David Dobbins Receives Award from MFY Legal Services, Inc.
On October 16, MFY presented their Matthew G. Leonard Award for Pro Bono Achievement to David Dobbins. Their citation read: "Dave is recognized for his outstanding Pro Bono work for MFY on two interconnected cases. Two years ago, he began working with MFY attorneys on a challenge to the MTA's refusal to permit persons with mental disabilities to obtain the half-fare on the subway. After determining that a class action was the most efficient way to proceed, he learned that the federal Legal Services Corporation had imposed restrictions on MFY and all other recipients of federal LSC funding in 1996, barring them from bringing class actions. Dave became so offended by the notion that a lawyer could be barred from using important legal remedies on behalf of the poor that he became the named plaintiff on a test case challenging those restrictions, Dobbins v. LSC. He was joined by a number of members of the MFY Board of Directors who provided affidavits in support of what is now called the Dobbins case. "When MFY gave up the federal LSC funding in January 1, 2003, Dave co-counseled with MFY on the first MFY class action. The pressure brought by that suit has forced the MTA to change its discriminatory practices and thousands of mental health consumers can access half-fare benefits enabling them to visit their doctors, enjoy a visit with family and friends and begin the journey back to being active in the community through work and volunteer activities."