Many significant cases have helped to advance and shape our human rights
laws as they exist today. Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP is proud and privileged
to have participated in a number of these cases that have had a considerable
impact in the field of employment law and continue to be cited to this day.
We refer to three of our most influential cases as the trilogy. The trilogy
consists of two cases that our firm tried to a successful conclusion and
a third that opened the door to establishing the validity of the New York
City Human Rights Law. All of these were results we are proud of because
each of them advanced the cause of employees in the workplace.
Representation from Schwartz Perry & Heller
First, we represented the plaintiff in
Thoreson v. Penthouse, the landmark case that has received national recognition as one of the
first precedential cases in which a trial court reproached the atrocities
of sexual harassment in the workplace. The trial court awarded compensatory
damages to Ms. Thoreson, as well as $4 million in punitive damages. Although
the appellate courts determined that punitive damages were not available
because such relief was not specifically provided for under the State
statute, the appellate courts nevertheless upheld the trial courts decision
on the merits of the case. For this reason, Thoreson continues to be frequently
cited and relied upon to this day. The appellate courts, by affirming
the finding of sexual harassment, established that a victim of sexual
harassment can prove her case on her testimony alone. The Thoreson case
was tried by our senior partner, Murray Schwartz, and argued by him before
both the Appellate Division and the Court of Appeals, where he was joined
on both occasions by his partner/daughter Davida S. Perry.
Bracker v. Cohen, the second case in the trilogy, is a sexual harassment case brought under
the New York City Human Rights Law. The employer in Bracker immediately
moved to dismiss the case on the grounds that the New York City Human
Rights Law, which had just been enacted, was unconstitutional. Mr. Schwartz,
joined by Ms. Perry, prevailed both before the motion court and the Appellate
Division, in their strong opposition against the employers effort to invalidate
the law. This law that we helped establish as constitutional has since
protected and served the interests of many New York City employees who
have required judicial assistance in preserving their human rights.
McIntyre v. Manhattan Ford, Mr. Schwartz, again joined by his daughter, Ms. Perry, obtained a $6.6
million verdict from a jury in a sexual harassment/retaliation case. Following
the trial, the defendant appealed the verdict. The final judgment, in
favor of the plaintiff, awarded our client $3.1 million dollars, still
one of the highest awards in a sexual harassment case in the country.
How Our New York Employment Lawyer Has Helped
These three cases have had a profound effect on employment law and as
New York sexual harassment lawyers
we are proud of our involvement and successful results in all of them.
We feel privileged to have the opportunity to help our clients protect
their rights and in so doing, many others in the workplace, as well.