BBG and Director of VOA Persian are sued for Retaliation and Violation of Right to Freedom of Speech



May 9, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two former VOA Persian independent contractors filed suit today against Ms. Setareh Derakhshesh Sieg, Director of VOA Persian, personally and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) over the violation of their right to freedom of speech. The BBG is an independent federal agency that oversees all US government-supported, civilian international broadcasting. VOA Persian is BBG's Persian language service.

Plaintiffs, Mr. Ardavan Roozbeh and Ms. Soheila Jangjoo, filed a complaint in the US District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that Ms. Sieg and the Agency deliberately and maliciously punished Plaintiffs for exercising their First Amendment right to freedom of speech without due process. Defendants used their authority to retaliate against Plaintiffs for voicing their opinion regarding the rampant internal corruption and abuse of authority that plagues VOA Persian under Ms. Sieg's direction. Instead of addressing Plaintiffs' grievances Ms. Sieg and BBG suppressed and retaliated against Plaintiffs by effectively terminating their employment contracts.

This suit comes in the aftermath of a series of complaints against the Agency and VOA Persian for discriminatory and prohibited personnel practices. In the past few months, VOA Persian has faced public criticism for its poor programming and mismanagement. A recent report by the Office of Personnel Management corroborates the allegations of mismanagement and abuse of authority at VOA Persian. According to this report, 60.3% of VOA Persian employees believe that arbitrary action, personal favoritism and coercion for partisan political purposes are tolerated at VOA Persian. While the majority believes that there is widespread corruption at VOA Persian, only 26.8% of the employees feel confident that they can disclose such violations of laws, rules or regulations without fear of retaliation. Plaintiffs' lawsuit aims to directly challenge such retaliatory practices and the culture of immunity for VOA Persian's managers.

The abuse of authority at VOA Persian and the infringement of Plaintiffs' constitutional rights is a matter of public concern as VOA Persian is a federally funded program. It is essential to end corrupt practices, and hold accountable the individuals who abuse their federal employee status and hide behind the shield of authority. Taxpayer dollars should not be used to violate individuals' civil rights and civil liberties.

Plaintiffs are represented by law firm of Herischi & Associates, LLC, a boutique labor & employment and immigration firm located in Bethesda, Maryland.

For more information contact 301-363-4540 or email us at info@ibhlaw.com

Ali Herischi, Esq.

 
 

When an investor is considering purchasing a business or other property, it is important that he or she performs due diligence.  A business litigation attorney in Montgomery County Maryland can explain that due diligence is the process of fully investigating a proposal and uncovering any potential issues or red flags with a transaction before being legally on the hook for it.  A business litigation attorney in Montgomery County Maryland can look at specific factors to determine if a particular transaction or investment is in the best interests of the client.

One factor that a business attorney can consider is whether the transaction would result in the capability to perform a certain service.  If someone purchases a business, he or she will need to know if the human ability is in place, such as a staff that is competent to continue operating a business after ownership changes hands.  An attorney can help assess the competence of staff and if there are any business cultural issues at hand.

The next factor that a business attorney may look to is if the business has all of the legal authorization to be in business.  An attorney may review public documents, financial information, zoning requirements and other evidence to determine if the legal infrastructure is in place.  If there is not a necessary license or permit in place, this can adversely affect the business.

Performing due diligence can help a company avoid the expense and loss of time that litigation may entail.

A family law attorney in Bethesda Maryland sees his or her fair share of contentious issues between family members and other parties.  When a legal issue arises, a family law attorney in Bethesda Maryland can help in the following ways.

Explain Rights

Family law can address complex legal issues, including adoption, guardianship, military divorce, child custody and support issues.  Many individuals have misconceptions about their rights under family law.  Consulting with a family law attorney regarding your specific legal issues and circumstances can help clarify your rights.

Provide Options

Once you are aware of your rights or different factors that a family law judge will consider in a particular case, a family law attorney in Bethesda Maryland can explain the options that you have.  One option may be to pursue a certain action in court.  However, another option may be to go through mediation or to another form of alternative dispute resolution.  In some instances, not doing anything may be a viable option.

Representation in Court

If court representation is necessary, a family law attorney can provide it.  Going to court involves many procedural steps, including filing necessary pleadings and motions, completing discovery requests and responses, interviewing potential witnesses and complying with specific procedural and time deadlines.  A lawyer can help present the strengths of your case and present evidence that supports your legal position.

