‘An Arm and a Leg’: A fight for the right to help

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Americans get sued over medical debt. A lot. And — no surprise — many folks getting sued can't afford lawyers.

But for a non-lawyer to give even basic advice in a lawsuit is a crime. Such a helper could go to jail.

Some New Yorkers are waging a legal fight to change that. A nonprofit called Upsolve wants to train people like pastors, social workers, and librarians to help others understand their rights and prepare them to represent themselves in court. In the Bronx, pastor John Udo-Okon wants to be one of those helpers.

So Upsolve and Udo-Okon are suing New York Attorney General Letitia James for the right to do this work. If giving super-basic legal advice is a crime, they want a federal judge to rule that it shouldn't be.

Here's a transcript of the episode.


"An Arm and a Leg" is a co-production of KHN and Public Road Productions.

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Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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