Troutman Pepper Pro Bono Team Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of California Women’s Law Center and 24 Nationwide Co-Signatories

June 23, 2021

Amy Poyer,, 323-951-1041

ORANGE COUNTY, CA—On June 17, 2021, a Troutman Pepper pro bono team filed an amicus curiae brief in California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three, on behalf of the California Women’s Law Center and 24 supporting co-signatories from around the country, including the Battered Women’s Justice Project; the Los Angeles LGBT Center; and Professor Joan S. Meier, one of the country’s leading experts on domestic violence law and director of the National Family Violence Law Center at The George Washington University Law School.

The team included California Women’s Law Center Senior Staff Attorney Amy Poyer, as well as a Troutman Pepper cohort consisting of Partner Pamela Palmer, Counsel Elizabeth Holt Andrews, and Associates Lauren Grochow, Cindy Lee, and Sara Mohamed.

The amicus brief supports a domestic violence survivor’s challenge to a mutual civil restraining order that creates a false equivalence between abuser and abused. California’s Domestic Violence Protection Act requires detailed fact findings to support a mutual restraining order, because true instances of mutual domestic abuse are exceedingly rare. The brief highlights the broad negative consequences that a wrongfully issued mutual restraining order can inflict on a survivor and explains that implicit bias and unfair gender stereotypes can lead to a pernicious overuse of such orders.

“It was an honor to work on this brief,“ said Andrews, who served as lead writer. “A wrongfully issued mutual restraining order victimizes the non-aggressor (usually a woman) in a host of ways—legal, emotional, social, and psychological. Such mutual orders are, and should be, very rare and difficult to obtain.”

“Mutual restraining orders have been controversial for several decades now,” added Grochow, who led the research effort for the brief. “We consulted more than 100 primary and secondary sources in drafting this brief; taken as a whole, they show that the risks inherent in their issuance are high. Mutual orders often do more harm than good in the end.”

Poyer commented, “Domestic violence is a pervasive problem throughout our state, and low-income women and women of color like the appellant are harmed most. Survivors face high rates of depression, suicidal behavior, and physical health issues. They are also more likely to lose their jobs, their housing, and other support due to the abuse. Reversing this mutual order is critical to provide the appellant and other survivors with the support they need.”

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A redacted version of the brief is available here.


California Women’s Law Center
The California Women’s Law Center (CWLC) is a non-profit law and policy center whose mission is to create a more just and equitable society by breaking down barriers and advancing the potential of women and girls through impact litigation, policy advocacy and education. CWLC serves as an expert resource for girls, parents, coaches, administrators, and policy makers who want to ensure girls get their fair chance to play. We overwhelmingly focus our efforts on assisting low-income women and girls and communities of color. More information about CWLC’s work can be found at

About Troutman Pepper
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