Contract mediation in Bethesda Maryland has provided many parties with satisfactory results after a business deal began to fall through.  Mediation can help preserve the relationship between parties by avoiding costly and contentious litigation.  Following these steps can help increase the probability of a successful outcome in your contract mediation in Bethesda Maryland case.

Come in Good Faith

When a legal issue arises, it can be difficult to try to set aside negative feelings and differences, especially when you feel you have been wronged.  Some parties come to mediation only to try to find out about the other party’s case.  However, mediation is an opportunity for the parties to seek a peaceful resolution and avoid an emotional court battle.  As such, it is important that both parties come to mediation with the intention to settle the case.

Express Yourself

One distinct advantage of mediation is that it gives both parties the opportunity to express themselves.  Attorneys often advise their clients not to talk to the adverse party in order to protect their legal interests.  However, this strategy often results in having the parties cemented in their opposing perspectives.  Mediation allows the parties to find common ground and build from there.

Think Outside the Box

Another important advantage of contract mediation is that it allows the parties to construct their own agreement that is not limited to the traditional remedies offered by a court, such as money damages.  Therefore, being creative and thinking about what would help resolve the case can help lead it to a settlement.

While it may seem counter-intuitive, a business litigation attorney in Bethesda Maryland can help explain how to avoid litigation.  A business litigation attorney in Bethesda Maryland helps represent your interests when a case goes to court.  However, he or she sees firsthand how business relationships unravel and can provide advice on how to prevent litigation from occurring in the first place.

Have Clear Contracts

Many business agreements between parties who have worked together for years become less formal over time.  Both parties may develop a custom regarding the work that is being completed based on previous projects, making written contracts less detailed or non-existent.  However, the best evidence of the agreement and responsibilities of the parties is the written contract, so it is important that you draft clear contract language.

Consider Alternatives to Litigation

Litigation is expensive and time-consuming.  For this reason, many business contracts have mandatory mediation or arbitration clauses in them so that if a dispute does arise, there is a clear plan on how to resolve it without having to resort to litigation.  Even in the absence of such a clause, alternatives may still be considered.

Review Your Interests

Even if you have the strongest case, pursuing litigation may not always be the best choice for you.  In addition to the economic impact of litigation, being embroiled in a nasty lawsuit may make you less desirable to customer, clients or other parties interested in your business.  Additionally, pursuing litigation may sever an existing relationship that cannot be easily replaced.  Consider if litigation will actually achieve your goals and take your interests into account.

When determining child custody, visitation or other issues related to children in family law, Maryland family courts use the best interests of the child standard. A family law attorney in Bethesda Maryland can explain that this standard evaluates factors that previous court rulings have determined are important in making this assessment. To win your case, your family law attorney in Bethesda Maryland will seek to provide evidence that supports the best interests of the child in your favor.

Testimony

Testimonial evidence can be powerful evidence of the best interests of the child. You, other family members, teachers, doctors or psychologists may testify about the child, education, relationships and other important aspects of the child’s life. For example, a teacher may discuss which parent primarily picks up, drops off and interacts with the child, based on the teacher’s personal observations. Other family members may discuss the dynamics between each parent and the child and the parents together. A family law attorney directs the testimony to shed light on how you represent the child’s best interests.

Tangible Evidence

Another way to help demonstrate the best interests of the child is to provide tangible evidence. Pictures may help prove your assertions. Principals and teachers may provide school reports, records and report cards to show disciplinary problems, poor performance or satisfactory academic performance. A counselor may provide information about a child’s treatment and progress. Doctors may supply pertinent medical information about a patient.

Many commercial lawyers work on purely transactional matters, such as contracts or mergers. However, a business litigation attorney in Montgomery County Maryland looks at a case from a different perspective by evaluating how it would play out in court. Due to this unique perspective and experience, a business litigation attorney in Montgomery County Maryland can be a tremendous asset to any business.

Business litigation attorneys do not only need to be consulted after a lawsuit has commenced. Instead, they can evaluate an issue before trouble occurs, often helping to avoid litigation in the first place. He or she can analyze a contract, new hire, merger or compliance matter and determine which steps should be taken to minimize the risk of litigation.

However, business litigation attorneys are incredibly important if litigation does ensue. They can help handle these matters so that the rest of your team can focus on the aspects of the business in which they are experienced. Transactional lawyers can continue working on those matters and you can continue managing your business without the disruption litigation often entails. Having such an individual on your team can help your business continue with important operations during a trying time.

Business litigation attorneys do have a unique perspective regarding lawsuits. They also know the negative ramifications of litigation, such as negative publicity, time consumption and depletion of financial resources. They can inform you if a battle is worth fighting or if an alternative would better serve your needs.

