Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, Together with Co-Counsel, Selected by the Public Justice Foundation as a Finalist for the 2021 Trial Lawyer of the Year

Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, Together with Co-Counsel, Selected by the Public Justice Foundation as a Finalist for the 2021 Trial Lawyer of the Year

July 19, 2021
Attorneys Pashman Stein Walder Hayden is pleased to announce that it has been selected by the Public Justice Foundation, a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., as a finalist for the 2021 Trial Lawyer of the Year award. The recognition of the firm, together with co-counsel, Carella, Bryne, Cecchi, Olstein, Brody, & Agnello, is for the work procuring a settlement of $25 million in favor of a statewide class of inmates and their families in an action against Global Tel Link Corp. (GTL), a prison technology company, and its subsidiaries, regarding overcharged inmate calling services.

The 2021 Trial Lawyer of the Year award celebrates the work of an attorney or team of attorneys working on behalf of individuals and groups that have suffered grave injustice or abuse. It will be presented at the Public Justice Foundation’s 2021 Virtual Gala and Awards Presentation online on July 21, 2021.

Pashman Stein Walder Hayden attorneys Justin P. Walder, James A. Plaisted, Dennis Smith and Matthew Frisch, along with co-counsel James Cecchi and Lindsey Taylor of Carella Byrne, were part of the legal team representing the class.

The settlement marked the end of a lawsuit filed more than seven years ago in connection with the requirement that relatives, friends, and families of prisoners set up a payment account to talk with their loved ones who were in a New Jersey prison using the defendant’s Advance Pay system. Those affected by the defendant’s rates estimate they were overcharged up to 100 times the market rate for phone calls.

In August 2018, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey certified a class of thousands of individuals, comprised of individuals who were incarcerated in a New Jersey state prison or county correctional institution from 2006 to 2016, as well as their friends and family members, who used GTL's phone system, or who set up a payment account to communicate with inmates in a New Jersey prison using GTL's Advance Pay system. The settlement was approved by the Court as fair and reasonable in October 2020.

“We are honored to be selected as a finalist for this prestigious award. This case represents an important recovery for incarcerated individuals and their family members and friends who had no choice but to be controlled by the monopoly that set the unconscionable phone rates for incarcerated individuals, “ said James Plaisted.

Justin Walder, co-chair of Pashman Stein’s Litigation practice, noted, “The ability of incarcerated individuals to communicate has been shown to assist reentry to society as law-abiding citizens and help reduce recidivism. This case has impacted reform on the state and national level."

The case is Bobbie James et al. v. Global Tel Link Corp. et al., docket number 2:13-cv-04989-WJM-MF. For more information about the Public Justice Foundation’s 2021 Virtual Gala and Awards Presentation online click here.