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‘An Arm and a Leg’: A Fight for the Right to Help

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Click here for a transcript of the episode.

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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KFF Health News is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues and is one of the core operating programs at KFF—an independent source of health policy research, polling, and journalism. Learn more about KFF.

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