D.N.Y. 1999) – served as co-counsel in civil rights action on
behalf of mother whose incarcerated son was denied adequate psychiatric care for his serious mental illness, which resulted in his death by suicide.  Obtained settlement of $350,000 after conducting minimal discovery.

Darensburg v. Metropolitan Transportation Comm., Case No. C-05-01597 (N.D. Cal.) – served as co-counsel developing class action lawsuit with a coalition of bus riders, labor unions, and civil rights advocates.  Federal class action was subsequently filed and is pending against the Bay Area transportation commission on behalf of bus riders of color.  Claims assert that transportation funds are unlawfully channeled to favor BART and Caltrain commuters, who are typically Caucasian and middle-class commuters, while denying equitable funding to bus services that disproportionately serve communities of color.

Davidson, et al. v. Artuz, et al., 98 Civ 6019 (S.D.N.Y.) – served as co-counsel in civil rights case arising from the death of a 29‑year‑old inmate who, while serving lengthy consecutive sentences, suffered from an asthma attack and died as a result of prison’s refusal to respond to the vociferous pleas for help from the inmate population, and their deliberate indifference to plaintiff=s serious medical needs.  The claims, which included claims for loss of the parent‑child relationship for plaintiff's mother and three children, settled for $900,000.

Garcia v. Wallack Management, et al. (2001) – served as lead counsel on behalf of Puerto Rican doorman who worked in upper eastside apartment building in Manhattan, who was banned from speaking Spanish at work, at the request of the building’s wealthy residents.  Obtained confidential settlement before the Dept. of Human Rights which included monetary and non-monetary damages.

Jackson v. Johnson, 118 F. Supp.2d 278 (N.D.N.Y. 2000), aff=d in part, app. dismissed in part, 2001 WL 735902 (2nd Cir. 2001) – served as co-counsel in civil rights action on behalf of 14-year old who was subjected to two violent restraints while incarcerated in youth facility, which left him with permanent brain damage and quadriplegia.  Case settled for over $9 million and resulted in a new policy adopted by Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who prohibited his office from future use of race-based mortality tables in assessing the damages of African-American plaintiffs who sue the State.  Case also resulted in the implementation of a new physical restraint technique adopted throughout all youth facilities in NY to assure that no other youth would not suffer such injuries.

State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co. v. Low, 32 Cal.4th 1029 (Cal. Supreme Ct 2004) – served as co-counsel in action against insurance companies to enforce the public’s right to review redlining data that would reveal whether insurers are discriminating against consumers based on the race, income, or the zip code in which they live.  Obtained landmark ruling by California Supreme Court which confirmed the public’s right to access such data, even if it resulted in the disclosure of trade secrets.  As a result of her work on this case, Jenny accepted the California Reinvestment Coalition’s “Screaming Eagle Award” for her organization’s work on this case.

Stern v. Resnick, 99 Civ. 10053 (S.D.N.Y. 1999) – served as lead counsel in civil rights action
on behalf of Chinese American female owner of Chinese restaurant which catered to Latino, day
laborer clientele.  Obtained preliminary injunction against landlord who sought to evict Plaintiff,
at the request and with the support of the mayor and police of Mount Kisco.  Subsequently obtained pre-discovery and confidential settlement.

Williams et al. v. State of California, et al., Case No. 312236 (Cal. Super. Ct. 2004) – served as co-counsel in class action lawsuit filed on behalf of thousands of public school students from low-performing schools in California.  Obtained landmark settlement including critical package of legislation providing for new standards, additional resources, greater accountability, and state intervention.  Settlement resulted in the provision of more than $900 million towards improving the quality of education for California’s poor and minority students. 

Yee v. San Francisco Police Department (2005) – served as lead counsel on behalf of female officer with over 20 years of experience at police department.  Claimant was repeatedly ordered to perform secretarial duties, after which she complained and was subsequently terminated from her position and transferred to a less desirable job.  Case settled by way of confidential settlement before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, prior to filing litigation.

 

 

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