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Trials & Litigation

Lawyer’s Suit Claims He Was Denied Indigent Defense Work Because of His Race

Posted Jul 2, 2012 5:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Tennessee lawyer has filed a lawsuit alleging he was denied indigent defense work because he is East Indian.

The suit filed in federal court in Knoxville names Knox County and its general sessions court as defendants, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. Lawyer Arun Rattan writes in his pro se complaint that he has been denied income in the amount of $40 an hour, affecting his ability to earn a livelihood.

According to the story, Rattan’s resume indicates he attended three different law schools: Loyola University in Chicago, the Appalachian School of Law in Virginia, and the William Mitchell College of Law in Minnesota. Three years after his graduation, he was hired by a Memphis law firm, but he was let go, perhaps because an illness affected his job performance, Rattan says. He also worked as a hearing officer and in private practice.

The county response says judicial immunity bars the lawsuit, and Rattan fails to cite any right that was violated.

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