Available Cases

The available cases are pending referral to a pro bono attorney for a consultation.

The assigned pro bono attorney determines if representation is needed once the consultation is complete.

To accept a pro bono case, you must first register with the Volunteer Lawyers Program. If you have already registered and are interested in a case below, please contact Elva Kennis (ekennis@bals.org).

For additional up-to-date cases, please visit our Florida Pro Bono Matters catalog.

Cases Available as of February 2020

Family Law

Case #19-xxx2120 (Custody)
Our, disabled, client seeks assistance with a custody matter. The client has been raising his four children for the past five years without the opposing party’s involvement. The mother, the opposing party, has only seen the children twice within that timeframe and is now seeking full custody of the children. Volunteer attorney needed to represent the client in the court process.

Case #19-xxx-5376 (Custody)
Our client needs assistance with a Custody matter. The opposing party has been harassing her and using the judicial system in attempt to intimidate her. Because of the Op’s egregious behavior, he and the child at issue no longer have a good relationship. He was arrested for trespassing after showing up to her team practice and yelling obscenities and later refused to leave when instructed. As a result, the child suffers from anxiety and no longer feels comfortable being alone with him. The OP has filed a petition to modify timesharing in attempt to gain full custody. The parties were unable to reach an agreement at mediation and have a hearing set for February. Client is in need of an attorney to represent her in the court process.

Case #19-xxx7021 (Custody)
Client is seeking custody of her disabled 11-year-old son. The OP has filed a custody action against our client and has not allowed her any time-sharing/visitation with the child for several months. The OP has since removed the child from the school and Client is worried the child is not receiving his proper medication. There has been a history of verbal abuse from the OP, and Client is afraid to meet with the OP in person. Client is seeking representation from a volunteer attorney to assist her in the pending custody action.

Case #19-xxxx0172 (Grandparent Adoption)
Client has been caring for her 10-year-old granddaughter since birth. Client’s daughter is the child’s mother. She lives in a shelter. No father is listed on child’s birth certificate but client presumes she knows who biological father is. According to client, both parents will likely consent to the adoption.

Case #20-xxx0433 (Divorce)
Our disabled client seeks a divorce from her husband of 19 years. They have been separated for 18 years and have no minor children in common but client did conceive two children outside the marriage. The client does not have any contact with the OP and is unsure of his whereabouts. She does not think they have any assets/liabilities but cannot confirm this because she believes when she last saw him that he had bills with her name on it. Client would like assistance with obtaining a Divorce and disestablishing paternity. Volunteer attorney needed to represent the client in the court process.

Case #19-xxx7356 (Paternity)
Our client came in for assistance with establishing paternity of her son. The OP passed away and was never listed on the birth certificate. Client would like to establish death benefits and amend the child’s birth certificate. The decedent has a brother living in the Tampa Bay Area but client does not have a good relationship with him or any other family members. Volunteer attorney needed to represent the client in the court process.

Case #19-xxx2680 (Paternity)
Client and opposing party never married but have a 2-year-old child together. Opposing party filed a paternity action and is represented by an attorney. The parties signed a Parenting Plan agreeing to 50/50 custody; however, opposing party moved out of state just weeks later. Opposing party is living and working out of state and keeps telling client that he will be coming back. Client is concerned that opposing party may only come back so Final Judgment can be entered based upon signed Parenting Plan but then move out of state again. Child is in therapy for some speech and behavioral issues and really needs consistency in his life. There is a Case Management Conference scheduled for the end of January and a Mediation scheduled for the end of February. Client seeks representation in the ongoing paternity case.

Case #19-xxx7052 (Paternity)
Client has a 14-year-old son. Child’s father was murdered in 2006. Paternity had not been established prior to his passing and his name is not on the child’s birth certificate. DNA test taken by paternal grandfather shows a 99.9 % of relatedness. Client would like to establish paternity of child so she may seek Social Security Survivor Benefits for child. Paternity case already filed by volunteer attorney but attorney has filed a Motion to Withdraw because she is no longer able to assist client.

Guardianship

Case #19-xxx0171 (Guardian Advocacy)
Our client seeks assistance in becoming guardian advocate for her developmentally disabled 28-year-old daughter. Client’s daughter suffers from Autism, as well as mental health issues. Daughter’s father lives out of state but is involved in her life. He would not contest guardianship. Volunteer attorney needed to represent client in this proceeding.

