On August 18, 2015, Legal Aid employee Nohora Rivero and a law clerk visited Lewis Orchards in Dickerson, MD, to speak with migrant workers about their rights, connect them with social services, and listen to their concerns. After work hours, Ms. Rivero spoke with workers, who had H-2A visas, at their residences on the farm. Midway through the Legal Aid visit, farm owners Robert and Linda Lewis confronted Rivero and the law clerk, threatening them with arrest if they did not leave immediately. When Rivero said the workers had a right to visit with legal counsel in their homes, the farm owners called Montgomery County police. Police issued the Legal Aid employees an order barring them from returning to the farm to visit workers for a year, on threat of arrest. When Rivero showed Kettering an Attorney General's opinion proclaiming that Legal Aid had a constitutional right to be there, the officer brushed it aside, saying he did not have time to read it, and ordered the two to leave. As a result, Legal Aid was unable to assist workers with their employment concerns last year, and has not been able to return to Lewis Orchards since August.
Nohora Rivero and Maryland Legal Aid v. Montgomery County
The ACLU of Maryland, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC
April 20, 2016
United States District Court for the District of Maryland