David B. Bryson, a poverty lawyer and expert in the
field of housing law, died Christmas Day of lung cancer. Mr. Bryson, 58, received the
Loren Miller Legal Services Award, the State Bars highest honor, last October in
recognition of a 29-year career devoted to the legal needs of the poor.
As deputy director of the National Housing Law Project in Oakland,
Mr. Bryson litigated cases, drafted legislation, wrote manuals and provided advice to
housing attorneys throughout the country.
So great was his expertise, said Florence Wagman Roisman, an
associate law professor at Indiana University, that no responsible housing advocate
in the United States would undertake to do anything out of the ordinary without first
consulting David Bryson.
A graduate of Princeton University and Columbia law school, Mr.
Bryson was a self-effacing man who preferred working in the trenches to advancing to
Perhaps his most critical legal victory for public housing advocates
was a 1987 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court gave public housing residents the right to
sue over alleged violations of federal housing law.
The case benefitted literally millions of public housing residents,
A resident of Piedmont, Mr. Bryson is survived by his wife, two sons
and a daughter. The family requested that contributions in Mr. Brysons memory be made to the NHLP, 314
Grand Ave., Suite 320, Oakland 94610.