In February 2009, Dan Segal and Rebecca Melley, working in conjunction with the Juvenile Law Center, took on the representation of a class of more than 2,400 juveniles who were victims of one of the worst judicial scandals in American history.

In brief, two Luzerne County, Pennsylvania judges – a juvenile court judge and the county’s President Judge – took millions of dollars in kickbacks from the owners and builders of two private juvenile detention facilities who stood to profit from maximizing the occupancy rate of the facilities. In return, the judges made sure that the County contracted to use the facilities. They also ensured that the facilities were full by routinely sentencing children to them for the most minor of infractions. The juvenile court judge also regularly allowed children to be tried without counsel and accepted and encouraged guilty pleas from children without any explanation to them of the consequences of such a plea. Dan and Rebecca litigated federal class action civil rights and RICO claims on behalf of their clients to recover the damages they suffered. After years of hard-fought litigation, Dan and Rebecca, together with their colleagues, negotiated settlements with defendants that totaled more than $20 million.