Daniel F. Hedges Executive Director
Since graduating from the West Virginia University College of Law in 1971, Dan has devoted his career to influencing the law to better serve low-income West Virginians. Dan was a lawyer and Litigation Director for over 20 years at the Appalachian Research, Education, and Defense Fund (AppalRED) pursuing legal reform on issues such as education funding, institutional conditions, mental health services, juvenile justice issues, and worker safety, as well as consumer rights. In 1996, Dan founded and became the first Director of Mountain State Justice. Dan has served as Vice Chairman of both the Litigation Subcommittee and the ADR Subcommittee of the American Bar Association, and he has testified before the House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Development about predatory lending. In 2003, Dan received the Vern Countryman Award from the National Consumer Law Center for his outstanding work as an advocate for low-income consumers and is widely regarded as one of the top consumer attorneys in the country.
Jennifer S. Wagner Co-Director
Jennifer joined Mountain State Justice in the summer of 2008 as a Skadden Fellow. Jennifer represents low-income West Virginians in consumer cases and civil rights, health care, and workplace safety litigation. Jennifer is a Consumer Fellow to the Consumer Financial Services Committee of the American Bar Association, and has testified before the House Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance about mortgage regulation. Prior to joining Mountain State Justice, Jennifer clerked for Judge M. Blane Michael on the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and worked as an advocate for HIV+, mentally ill, homeless adults in New York City. She graduated with honors from New York University School of Law and Harvard College.
Bren J. Pomponio Co-Director
Bren has worked as an attorney at Mountain State Justice, representing low-income West Virginians in consumer cases and Medicaid rights cases, since 2000. Previously, Bren clerked for Judge Joseph R. Goodwin and Judge Charles H. Haden II, both in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. Bren graduated from the West Virginia University College of Law in 1998, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif. Bren received his bachelor’s degree from University of Georgia.
Sarah K. Brown Attorney
Sarah joined Mountain State Justice as an attorney in January 2011. Prior to working at Mountain State Justice, Sarah practiced law as a founding member of Baker & Brown, PLLC in Charleston, West Virginia. Sarah previously clerked for Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey on the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Sarah graduated from the American University Washington College of Law in 2008, where she was a member of the Order of the Coif. Sarah received her bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana.
Tina Casto Paralegal
Tina joined Mountain State Justice as a litigation paralegal in August 2012. Prior to working at Mountain State Justice, Tina was a paralegal with Legal Aid of West Virginia. Tina received her Paralegal Certificate from The American Institute for Paralegal Studies in 1995. For most of her paralegal career Tina has supported non-profit organizations.
Colten L. Fleu Attorney
Originally from Eastern Kentucky, Colt practices in the areas of consumer rights and bankruptcy. Colt has been selected as a presenter and has contributed to several seminars focusing on underwater real estate loans, consumer bankruptcy, and bankruptcy litigation. Colt has worked out of Mountain State Justice’s Clarksburg satellite office since 2012. Colt graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 2007, where he was a member of the Trial Advocacy Competition Team, and received his Bachelor’s Degree from Transylvania University in 2001.
Brandie Huff Paralegal
Brandie began working for the Clarksburg office of Mountain State Justice in the summer of 2009. Previously, Brandie had 17 years of experience in retail management. Brandie received her Paralegal Degree in the Spring of 2009.
Miranda Johnson Paralegal
Miranda joined the Mountain State Justice team in August of 2010. She graduated from West Virginia State University in 1997 with a Business Management degree and later became a paralegal in 2005 after graduating with her diploma from Ashworth University.
Rachel Kerns Office Administrator
Rachel joined the Mountain State Justice team in Spring of 2017 as an office administrator. Rachel brings with her over 15 years of financial and budget management, as well as a full range of administrative and management experience. She is involved in various community and statewide projects, and serves on the board of the West Virginia International Film Festival, Kanawha State Forest Foundation and the local chapter of Girls Run the Nation.
Jackie Lane Paralegal
Jackie joined Mountain State Justice as a paralegal in September, 2017. Jackie has worked as a paralegal for 10+ years and has experience in a variety of aspects of law including, but not limited to, medical malpractice, personal injury, employment law, lemon law, and consumer law.
Blaire L. Malkin Attorney
Blaire joined Mountain State Justice in 2017. Prior to working at Mountain State Justice, Blaire spent eight years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of West Virginia, where she served as the Civil Rights and Human Trafficking Coordinator. As an AUSA in the criminal division, Blaire prosecuted complex mail and wire fraud schemes, racketeering, environmental crimes, mine safety violations, and violent crimes. Blaire previously clerked for Judge Joseph R. Goodwin in the Southern District of West Virginia. Blaire graduated from Harvard Law School in 2006. Blaire received her bachelor’s degree with high honors from Tufts University in Medford, MA.
