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  • Salter v. PHA, federal court order prohibits PHA from terminating Section 8 housing benefits, when landlord has commenced an eviction action.
  • Pleasant v. Evers, federal court provides money damages to tenants who were required to pay 3 months rent in order to stay in their homes during eviction appeals.


  • CLS’ challenge to PECO/Unicom Corporation merger leads to a settlement agreement, which further upgrades PECO’s low-income customer assistance programs, with a focus on the poorest of the poor.
  • CLS makes “predatory lending” a household word and develops nationally recognized practice that saves hundreds of homes from foreclosure.
  • CLS files eleven civil rights complaints against PA’s Dept. of Public Welfare, alleging discrimination against people with limited English proficiency at welfare offices and in welfare-to-work programs. Advocacy on behalf of immigrants and communities with limited English proficiency is an important part of CLS’ Language Access Project (LAP), initiated in 1999.


  • In Re: Algon Associate – Bankruptcy Court orders rehabilitation of a large deteriorated apartment complex.
  • CLS engages the State in broad negotiations over implementation of the welfare reform work requirements, helping to avoid massive cash assistance cutoffs, to preserve access to education, and to enforce employment rights. Public jobs programs, rather than workfare programs, are created.


  •  In re First Union Merger, challenge to merger of CoreStates and First Union leads to agreement benefiting low-income banking consumers.
  •  Deregulation of Electricity, CLS represents Consumers Education and Protective Association and Tenant Action Group (TAG), and wins concessions from PECO, significant rate reductions and strengthens low-income customer assistance programs.
  •  Farley v. PHA, Third Circuit holds PHA grievance hearing awards can be enforced in federal court.
  • Pleasant v. Evers, federal court holds unconstitutional court rule requiring tenants to pay 3-months rent to stay in their dwellings during an appeal of an eviction order.
  • CLS launches Community Economic Development Unit (CED), staffed by Skadden Fellow, to assist nonprofit organizations and micro-businesses in low-income neighborhoods.


  • Success Against All Odds v. DPW, Court Order prevents elimination of the Child Support Pass-Through. The legislature then amends the state statute to specifically provide for Pass-Through.


  • Storm of welfare “reform” results in passage of Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) legislation; CLS takes lead in advocacy regarding implementation of Pennsylvania welfare policies and procedures. CLS’ advocacy preserves benefits for entire groups of clients, such as cash and medical assistance for immigrants and food stamps for single childless persons.


  • CLS, representing Tenant Action Group (TAG), plays key role in City Council passing ordinances requiring lead hazard disclosure and prohibiting retaliatory eviction of tenants after a lead hazard has been found.


  • Averly v. City of Phila., court order reforms City's psychological examination of police candidates.  250 African Americans are given new opportunities to become police officers.
  • Action Alliance v. Snider, federal court orders sweeping revision to the administration of the Medicare Buy-In Program leading to 12,000 new beneficiaries and $6.2 million in refunds.


  • Williams v. PHA, federal court requires hearing procedure for tenants denied eligibility for Section 8.
  • Brooks v. PHA, federal court orders PHA to provide additional monies for public housing tenants who pay for utilities in common areas.
  • Rosetti v. Shalala, Third Circuit decision leads to Social Security Admin.'s adoption of new standards for assessing disability caused by HIV and AIDS.
  • Bonds v. White, federal court order improves child support collection and distribution in interstate and intercounty cases.
  • Bozzi v. Shalala, court orders redeterminations of eligibility for hundreds of widows improperly denied Social Security disability benefits.


  • Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, after national review of legal services programs, concludes that CLS is the most successful legal services provider in the nation. See Allen Redlich, "Who Will Litigate Constitutional Issues for the Poor?", 19 HASTINGS CONST. L.Q. 745, 749 (1992).


  • DPW v. Davenport, Supreme Court upholds discharge of criminal restitution orders as debts.
  • Sullivan v. Zebley, Supreme Court holds that the method of determining disability for children under the Supplemental Security Income program is illegal and orders the Social Security Admin. to rewrite regulations.  The case is the largest class action ever won against SSA.  CLS establishes the Advocating on Behalf of Children Project (ABC) to address the needs of disabled children.
  • Montgomery v. Green, court orders sheriff to give notice to member of a judgment debtor's household on procedures to protect their household from possessions from sheriff's sale.
  • Vance v. Sullivan, federal court invalidates "Essential Persons" provision of the Social Security Act, resulting in increased welfare awards.
  • Baksalary v. Smith, federal court rules that worker's compensation benefits can no longer be terminated or reduced without prior notice to recipients and an opportunity to be heard.

Early 1990s

  • CLS takes lead in confronting scourge of fraudulent trade schools and obtains millions of dollars of student loan cancellations.
  • Elderly Law Project (ELP) is launched, CLS does pioneer work for rights of poor residents of nursing and boarding homes to quality care.
  • CLS successfully challenges a series of SEPTA fare hikes saving low-income riders millions of dollars.


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