Case #19-xxx4546 (Guardian Advocacy)
Our Spanish-speaking only client seeks assistance in becoming guardian advocate for her developmentally disabled 18-year-old son. Client’s son suffers from a chromosomal abnormality, which has resulted in Mental Retardation. Son has had behavioral issues at school, including displays of aggression. He is currently in his last year of high school with an IEP plan. Volunteer attorney needed to represent client in this proceeding.

Case #19-xxx8133 (Guardian Advocacy)
Our client seeks assistance in being appointed Guardian of her developmentally disabled adult son. The intended ward suffers from autism and developmental delay. The parties moved to Florida from Tennessee where the client was previously serving as the ward’s court appointed guardian. Client needs assistance with being reappointed as his Guardian Advocate. Volunteer attorney needed to assist with the court process.

Case #19-xxx4591 (Guardian Advocacy)
Our Spanish-speaking only client seeks assistance in becoming guardian advocate for her developmentally disabled 18-year-old son. Client’s son suffers from Autism. He is non-verbal and functions on the level of a 5-year-old. The child’s father is not involved in his life. Volunteer attorney needed to consult with client and determine if representation will be provided.

Case #19-xxx5292 (Guardian Advocacy)
Client seeks assistance in becoming guardian advocate for her developmentally disabled 18-year-old son. Client’s son suffers from Autism and functions on the level of a 4-5 year old. The child’s father is not involved in his life. Volunteer attorney needed to consult with client and determine if representation will be provided.

Miscellaneous

Case #19-xxx3295 (Advance Directives) ***Pending Placement w/ Volunteer***
Our Spanish-speaking only client suffered numerous strokes, which left him unable to communicate verbally. He is fully competent mentally. Since it is difficult for client to communicate his legal and medical needs, he would like his sister to become his Power of Attorney and Health Care Designate.

Case #19-xxx9814 (Contracts) ***Pending Placement w/ Volunteer***
Our client entered into a contract with Opposing Party (OP) for over $25,000 to have solar panels installed. OP also contracted with client to provide duct work, as well as some “extras”, such as a Google Nest and a free water heater timer. Client financed the cost with a company recommended by OP. Client was given a small amount of cash by OP as some type of rebate but then client wrote checks out individually to two men with the company in the same amount of the rebate for the duct work, etc. The solar panels were installed but never actually hooked up to the grid as promised by OP and the duct work was never performed. Client was in text communication with OP initially but now he will not return her calls or messages. Client had to hire another company to do the duct work. She is in need of a consultation and an assessment will need to be made as to whether or not client’s case is fee-generating.

Case #16-xxx2319 (Contracts)(Construction Law)
Our Spanish-speaking only client needs assistance with a contracts matter. Client paid a contractor to remodel her home. She made several installment payments towards the balance. The work was completed in a shoddy manner and as a result, she did not pay the final amount owed. Client would like her home to be properly repaired or for the contractor to refund her payments. A volunteer attorney filed a Breach of Contract suit on client’s behalf but case was ultimately voluntarily dismissed because the defendant could not be located for service. Client now has an address for opposing party and would like to refile the case. Statute of limitations does not run until 2021.

Case #19-xxx9857 (Collections)
Our Spanish speaking only client needs assistance with a Collections matter. Client met a man online and began ‘dating’ him soon after. The individual promised to help client and asked for her banking information. Initially he gave the client a couple thousand dollars for herself. A few weeks thereafter, client received notices her account was overdrawn. The first notice indicated the account was 7K negative. Client immediately contacted the bank and let them know it was fraud and the bank agreed to freeze the account so no further activity would transpire. However, client received another notice advising that the account was 19K negative despite her agreement with the bank. The bank has now filed suit against the client for the funds and the client does not have any identifying information for the ’boyfriend’ to file criminal charges. Volunteer attorney needed to represent the client in the court process.

Probate

Case #19-xxx3136 (Formal Administration)(No Place Like Home)(Experienced volunteer attorney needed) ***Pending Placement w/Volunteer***
Client seeks to probate grandmother’s estate to obtain title to home. Grandmother deeded the home to self and son (client’s uncle) as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. The uncle died a few years ago, leaving no children. Client’s grandmother died intestate last year, leaving 8 children, 3 of whom are adopted minor children and 2 who predeceased the grandmother. One of the predeceased children was separated from her husband at time of death. She had 5 children, including the client. The client has court-ordered temporary custody of her grandmother’s 3 minor children, who are her nieces and nephew by birth.

