Business — 23 July 2012
Tennessee Justice Center Awarded Grant from American Bar Association

Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the American Bar Association (ABA), a distinguished national professional organization for attorneys. The ABA Section of Litigation Justice Assistance Fund Grant will allow TJC to expand its efforts to engage and partner with Tennessee lawyers and law firms.

TJC is a non-profit public interest law and advocacy firm focusing on access to health care. TJC gives priority to policy issues and civil cases in which the most basic necessities of life are at stake and where advocacy can benefit needy families statewide. Every day, TJC helps some of Tennessee’s most vulnerable families access the health care that they need.

The Tennessee Bar Association and Tennessee Supreme Court have instituted programs encouraging private bar attorneys to support public interest work and provide pro bono services. In keeping with the spirit of these initiatives, TJC welcomes involvement from the private bar. Attorneys can partner with TJC by providing financial support as well as by offering free legal services to TJC’s low-income clients. The Justice Assistance Fund grant will allow TJC will build and expand relationships with private bar attorneys and firms. Strengthening these partnerships will not only benefit TJC’s clients, but it will also help attorneys answer the called raised by Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark “to devote professional time and civic influence on behalf of our brothers and sisters who need our help.”

Michele Johnson, Managing Attorney of the Tennessee Justice Center said, “We are extremely grateful for the American Bar Association Section of Litigation’s grant to help us take our partnership with Tennessee’s legal community to the next level. Our clients have benefited from the dedicated support of many private bar attorneys through TJC’s sixteen year history. When lawyers hear about the issues our clients face every day, most of them want to help. This grant will allow us to engage many more lawyers around the state to share the opportunity to support this important work.”

The impact of TJC’s work and the importance of the funding provided by this grant are demonstrated in the story of one family and child helped by TJC:

Fifth grader Darius Parker started missing school and football practice due to chronic headaches and severe weight loss. Soon after, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. TennCare told Darius he would lose coverage the day before he was to have his brain tumor removed. Without insurance, the hospital would not do the operation. Darius’ mom called TJC for help. TJC found that TennCare had made a mistake, and we helped Ms. Parker file an appeal. We also contacted the State on her behalf. Darius was able to keep his TennCare during the appeal so that he could receive his life-saving surgery. The surgery went smoothly, and Darius went home with his mom about a week later. The State reviewed his case and agreed that Darius should be able to keep TennCare. Thanks to Ms. Parker’s dedication and TJC’s advocacy, Darius was able to stay insured and get all the follow-up care he needed to get healthy after his surgery.

TJC was established in 1996 and is located at 301 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, TN. For additional information about the Tennessee Justice Center and its services, visit www.tnjustice.org or call 615-255-0331.

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For additional information: Michele Johnson, 615-255-0331, or mjohnson@tnjustice.org

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