Nathan Veldhuis’ notable pro bono case, In re Cesar Chumil, to be presented at the upcoming Virginia Trial Lawyers convention, April 1, 2016.
There are some cases trial lawyers take which need to be taken – not for the economic rewards, but in the interest of justice. The Cesar Chumil case was one of those cases.
Cesar Chumil spent over 20 years in various mental institutions, 18 of those spent in seclusion. He was originally from Guatemala and spoke primarily Spanish. Two weeks after his lawyers were able to have him moved to a less restrictive environment closer to his family in 2009, he died of undiagnosed colon cancer. The pro bono administrative efforts took 5 years. It was our position the use of seclusion and restraint and the failure to provide him services in his native language (through a translator) infringed on Mr. Chumil’ s 14th amendment rights and violated state law.