ATLANTA – December 9, 2013 – Troutman Sanders LLP was recognized by the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia and given its 2013 Pro-Bono award on Thursday night. The firm was honored for its efforts in helping Mark Lyttle, a United States citizen, recover damages after the then 31 year-old was illegally deported to Mexico by U.S. authorities in 2008.

 A team of lawyers from Troutman Sanders, including Michael Johnson, Brian Watt, Alex Reyes and Michael Wall, represented Lyttle, a North Carolina native with mental disabilities, in his lawsuit. In 2010, the firm brought suit on Lyttle’s behalf against the United States and various officials, along with the North Carolina Department of Corrections, among others. The cases were settled in 2012 and 2013. 

In 2008, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained Lyttle as a suspected, undocumented immigrant from Mexico. Even with evidence of his United States citizenship, ICE officials started removal proceedings after coercing Lyttle into signing a statement admitting he was in the United States illegally. He was eventually deported to Mexico, where he spent 125 days before being allowed to return to the United States. The ACLU has written more about Lyttle’s case in this press release.

“Few of us could ever imagine what it would feel like to be banished from your home country and left to fend for yourself, but that’s exactly what happened to Mark Lyttle,” said Michael Johnson, a partner with Troutman Sanders who led the team on Lyttle’s behalf. “We are so honored to have helped him receive his rightful compensation for his ordeal and thankful to the ACLU for recognizing us for our work on this matter.”   

About Troutman Sanders:

Troutman Sanders LLP is an international law firm with approximately 600 lawyers and offices located throughout North America and Asia. Founded in 1897, the firm’s lawyers provide counsel and advice in practically every aspect of civil and commercial law related to the firm’s core practice areas: Corporate, Energy and Industry Regulation, Finance, Litigation and Real Estate. Firm clients range from multinational corporations to individual entrepreneurs, federal and state agencies to foreign governments, and non-profit organizations to businesses representing virtually every sector and industry. See for more information.