FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Attorney Jonathan D. Montag Receives the
CLAY Award as an Attorney of the Year for Outstanding
Achievement in Immigration Law
California – Attorney Jonathan
D. Montag was recently honored by California Lawyer
Magazine at the annual Attorney of the Year Awards
in San Francisco on March 2, 2006. He was selected
for the CLAY award for immigration for his work in
the case of Tchoukhrova v. Gonzales [404 F.3d 1181
(2005), petition for rehearing denied, 430 F.3d 1222
(2005)]. The CLAY Awards recognize California attorneys
whose work has had a significant impact in 2005 or
whose achievements are expected to do so in the coming
years. This year, 47 attorneys were recognized, out
of a State Bar membership of more than 200,000 attorneys.
The Tchoukhrova case established that children with
serious disabilities and their families constitute
a “particular social group” that may qualify
for asylum based on a well-founded fear of persecution.
The case also highlighted that hardships to family
members can be considered cumulatively. Thus, the
hardship to a child can be considered in addition
to a parent’s own hardship within a family social
group in considering a parent’s asylum claim.
Evgueni Tchoukhrova was born in 1991 in Vladivostok,
Russia with infantile cerebral palsy. This disability
resulted primarily from the negligence of the staff
of the Russian hospital who broke the baby’s
neck by trying to forcibly extract him with forceps,
and then discarded him immediately after birth into
a container containing medical waste as “they
didn’t see a reason for him to live.”
Miraculously, Evgueni survived and was taken to a
state-run facility for children with birth defects
but government officials denied him access to his
mother for his first two months of life. The record
reflects that Russian state policy is to deny humane
treatment to the handicapped in its institutions.
As a young boy, he was often spat upon and physically
attacked by members of the public. One particularly
severe incident resulted in a broken arm and severe
head trauma which required two months of hospitalization.
Nonetheless, he was denied any protection by the police,
who refused to accept a police report as such abuse
was considered to be insignificant. Evgueni’s
parents were able to bring their son to the U.S. in
2000 and subsequently applied for asylum.
About Montag & Nadalin LLP
Montag & Nadalin LLP is firm concentrating its
practice in all aspects of Immigration and Nationality
Law. Mr. Montag is a frequent speaker and writer on
immigration matters and previously served as the President
of the San Diego American Immigration Lawyers Association.