LAURA TUGGLE NATIONALLY HONORED FOR OUTSTANDING WORK ON BEHALF OF LOW-INCOME TENANTS
2005 Reginald Heber Smith Award Winner
WASHINGTON, DC, October 24, 2005 — The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) is pleased to announce that Laura Tuggle, staff attorney at New Orleans Legal Assistance, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services is the 2005 recipient of the Reginald Heber Smith Award is. Tuggle will be honored during the NLADA 2005 Annual Conference Awards Luncheon on Friday, November 18, at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate in Orlando, FL.
The Reginald Heber Smith Award recognizes the dedicated service and outstanding achievements of a civil legal aid attorney or indigent defense attorney while employed by an organization supporting such services. The “Reggie” is named for a former counsel at the Boston Legal Aid Society and the author of Justice and the Poor, published by the Carnegie Foundation in 1919.
“Laura Tuggle has been a beacon of hope for thousands of low-income people who have found themselves fighting to stave off the threat of homelessness,” said Jo-Ann Wallace, NLADA president and CEO. “NLADA is proud to extend this award to Laura.”
Tuggle is recognized for her accomplishments in multi-million dollar victories for thousands of tenants while also handling an extraordinary volume of direct services. Tuggle is an exceptional advocate for low-income tenants and the homeless and has excelled at, among others, impact litigation, lobbying, media advocacy, high volume direct services, client community legal education and justice community legal education, etc.
In 2001, Tuggle was selected by the Louisiana State Bar Association for its Career Public Interest Award in recognition of her outstanding advocacy as a legal services attorney. In a letter of nomination, Mark Moreau, co-executive director of New Orleans Legal Assistance, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, said, “As her executive director for the last 11 years, I can assure you that she epitomizes the ideal legal services attorney. She does everything possible for our clients through multi-faceted advocacy and holistic approaches to their problems. Her sensitivity to client needs and concerns is extraordinary.”
Between 2001 and 2003, Tuggle obtained $3.3 million in Uniform Relocation Assistance benefits for approximately 3,000 displaced public housing tenants through federal court litigation. From discovery in a lawsuit, Tuggle successfully advocated to get a major housing authority to raise utility allowances by about $4 million per year for 8,500 tenants. Both of these multi-million dollar results were achieved without the filing of class action. Another utility allowance case in which Tuggle is co-counsel, involves a fight to protect the right of Section 8 tenants to sue for increased utility allowances. This case will be heard by the United States Fifth Circuit of Appeals and will have national ramifications as the first court of appeal decision in the nation on this issue for Section 8 tenants.
In addition to Tuggle’s many successes in impact litigation, she has also achieved numerous accomplishments in legislative and administrative advocacy; media advocacy; direct services; attorney education; and community leadership.
For more information on NLADA awards, visit www.nlada.org.
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The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) champions effective legal assistance for people who cannot afford counsel, serves as a collective voice for both civil legal services and public defense services throughout the nation and provides a wide range of services and benefits to its individual and organizational members. Founded in 1911, NLADA is the oldest and largest national, nonprofit membership organization devoting all of its resources to advocating equal access to justice for all Americans.