| Who We Are
Mountain State Justice Staff
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.
Sara Bird, Attorney
Sara has worked as an attorney for Mountain State Justice since the fall of 2006. During law school, Sara worked for two summers at Mountain State Justice through the Public Interest Advocates internship program. Before attending law school, Sara served homeless individuals at Bartlett House in Morgantown, WV. Sara graduated from West Virginia College of Law in 2006, and she received her bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University.
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.
Kim Cooper, Office Manager
Since 1997, Kim has worked as the office manager and paralegal at Mountain State Justice, and has worked in the legal field for over thirty years. Kim has a B.A. in Business Administration from Glenville State College. She is a mother of three, grandmother of two, and an avid supporter of the Human Rights Campaign.
Tonya Fields, Paralegal
Tonya began working for Mountain State Justice in the summer of 2008. Tonya has eight years of experience as a legal office assistant and additional experience in small business management.
Colten L. Fleu, Attorney
Colt joined Mountain State Justice in November of 2012 from a consumer rights and bankruptcy law firm in Madison, Wisconsin. Colt works out of MSJ’s Clarksburg satellite office. Colt has been selected as a presenter and has contributed to several seminars focusing on underwater real estate loans and consumer bankruptcy alternatives. Colt graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 2007 where he was a member of the Trial Advocacy Competition Team. Colt received his Bachelor’s Degree from Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky.
Brandie Huff, Paralegal
Brandie began working for the Clarksburg office of Mountain State Justice in the summer of 2009. Brandie has three years of experience as a legal assistant and 17 years in retail management. Brandie received her Paralegal Degree in the Spring of 2009.
Miranda Johnson, Paralegal
Miranda has worked as a paralegal in the legal field for six years and has worked for Mountain State Justice since August 2010. She is a graduate of West Virginia University and Ashworth University.
Tina Koerber, Paralegal
Tina joined Mountain State Justice in 2012. Tina has worked as a paralegal for 5 years, including working at Legal Aid of West Virginia from 2009 to 2012. She is a graduate of the American Institute of Paralegal Studies in Atlanta, Ga.
Daniel T. Lattanzi, Attorney
Dan joined Mountain State Justice in September 2012. After spending two years with a defense firm out of law school, Dan spent the next two years working for the Law Office of Roger D. Forman, L.C., a general plaintiff’s practice with an emphasis on employment law. Dan graduated from the WVU College of Law in 2008, where he was a member of the West Virginia Law Review and Marlyn E. Lugar Trial Association. Dan received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
David McMahon, Legislative Advocate
In addition, 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 joined Mountain State Justice in January 2012 to work on consumer protection and civil rights litigation. 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
As the Post-Graduate Fellow through the West Virginia Fund for Law in the Public Interest, Michael joined Mountain State's Clarksburg office in September 2013 to begin his legal career in consumer protection. Michael graduated from WVU College of Law in 2013, graduating in the top 10% 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. Michael received his undergraduate degree from the University of Mary Washington and his master’s degree from Marshall University.
Sam Petsonk, Miner Safety and Health Project Attorney
Sam joined Mountain State Justice in 2013 to launch the Miner Safety and Health Project. He spent several years working as a legislative staffer on energy policy and coal miners’ health and safety for U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd in Washington, DC. After leaving Senator Byrd’s office, he worked for U.S. Senator Carte Goodwin and then returned to school, earning a law degree at Washington & Lee University where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment. During and after law school, Sam held numerous internships and fellowships relating to mine safety and consumer protection. He received an undergraduate degree in geography from Brandeis University, and he has worked on various community economic development projects in southern West Virginia.
Bren J. Pomponio, Litigation 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.
Gary M. 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.
Jennifer S. Wagner, Managing Attorney
Jennifer began working as an attorney for Mountain State Justice in the summer of 2008. Prior to joining Mountain State Justice, Jennifer clerked for Judge M. Blane Michael on the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Jennifer graduated from the New York University School of Law in 2007, where she was a member of the Order of the Coif. Previously, Jennifer worked as an advocate for HIV+ homeless adults in New York, NY. Jennifer received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.
Mountain State Justice Board of Directors
Charles Richard DiSalvo
E. Dandridge McDonald
Ray E. Ratliff