WilmerHale Honored as Litigation Team of the Year by the Human Trafficking Legal Center

WilmerHale Honored as Litigation Team of the Year by the Human Trafficking Legal Center

Client News

The WilmerHale team that represented pro bono client Lisa Ricchio in a precedent-setting sex and labor trafficking case was recognized as the Litigation Team of the Year by the Human Trafficking Legal Center at the On My Side awards. The annual event honors courageous trafficking survivors and the pro bono community that stands with them.

Last December, WilmerHale secured a favorable settlement of Ms. Ricchio’s sex trafficking claim against a motel and its owners and managers under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). The case settled after one day of trial, during which Ms. Ricchio took the stand and steadily, calmly and persuasively told her story to the jury. 

In 2014, a criminal case on behalf of Ms. Ricchio resulted in a conviction and prison sentence for Clark McLean, a pimp and convicted sex offender who pretended to be her boyfriend, lured her from Maine to Massachusetts, and attempted to force her into prostitution. 

The civil case against the motel owners has groundbreaking implications for other sex trafficking victims in the United States. As the first civil suit to be filed against a hotel or motel under the TVPA’s civil-remedy provision, it has clarified what makes hotels and motels, and their insurers, liable for sex trafficking on their premises under the TVPA.

The WilmerHale team representing Ms. Ricchio was led by Cindy Vreeland and Felicia Ellsworth and included Jason Liss, Kelli Powell, Eric Hawkins, Arjun Jaikumar, Aaron MacrisTess Foley and James Bor-Zale, along with former WilmerHale attorneys Jillian Schlotter, Adam Hornstine and Lucy Ewins, with additional assistance from Jordan Hirsch, Dan Willey, and Gary Howell-Walton.

Watch the award presentation.


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