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Patricia O'Connell
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Thomas Brunner to Receive Wiley A. Branton Award for Civil Rights Advocacy

June 11, 2012

In recognition of his longstanding commitment to the pro bono civil rights legal community, The Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs will honor Wiley Rein partner Thomas W. Brunner with its prestigious Wiley A. Branton Award at a luncheon on June 19.

Mr. Brunner is receiving the accolade for his decades of leadership in the Lawyers' Committee, including a term as co-chair of its Board of Directors.  In particular, he has successfully guided critical Lawyers' Committee initiatives, including securing in 2007 a transformative settlement of a class action lawsuit against MetroAccess, the paratransit system for people with severe disabilities operated by the Washington Metro system.  The suit alleged that Metro had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act by failing to provide adequate service to customers with disabilities.

Commenting on the award, Mr. Brunner said, "I am enormously honored by this generous award from a community of committed lawyers.  I am grateful to the Lawyers' Committee and have greatly valued the time I have spent working with its members.  I plan to continue my involvement for many years to come."  The Wiley A. Branton Award was first bestowed by the Washington Lawyers' Committee in 1989. It takes its name from Wiley A. Branton, Sr., an extraordinary lawyer and civil rights leaderwhose life embodied civil rights advocacy of the highest order.

A Wiley Rein partner since 1988, Mr. Brunner, chairman emeritus of Wiley Rein's Insurance Practice, has counseled insurance industry clients for more than 30 years.  Named by Legal Times as a "Leading Insurance Lawyer," Mr. Brunner was founding counsel for several insurance industry groups, including Complex Insurance Claims Litigation Association.  He currently serves as general counsel for LeapFrog Investments, a social investment fund supporting microinsurance projects for low-income individuals in developing countries.