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Hinshaw Obtains $1.2 Million Judgment for Unpaid Immigrant Housekeeper

January 4, 2013

Samuel C. Bodurtha, a Providence and Boston-based Partner in the Lawyers Professional Liability Group at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, recently recovered a $1.2 million judgment for Elizabeth Ballesteros, a Filipina housekeeper who was forced to work without pay and at hours far exceeding 40/week without any overtime pay. Hinshaw represents Ms. Ballesteros’ on a pro bono basis and as counsel with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Ms. Ballesteros’s employer was Col. Arif Mohamed Saeed Mohamed Al-Ali, a colonel in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) military who had traveled to Rhode Island to attend the U.S. Naval War College. He has since been acquitted on criminal charges filed against him in connection with his employment of Ms. Ballesteros and returned to the UAE. The award to Ms. Ballesteros includes $840,000 for what the judge described as Col. Al-Ali's “outrageous, illegal and inhumane” treatment of Ms. Ballesteros.

Although Ms. Ballesteros has secured a judgment awarding her damages, she is aware that collecting on it will be the next challenge in this high-profile case because Col. Al-Ali is no longer in the United States. Ms. Ballesteros’ primary goal was to have her day in court and, more importantly, to tell her story.

Mr. Bodurtha focuses his practice in the area of professional liability, with particular emphasis on the representation of attorneys in liability matters. He also represents insurance companies in coverage matters, providing coverage opinions and litigating coverage disputes. Mr. Bodurtha also represents lenders, servicers and their agents and vendors in all aspects of claims arising out of contested foreclosures.

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP is a U.S. based law firm with offices in 11 states and London. The firm's national reputation spans the insurance industry, the professional services sector—including representation of law firms and lawyers—and other highly regulated industries, such as banking and finance and the debt collection sector. Hinshaw also provides a series of closely coordinated litigation, business advisory and transactional services to clients of all sizes as well as governmental and public sector entities.

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