Atlantic Legal Foundation: Serving The Public Interest

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 12:50

The Atlantic Legal Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest law firm that advocates for individual liberty, limited, efficient government, free enterprise, sound science in the courtroom and school choice. Founded in 1977, Atlantic Legal provides legal representation, without fee, to individuals, corporations, trade associations, parents, scientists and educators who wish to be heard in significant lawsuits in federal and state courts.

The Foundation’s leadership includes current and retired chief legal officers of some of the nation’s most prominent corporations, partners of major national and international law firms and distinguished scientists and educators.

The Foundation concentrates its efforts in these areas:

Constitutional Issues: Atlantic Legal has participated in important cases involving the capricious exercise of governmental power, as well as the interplay between U.S. law and international law. For example, it has challenged local attempts to regulate interstate and foreign commerce and attempts to bar military recruiters from college campuses. It has challenged government infringement of individual rights, local zoning regulations and regulatory takings.

Within the last year, the Foundation has filed briefs in the Supreme Court of the United States on issues ranging from challenging the constitutionality of the President’s purported recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board in the Noel Canning case, to challenging the attempt by plaintiffs in DaimlerChrysler v. Bauman to bring before U.S. courts a matter involving a foreign corporation and foreign nationals, and actions that allegedly took place in a foreign jurisdiction, having no impact on the United States or its citizens.

Congress’s treaty power was before the Court in Bond v. United States, where we argued that the fundamental structure of the Constitution defines and limits the powers of the government, which cannot be expanded by the executive or legislative branches. In Mariner’s Cove Homeowners’ Association v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Foundation urged the Court to grant certiorari in a “takings” case when the government refused compensation for the loss of periodic assessments owed to a homeowners’ association by property owners whose parcels were taken by the federal government for a flood control project. In Harris v. Quinn, we supported the plaintiffs’ contentions that a collective bargaining agreement that required Medicaid home-care personal assistants to pay a fee for unwanted union representation violates the First Amendment. 

Sound Science: Atlantic Legal is the nation’s preeminent public interest law firm in advocating for the use of sound expert testimony in toxic tort, product liability and other litigation. The Foundation fights the admissibility of “junk” science. In a leading case, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, in the Supreme Court of the United States, the majority opinion cited the Foundation’s incisive friend of the court brief in its decision that set the evidentiary standard for expert scientific testimony in federal courts.

Representing scores of noted scientists, including 22 Nobel laureates, the Foundation has successfully challenged “junk” science theories of medical causation, involving asbestos and other claims, in federal and state courts.

Much of the Foundation’s recent efforts in the sound science arena have involved challenging the theory that exposure to a single fiber of asbestos can be a “substantial cause” of mesothelioma, efforts that have been rewarded with favorable decisions in several state courts.

Corporate Governance: Atlantic Legal advocates against intrusive regulation of business and for responsible corporate governance. The Foundation was an early proponent of preservation of the attorney-client privilege against compulsory waiver of that essential protection where corporate misconduct has been alleged. It has challenged abuse of class action lawsuits.

School Choice: Atlantic Legal’s work in this area focuses on supporting charter schools. A major part of this effort is publishing a series of state law guides to educate charter school leaders in combating organizing campaigns of labor unions. The Foundation has evaluated and proposed reforms in New York’s unduly burdensome charter renewal procedures and has counseled many charter schools when they have been challenged by those reluctant to change the status quo.

Position Papers: Atlantic Legal publishes papers considering legal issues of public concern: for example, inadequate judicial compensation and its impact on the New York economy, the need for a restructuring of New York’s court system and correcting weaknesses in law school curricula.

See www.atlanticlegal.org for a complete description of the Foundation’s activities.

Atlantic Legal Foundation is a Section 501(c)(3) charitable foundation that relies on tax-deductible contributions to fund its activities. Contributions can be made at www.atlanticlegal.org, by calling the Foundation (914) 834-3322, or by writing to the Foundation at 2039 Palmer Avenue, Suite 104, Larchmont, NY 10538.

William H. Slattery, President

Atlantic Legal Foundation