JK: That’s exactly right. It was sort of an interesting dynamic. They wanted a settlement that they could claim credit for.
Once the settlement went through, was there any hostility directed at you?
JK: There was, there was. There was a guy who threatened to sue us. And you know we tried to blunt that by giving them credit, sharing credit with them. We didn’t want a bunch of people to come to the settlement hearing and objecting to the settlement saying it wasn’t good enough! So we were happy to say that this wasn’t just the lawyers, it was a broad based effort that involved the work and ingenuity of a lot of different people to reach this conclusion.
Was it difficult for you to get approval to be involved in the case since you were from Illinois?
JK: In federal court you can apply for pro hac vice, or special privileges for that particular case. It’s pretty routine and I’ve only had that motion denied once. In the 2000 election I went to Florida as a poll watcher. A Florida state court judge said he wasn’t having any carpetbaggers and he denied my motion (laughs). Otherwise, pro hac vice is pretty perfunctory and easily granted.
Thanks so much for your time!
JK: No problem at all, feel free to call me with any other questions!
“What has been accomplished is impressive. It is a rare case in which U.S. lawyers manage to obtain the agreement of a foreign sovereign to submit to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts in order to pay reparations to residents of the United States and to give them priority in payment over residents of the sovereign's own country. It is likewise rare for the government of Mexico to accord recognition to citizen protests in general or the braceros in particular. This settlement has achieved all of that and against overwhelming odds, given the age of the claims and the procedural and substantive obstacles to proving them on a classwide basis in United States courts.” - Motion and Memorandum in Support of Final Approval of Class Settlement, WL 728225 (N.D.Cal. 2009)