M.C. was a foreign national employed in one of the World Bank institutions in Washington, D.C. She came to me when she was sued in federal court in the District of Columbia on civil counts related to human trafficking. The case arose from her efforts to assist a colleague obtain a housekeeper from their native country. M.C. used her privileges at the World Bank to obtain a visa for a young woman to be her employee, but when the woman arrived in the U.S., M.C.’s friend (who had paid travel and visa expenses of the woman) became her employer, until their relationship soured. A law firm engaged in pro bono work represented the erstwhile housekeeper, and they sued both M.C. and the colleague who had employed the woman.
I first obtained legal representation for the work colleague, who had the financial resources to pay for an attorney. I then agreed to represent M.C., whose resources were more limited, as a legal adviser without entering the case as her lawyer in federal court. I drafted several motions that M.C. filed herself and had her join in various motions made by her co-defendant’s counsel, so that M.C. could obtain the benefits of their legal work. After drafting a strong motion to dismiss and speaking to the co-defendant’s counsel, I advised both defendants that this was the best time to start negotiating with the plaintiff’s law firm for a settlement.
We achieved a settlement acceptable to all sides, and especially to my client M.C. Instead of facing a lawsuit with the possibility of a judgment against her in six figures or more, we settled for a much smaller amount. Most importantly for M.C., we obtained a generous payment schedule that allowed her to pay out a small amount every month over a longer period. As a result of being sued, she had taken a medical leave from work to deal with medical problems of her own and of family members. Her income had diminished, so that the small monthly payments we negotiated were the only realistic way she could carry out the settlement agreement. The plaintiff and her law firm dismissed their lawsuit with prejudice.