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Heather Kramer and Melanie Chico Earn Excellence in Pro Bono Service Award

Award presented by The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association

May 5, 2017

Dykema, a leading national law firm, today announced that Chicago-based attorneys Heather Kramer and Melanie Chico will be presented with an Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service by The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. The award will be presented at the Eighteenth Annual Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Interest Service Award Ceremony on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, in the James B. Parsons Memorial Courtroom, Room 2525, of the Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse.

Kramer and Chico earned the prestigious award as a result of their tireless pro bono efforts on behalf of John Martinez in Martinez v. Garcia, et al., Case No. 08 C 2601, and Martinez v. Ghosh, et al., Case No. 10 C 6837. Former Dykema attorney Courtney Ofosu, who assisted on the case when she was an associate with Dykema, will also be presented with the award.

In 2008 and 2010, the Northern District of Illinois appointed Kramer to represent Mr. Martinez in the two cases alleging deprivation of medical care by prison officials for his ongoing back and stomach ailments in violation of his constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Kramer quickly enlisted Chico to be part of the litigation team, who was happy to assist given her experience with Section 1983 civil rights issues. Ultimately, as a result of Kramer, Chico and Ofosu’s representation, Mr. Martinez obtained the necessary medical treatment, including surgery for a herniated disc, and favorable settlement agreements.

In response to the recognition, Kramer, a member in Dykema’s Business Litigation Group, stated, “I am truly grateful to receive this honor. While being appointed to a pro bono case outside of your area of expertise can initially be daunting, I found the experience representing Mr. Martinez to be incredibly rewarding and was always impressed by the support I received from Dykema and its attorneys and staff, especially Melanie and Courtney.” 

“I am very honored to receive this award,” said Chico, a member of Dykema’s Commercial Litigation Group. “The substantial support provided by Dykema and our colleagues over the years enabled us to achieve favorable results for Mr. Martinez. I am proud to be a member of a firm that truly believes in public service and advancing justice through pro bono work.”