Food Project DirectorJessica Culpepper is Director of Public Justice's Food Project. Before joining Public Justice, Jessica was a Barker Fellow and Staff Attorney at the Humane Society of the United States in the Farm Animal Welfare Division.
There she worked primarily on fighting pollution from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and advocating for federal and state policy reform to advance sustainable food systems and the humane treatment of animals. Jessica also defended constitutional challenges to state laws protecting the treatment of dogs in puppy mills and preventing the practice of cockfighting.
Jessica is a 2007 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, where she won the Outstanding Clinic Achievement Award in the Domestic Violence Clinic and helped establish the Georgetown Journal of Law & Modern Critical Race Perspective. She received her B.A. in history and political science from Warren Wilson College in 2004, where she won the Alton P. Pfaff Award for Most Outstanding Member of the Graduating Class.
Jason H. Connor
Food Project FellowJason Connor is an attorney and the Food Project’s legal fellow. His work at Public Justice centers on developing litigation aimed at increasing transparency in federal and state agricultural regulation and public accountability in Big Ag.
Jason is a recent graduate of NYU School of Law, where he pursued clinical environmental work in the E.D.N.Y.’s Civil Division and as part of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Environmental Justice team. Prior to that, Jason was a summer associate at Reed Smith LLP’s New York office and an appellate intern with the Federal Public Defender’s office in Dallas, Texas.
Food Project Senior AttorneyDavid S. Muraskin is a Food Project Senior Attorney with Public Justice in Washington, D.C. He focuses on impact litigation to promote sustainable alternatives to the industrial animal agriculture system.
His docket consists of constitutional, consumer, worker, and environmental cases.
Of particular note, he is lead counsel in two of the “Ag-gag” cases—a series of challenges to state laws that penalize investigations of factory farming. In that role, he secured the first appellate court decision holding that those investigations are protected by the First Amendment, and obtained a judgment striking down portions of the Wyoming Ag-Gag statutes.
David also represents ranchers, farmers, and consumers who are being exploited by corporate consolidation in the food industry. For example, he represents the nation’s largest association of independent ranchers in suits concerning the advertising and labeling of beef. And, he is counsel in two antitrust cases on behalf of poultry growers against Tyson and other integrators.
David speaks regularly on the legal and structural barriers to a more fair, transparent, and equitable food system. He also served as an Adjunct Professor at Vermont Law School, where he taught on food justice, and is currently an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches on the procedural and strategic considerations in complex civil litigation.
Prior to joining Public Justice, David prosecuted first-of-its-kind qui tam litigation, served as the Alan Morrison Supreme Court Assistance Project Fellow with Public Citizen, and clerked for Judge James L. Dennis on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
David graduated from Stanford Law School with Distinction, has a Master’s in Forced Migration from Oxford University, St. Antony’s College, and received a B.A. from the University of Chicago with highest honors.
Food Project Senior AttorneyBrent Newell is a Food Project Senior Attorney with Public Justice in Oakland, California, where he works with the Food Project team to reform the industrial animal agriculture system, support impacted communities, and promote sustainable alternatives.
Prior to joining Public Justice in 2018, Brent was an attorney with the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment in Oakland, California. Brent brings eighteen years of litigation and legislative experience on air quality, climate change, factory farm, environmental justice, and civil rights issues to the Food Project. His experience includes a series of cases to help rural communities protect themselves from factory farm pollution and enforce the Clean Air Act. Brent’s has also focused on redressing climate change impacts and developing just and equitable policy to reduce greenhouse gases, including reforming cap and trade, strengthening air pollution laws, and representing the Native Village of Kivalina in public nuisance litigation.
In 2008, Brent received the Clean Air Award for Leadership from Breathe California for his work to reduce agricultural air pollution.
He earned a degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz (Stevenson College) and graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law.
Food Project Outreach ManagerAmeesha Sampat, Food Project Outreach Manager, is responsible for creating opportunities for Public Justice’s supporters and allies to mobilize around key issues through the development of grassroots and community engagement strategies. She joined Public Justice’s Washington, D.C. office in October of 2017.
Prior to joining Public Justice, Ameesha managed digital strategies at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, where she implemented campaigns around Advancing Justice | AAJC’s political, grassroots, and legal advocacy work. Ameesha has extensive experience in digital advocacy and organizing within the immigrant and LGBTQ communities, as well as communities of color and progressive faith communities. Ameesha is also a mentor with Esperanza Education Fund, a volunteer-led organization that provides college scholarships and professional mentorship to local immigrant students regardless of national origin, ethnicity, or immigration status.
Food Project Associate AttorneyKellan Smith is a Food Project Associate Attorney with Public Justice in Washington, D.C. where he supports the efforts of the Project to thwart corporate oppression inherent in the industrial animal agriculture system.
Prior to joining Public Justice in 2019, Kellan was a Staff Attorney at the Center for Food Safety (CFS). There, Kellan contributed to the litigation and policy work of CFS’ Animal Factories Program and spearheaded CFS’ efforts to open government decision-making to public scrutiny by enforcing open-records laws such as the Freedom of Information Act.
Kellan graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 2017 with a concentration in environmental law. As a law student, Kellan clerked for CFS, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Environmental Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. Kellan is admitted to the bar in California.
Food Project ParalegalLisa Reed joined Public Justice in 2019 as the Food Project paralegal, supporting the Food Project in all aspects of their work. Before joining Public Justice, Lisa worked as a litigation and government contracts paralegal. She received her Master’s Degree in Political Science from Boston College.