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Press Release

Fish & Richardson Receives 2019 Human Trafficking Litigation Firm of the Year Award

October 18, 2019

Press Release

Fish & Richardson Receives 2019 Human Trafficking Litigation Firm of the Year Award

October 18, 2019

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Fish has received the 2019 Human Trafficking Litigation Firm of the Year award from the Human Trafficking Legal Center. This national non-profit organization creates a bridge between highly-skilled pro bono attorneys and trafficking survivors to ensure that survivors have access to justice. Fish was selected for this year’s award for its remarkable victory in Alfaro v. Gandy – winning a $1.43 million civil award on behalf of plaintiff Jose Alfaro, a teen survivor of sex trafficking.

Fish attorneys dedicated nearly 200 pro bono hours to the civil case, arguing that Alfaro experienced severe emotional and psychological pain due to Gandy’s exploitation and that Alfaro continued to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. In the related criminal case, Gandy was found guilty of sex trafficking of minors, sexual exploitation of children, transportation of minors, and transportation of child pornography, and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Fish won the civil case on summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on March 14, 2019, and the court awarded $1,436,409 in compensatory and punitive damages on April 24, 2019.

“We are honored to receive this award, and proud to have achieved such a rare and substantial award for our client,” said Andrew Kopsidas, the Fish principal who led the trial team. “We admire Jose’s courage and fortitude in pursuing this case, and hope it will encourage other trafficking survivors to come forward and hold perpetrators accountable for their egregious actions. We look forward to our continued work with the Human Trafficking Legal Center.”

In addition to Kopsidas, the Fish pro bono trial team included associates Bethany Mihalik and Alex Kykta. Also assisting on the case were senior principal Danielle Healey, principal Jayme Partridge, and associate Bailey Benedict. Kopsidas accepted the award for the team at the Human Trafficking Legal Center’s annual On My Side Awards event on October 17 in Washington, D.C.

The Human Trafficking Legal Center works to provide every survivor of human trafficking access to justice through a talented pro bono lawyer, with the goal of holding traffickers accountable for their crimes through civil litigation and criminal restitution.