David McMahon Legislative Advocate
Dave represents the interests of Mountain State Justice’s clients at the West Virginia legislature. Dave worked at Legal Aid of West Virginia from 1975 until 2009. Dave received his J.D. from George Washington University Law School in 1975 and his bachelor’s degree from West Virginia Wesleyan.
Lydia C. Milnes Attorney
Lydia, who joined Mountain State Justice in January 2012, focuses primarily on the reform of institutions such as mental health, juvenile, and correctional facilities. Lydia additionally advocates to protect the legal rights of children in need of special education and West Virginia consumers. Lydia is currently serving as a member of the West Virginia State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. After graduating from Northeastern University School of Law in 2007, Lydia spent two years clerking for Judge Irene Keeley in federal district court in the Northern District of West Virginia, and then clerked for two and a half years for Justice Margaret Workman on West Virginia’s Supreme Court of Appeals. Before law school, Lydia worked as a legal assistant in the national office of the American Civil Liberties Union. Lydia received her bachelor’s degree from Haverford College, where she graduated with honors in political science.
Michael Nissim-Sabat Attorney
Michael first joined Mountain State Justice in September 2013 to begin his legal career in consumer protection as a Post-Graduate Fellow awarded by the West Virginia Fund for Law in the Public Interest. Michael graduated from West Virginia University College of Law in 2013, graduating in the top 10% of his class (Order of the Coif) and with Pro Bono Distinction. He served as the President of Public Interest Advocates, and he was an Executive Editor with the West Virginia Law Review. In 2015-16, Michael served as a law clerk to the Honorable Stephanie D. Thacker on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and following his clerkship, Michael returned to Mountain State Justice’s Clarksburg office. Michael received his undergraduate degree from the University of Mary Washington and a master’s degree from Marshall University.
Jed Nolan Attorney
Jed joined Mountain State Justice as an attorney in October 2017. Jed worked at Legal Aid of West Virginia, Inc. before joining a private practice to focus solely on protecting West Virginia consumers from unfair credit reporting and predatory lending. Jed graduated from the WVU College of Law in 2008, where he was a member of the Moot Court team. Jed received his bachelor’s degree from Marshall University. Jed has been a lifelong resident of southern West Virginia, where he is staffing the satellite office in Beckley, West Virginia.
Mona Perry Paralegal
Mona joined Mountain State Justice as a litigation paralegal in October 2016. Mona has worked as a paralegal for 20+ years in a variety of aspects of law. Mona received her paralegal degree in 1987.
Sam Petsonk Attorney
Sam joined Mountain State Justice in 2013 as a Skadden Fellow, launching the Miner Safety and Health Project. Sam practices in the areas of workers’ rights, employment law, cooperative law, and various public interest and class action matters. He spent several years working for U.S. Senators Robert C. Byrd and Carte Goodwin in Washington, DC on energy and labor policy. Sam earned his law degree at Washington & Lee University. He is engaged in various community and economic development projects, and serves on the West Virginia Advisory Committee of the Natural Capital Investment Fund.
Kim Richards Intake Clerk/Receptionist
Kim joined Mountain State Justice in 2016. Kim worked as a legal assistant from 2006 to early 2015. In 2015, prior to joining Mountain State Justice, Kim was the administrative assistant in a real estate company as well as a real estate agent.
Loree Stark Attorney
Loree joined Mountain State Justice in 2016. Previously, Loree worked as a staff attorney for the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky (AppalReD), where she focused primarily on consumer protection and housing issues. While at AppalReD, she was a co-chair of the statewide legal services Consumer Law Task Force and served on the board of the Kentucky Equal Justice Center. She is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School and received her bachelor’s degree from Murray State University.
Gary Smith Attorney
Gary Smith received his J.D. with honors from Ohio State in 1977. He served 23 years with legal service programs in Ohio, including 13 years as litigation director for the program serving 28 counties in the Appalachian areas of that state. Gary thereafter focused on class action consumer and civil rights work as a managing partner of a private law firm in southern Ohio and as special litigation counsel for the Equal Justice Project, a non-profit public interest law firm. Gary joined Mountain State Justice after serving four years as a senior attorney with the Northwest Justice Project in the state of Washington.
Nicole Warner Paralegal
Nicole joined Mountain State Justice in 2014. She has worked in the legal field for thirteen years. Nicole received her Paralegal Degree in 2002.
Shannon Walker File Clerk
Elizabeth Wehner, Chair
Frank Crabtree, Vice-Chair
Ted Boettner, Secretary/Treasurer
Robert S. Baker
Charles Richard DiSalvo
Charles “Skip” Garten, Jr.
Ray E. Ratliff