Contract mediation in Bethesda Maryland is a form of alternative dispute resolution to litigation. It provides a number of benefits to the parties who use it and is a much less expensive route than a trial. Some of the benefits of contract mediation in Bethesda Maryland that you may wish to consider include the following:

Confidential Process

Mediation is a confidential process between two parties and their representatives. This is especially important when dealing with contracts of a confidential nature such as those that contain important trade secrets. Additionally, the confidentiality of the process is important to businesses that do not wish any public attention given to their contract dispute.

Efficiency

Litigation often takes a lot of time before there is a resolution. The process can become even longer if there are appeals or a lengthy collection on the judgment. By the time that litigation is concluded, the parties have often become stout enemies to each other. Mediation helps to quickly resolve the issues and preserve the relationship of the parties.

Opportunity for Creative Solutions

Mediation involves the parties and a third party neutral who are working together to arrive at a workable solution. This allows for brainstorming and tossing out ideas that may help resolve the situation. Mediation has often led to tailored agreements that meet the individual needs of the parties involved.

Greater Control

The parties are ultimately responsible for determining whether they will resolve the dispute. As such, they retain power throughout the process.

A subpoena is legal document that requires you to attend a legal proceeding as a witness, to produce documents or to attend a deposition in an ongoing legal dispute. If you have received a subpoena, it is important to contact a business litigation attorney in Bethesda Maryland. A business litigation attorney in Bethesda Maryland can explain your rights and responsibilities related to the subpoena, as well as raise any proper objections to the subpoena.

The first thing that a business litigation attorney will do is to review the subpoena in question. He or she will want to determine the parties involved in the case, the general nature of the case such as whether it is a contract dispute or a criminal matter and the information being requested. This requires a careful analysis by a trained eye.

Some subpoenas require a person to testify in court or through a deposition. If this is the case, the name and address of the court or location to be deposed should be listed on the subpoena. Other subpoenas ask for specific evidence to be provided to the requesting party, such as documents, video or photographic evidence.

A business litigation attorney can also evaluate the subpoena to determine if there are any applicable objections to it. For example, the subpoena may not have been properly prepared or served. It could have been completed after the applicable discovery deadline or it may be asking for confidential information. It could also ask for information that is not in your possession or control.

Sometimes the best defensive strategy is having a strong offense.  While it is difficult to thoroughly research a potential business litigation attorney in Montgomery County Maryland after receiving notice of a pending lawsuit, many businesses can seek out an attorney before this point.  There are several steps that you and your business can take to find the right business litigation attorney in Montgomery County Maryland.

Follows Your Approach

The right litigation attorney for you is one that follows your approach.  You may want to battle the case in court, or you may prefer a settlement with terms that are more favorable to your business.  A business owner who realizes that a case will not likely be resolved in another way will want to spend time researching firms that have a strong track record of success in litigating cases in a courtroom.  For businesses that wish to avoid the expense or negative publicity of litigation, an attorney with strong negotiation tactics and experience as a mediator may be a better fit.

Relevant Experience

Another important factor is whether the business litigation attorney has experience within the particular industry.  For example, attorneys who have worked cases in construction cases may have greater familiarity with OSHA laws and independent contractor agreements while attorneys who have worked with trucking companies may have more familiarity with federal regulations regarding break times and loading processes.  While an attorney can research information to become more knowledgeable on the subject, having relevant experience and knowledge can give him or her a head start.

Family law cases can be some of the most contentious.  An experienced family law attorney in Bethesda Maryland may help with a variety of cases.  The job of a family law attorney in Bethesda Maryland is to help advise his or her client of the legal issues involved and the possible resolutions.  In addition to working on standard family law cases such as divorces, child custody, visitation, establishing paternity and child support, a family law attorney may also work on the following types of cases:

Adoption

Whether a person or couple is seeking to adopt an unknown child or a stepparent wants to assume all of the legal rights and obligations of being a parent, family law attorneys can help with the adoption process.  This process is often long and confusing, but having an advocate assist with it can make a significant difference.  An attorney can ensure that all of the necessary paperwork is filed and all of the required steps are taken to effectuate a legal adoption.

Guardianship

If a child or adult is disabled, an appointment of a guardian can help establish another person’s right to make decisions that are important for such an individual.  Additionally, guardianship is available when someone who is not a child’s parent wants to assume the primary caretaking role for that child.  In other cases, a person may need to obtain guardianship exclusively for the purpose of enrolling the child in school or for medical purposes.  A lawyer can help complete the necessary documents to establish this legal relationship.