Case #19-3006 (Probate – No Place Like Home)
Spanish-speaking senior needs help with getting title to home. He and his wife purchased the home over twenty years ago. They both signed the mortgage documents. However, only his wife’s name is on the deed. The house is now free and clear. Client’s wife died earlier this year from cancer. She signed a quitclaim deed one month before her death, conveying her interest in the home to their only daughter and to wife’s sister and nephew. Client questions validity of deed as his wife was very ill at that time. Client’s sister-in-law and his daughter want him out of the home. Client was advised that he has a life estate interest in the home. Matter is compelling as Client states his daughter has been violent towards him. He has called the police several times in the past. Daughter recently moved back in to home, under the guise of helping him with household. Client is taking steps toward seeking an injunction of protection. Volunteer attorney needed to assist with probate of wife’s estate and to determine whether a separate quiet title action needs to be filed.

Case #19-xxx3858 (Probate – No Place Like Home)
Client's father passed away in 2013. He did not have a will at the time of his passing. Her father was divorced and client has 2 siblings. Client lived in father’s home with him until he passed and has continued to reside in the home since then. Client attempted to file a pro se Petition for Summary Administration but case was ultimately dismissed. Client needs assistance in refiling a Petition for Summary Administration so she may be awarded an interest in the home. One of client’s sibling would likely deed his interest over to client but client has not been in communication with other sibling.


The following cases are from our Disaster Relief Team. If you are interested, please contact Jason Susalla (jsusalla@bals.org).

Disaster Relief

Case #19-xxx7975 (Real Property Deed Consultation and Drafting – Hillsborough)
Our client suffered home damage from hurricane Irma, is a low-income senior, and disabled - the client has expressed her interest in seeking a modified deed to ensure that her home will pass to her son and nephew outside of a probate proceeding. Client needs consultation on this option and potential drafting of new deed.

Case #19-xxx4536 (Trust Consultation and Drafting Documents – Hillsborough)
Client, a disabled, low-income victim of hurricane Irma, wants to get affairs in order. Client originally sought last will, but after consultation determined that she seeks a trust to ensure that her disabled son will have a home to remain in. Client cannot afford a private attorney to provide this service.

Case #19-xxx0864 (Probate Assistance – Hillsborough)
Our low-income client's mother passed away approximately 20 years ago intestate, in Tampa, Florida. The client did not know how to initiate probate action nor did she have the resources. According to the client, undistributed assets remain, including bank accounts she still receives statements for. Client is in need of review of these assets and guidance and assistance in potentially securing them.

Case #19-xxx5302 ( Insurance Litigation – Hillsborough)
The client was wrongly denied a claim and dropped by her insurance company in 2017 and had to secure another policy in 2018. The client was again dropped by the insurance carrier and she secured another policy in January 2020. The client previously consulted with an attorney and worked to reach a settlement with the insurance company regarding the 2017 claim, but this did not proceed. The issue has stalled and the client needs review and assistance in proceeding with possible litigation to resolve the insurance dispute.

Case #19-xxx2465 (SSI Assistance – Hillsborough)
Our client, a disabled survivor of domestic violence, is without income and in need of consultation and application assistance for SSI. Client needs instruction on her eligibility and assistance with the process.

Case #19-xxx3487 (Title Issue to Mobile Home – East Pasco)
Consultation and possible representation on securing title to mobile home, which client purchased over 30 years ago with cash and without documentation. Client has significant hurricane damage to home from 2017 and is unable to afford repairs. However, he has secured assistance for free repairs but must first provide a clear title proving his ownership of the home.

Case #19-xxx2111 (Mobile Home Law – Pinellas)
Our client sustained damage to her mobile home during hurricane Irma, partially caused by falling tree limbs. The home is now fixed, but the client fears that neighboring tree limbs are dangerous and could cause damage if another storm impacted the area. The trees are located on neighboring property owned by another mobile home park, and client has sought cooperation in tree trimming without success.

Case #19-xxx3071 (Drafting Last Will – Pinellas)
Hurricane victim and low-income veteran, client is seeking assistance in preparation of last will. Client has limited assets and is in need of help with estate planning through drafting will.

Case #19-xxx7406 (Probate Consultation – Pinellas)
Our client, a disabled veteran still dealing with significant damage to his home from hurricane Irma, seeks a thorough review of documents to advise on a probate action. The deed of the home at issue lists client and the estate of his step-father. The client alleges that he has quitclaim deeds from other heirs, but review of these is necessary to properly advise client on whether or not he would be able to secure home deed into his name alone (Client's goal) through probate proceeding. Furthermore, a will is present and needs review.

Still have questions?

If you live or have a case in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas or Sarasota counties, we may be able to help.

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