Mr. Schwartz was widely recognized as the lead trial and appellate attorney
who represented the plaintiff throughout the trial in the Appellate Division,
and thereafter in the Court of Appeals of New York, in the landmark case of
Thoreson v. Penthouse Magazine and Robert Guccione. In
Thoreson, the finding of sexual harassment was sustained on appeal by both the
Appellate Division and the Court of Appeals, which held that a claim of
sexual harassment can be established based on the victim’s testimony alone.
Mr. Schwartz also represented and served as the lead trial attorney for
the plaintiff in
McIntyre v. Manhattan Ford, Lincoln Mercury, a sexual harassment, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional
distress suit. A Manhattan jury awarded the plaintiff $6.6 million, which,
even after being reduced by the trial court and then by the appellate
court, still stands as one of the highest awards for sexual harassment
in the entire nation. The case, after trial, continued through the appellate
process involving the Appellate Division and the Court of Appeals and
was concluded, with judgment paid, in 1999.
McIntyre case continues to be cited and is significant because it helped to document
a standard by which to evaluate a fair recovery for the humiliation a
victim of sexual harassment can suffer. The decision of the trial court
in response to a motion made following the verdict, quoting the Talmud,
reminds us that "humiliation murders the soul." The plaintiff in
McIntyre, as well as Mr. Schwartz and Davida S. Perry, were celebrated at a ceremony
for Courageous Plaintiffs conducted by the New York Chapter of the National
Employment Lawyers Association.
The legislative history of the New York City Human Rights Law "clearly
contemplates that the New York City Human Rights Law be liberally and
independently construed with the aim of making it the most progressive
in the nation." In 2005, The New York City Council recognized that
the New York City Human Rights Law was being interpreted similarly to
comparable state and federal statutes in certain cases, despite the City
Law’s clear mandate otherwise. In October 2005, the New York City
Council enacted The Local Civil Rights Restoration Act of 2005 which stated
that the federal law "should merely serve as a base for the New York
City Human Rights Law, not its ceiling."
In June 2006, following a two-week trial in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York, the jury returned a verdict
in favor of a client of Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP in the amount of $2.5
million, of which $300,000 was an award for punitive damages. The verdict
was based upon a retaliation claim arising from the plaintiff’s
allegation of age discrimination. Since the action was brought under the
New York City Law and was removed to Federal court, the amount was not
subject to the Federal cap. After adding damages, interest and attorneys’
fees, the amount of the final judgment paid totaled nearly $4 million.
This case was tried by Murray Schwartz as the lead attorney. Davida Perry
and Brian Heller also actively participated, with Mr. Schwartz, throughout
the entire trial.
In addition to practicing law, Mr. Schwartz frequently served as a consultant
for attorneys in the field of employment law across the country. He wrote
and lectured extensively and has also appeared as a panelist at symposiums
sponsored by the New York County Lawyers’ Association, the Association
of the Bar of the City of New York, the New York State Bar Association,
the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), as well as the New
York Chapter of NELA, the Practising Law Institute, St. John’s University
and also Syracuse University College of Law.
Mr. Schwartz appeared on Fox TV and local news networks, as well as Court
TV and talk shows such as Larry King Live. Additionally, Mr. Schwartz
was frequently called upon by major New York newspapers to comment on
employment law issues.