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Our Firm's Most Notable Successes

Defending Clients' Rights for More Than Five Decades

Click here to view a list of our firm's most notable victories.

The field of employment law really began with amendments to the federal anti-discrimination law in 1991 (Title VII). Until that time, victims of employment discrimination could not obtain compensatory or punitive damages. As a result, few cases were instituted under that law because the available remedies were very limited. When Title VII was amended to allow broader remedies, a body of law sprang up so rapidly that in certain years as many cases were decided by the United States Supreme Court on the subject of employment as in any other field. In the 1980s, Murray Schwartz, the senior partner of Schwartz Perry & Heller, represented Anneka Thoreson in an action on her behalf for sexual harassment. At that time, the only statute that provided monetary relief to a victim of discrimination was the New York State Human Rights law.

The Thoreson case was the first case brought under that law to be tried to a conclusion. Mr. Schwartz prevailed at trial in a landmark decision establishing that a victim of sexual harassment could prevail on her testimony alone, a finding that was upheld by the highest appellate court in New York State. The Court decision, after trial, provided for a $4 million punitive damage award, which the appellate courts held as unavailable under State law. However, the decision paved the way for victims of sexual harassment, on their testimony alone, to seek and to justifiably recover their remedies under the existing human rights law throughout America. Other laws have since been enacted to specifically provide for such additional remedies. Thoreson has been cited at least 516 times over the years.

The Thoreson decision, coupled with the amendments to the federal anti-discrimination law and the enactment of the New York City Human Rights Law, made it essential that we at Schwartz Perry & Heller dedicate all our efforts to participating in the growing field of employment law. It was at that time, that we decided to channel our energies into the field of employment law on behalf of employees, where we could use our strong and extensive litigation experience in serving the needs of victims in workplace-related problems. After Thoreson, the New York City Council enacted the New York City Human Rights Law, which specifically contained a provision permitting punitive damages. The constitutionality of the City Law was attacked in another first impression case, Bracker v. Cohen, in which our firm again represented the employee.

We defended the constitutionality of the law through the entire appellate process where it was determined that the New York City Human Rights Law was constitutional. Since that time, hundreds and hundreds of cases have been instituted under the New York City Human Rights Law, which has provided relief to those who have relied upon it. One such individual was Maureen McIntyre, the plaintiff/employee in McIntyre v. Manhattan Ford, who we also had the privilege and good fortune to represent. In that case, we obtained a jury verdict in a sexual harassment case that was historic in its size and ultimate payment. The award by the jury in the McIntyre case was $6.6 million and was, at the time, the largest amount awarded to a single plaintiff in a sexual harassment case in the United States.

Although the verdict was subsequently reduced to $3.1 million on appeal, the amount paid to Ms. McIntyre still remains one of the highest awards paid to a plaintiff in a sexual harassment case in the United States. It was in the McIntyre case that the trial court, quoting the Talmud, stated that "humiliation murders the soul," a quote that has frequently been used to portray the results of sexual harassment on its victims. These three groundbreaking sexual harassment cases were so broad in scope that they have had a lasting impact upon employment law as it is practiced in New York. During the past 20 years, our specialty in employment law has expanded and flourished.

Our staff has been enlarged, the volume of cases we handle has multiplied significantly, our expertise has broadened, our achievements have grown and we have been rated and recognized as one of the preeminent law firms in the field of employment law. As attorneys, we feel privileged to have the opportunity to use our skills and experience to help our clients. We remain committed to providing professional and respectful service to all our clients. We are proud of our efforts and the meaningful results we have accomplished during the 55 years we have been in practice. We remain guided by our commitment to excellence in our fight for employees who have had their rights violated in the workplace, in any fashion and to any degree.

Schwartz Perry & Heller Victories:

OBTAINED $1.3 MILLION JURY VERDICT AGAINST UPS FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT
March 5, 2014- Brian Heller and Davida Perry of Schwartz Perry & Heller won a $1.3 million jury verdict against UPS in a sexual harassment trial. Our client had been subject to repeated acts of sexual harassment at UPS, and retained Schwartz & Perry to represent her. After a five week trial, the jury awarded our client compensatory and punitive damages.


PREVAILED IN 2ND CIRCUIT APPEAL OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIM UNDER HUMAN RIGHTS LAW
We are pleased to share a favorable decision from the 2nd Circuit regarding Sexual Harassment claims under the New York City Human Rights Law. The case is Mihalik v. Credit Agricole Cheuvreux North America, Inc. ( Docket No.: 11-3361-cv).


PREVAILED IN MAJOR JURY VERDICT IN RETALIATION CASE
Schwartz Perry & Heller is proud to announce that, on January 25, 2013, a jury, after two days of deliberation, returned a verdict in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut in favor of our client on her retaliation claim against her employer awarding $200,000 for emotional distress and $ 1 million in punitive damages. The case was tried by Schwartz & Perry attorneys Brian Heller and Matthew T. Schatz. The plaintiff alleged that after she complained about sexual harassment, she was stripped of job responsibilities and punished for her complaint.


OBTAINED JURY VERDICT IN OUR CLIENTS' FAVOR FOR THE SECOND TIME IN LESS THAN ONE MONTH
April 14, 2011 - Schwartz Perry & Heller recently completed another trial in Supreme Court, New York County, in which we represented three former employees in an action involving their former employer in which our clients prevailed in every respect. This favorable verdict was the second occasion in less than one month in which our clients fully prevailed by securing a jury verdict after trial. We are pleased at our good fortune on behalf of our clients.


DEFEATED A MOTION TO DISMISS IN SUPREME COURT - NEW YORK COUNTY
March 30, 2011 - It is always a joy to obtain a Decision which is totally in favor of your client. It is even more joyful when that Decision is, in part, based upon one of your own cases. That makes the result even more significant. We are delighted that this has just occurred with regard to one of our cases, Azevedo et al. v. Gateway Frontline Services, Inc. (109316/09), in which our clients assert race and national origin discrimination, as well as retaliation claims.

In Azevedo et al., the Court denied the motion made to dismiss the case, and cited to another one of our cases, Hughes v. UPS, to support its decision to deny the motion. We believe the language of the decision in the recently decided Azevedo case has significance, not only because it provided a result completely in favor of the plaintiffs, but because the language of the Decision in favor of the plaintiffs, could effectively be employed by others involved in a similar motion. It is for that reason that we thought it might prove helpful to share this Decision with our colleagues.


OBTAINED JURY VERDICT IN FAVOR OF CLIENT IN PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION CLAIM
On Monday, February 14, 2011, following a six-day trial in the New York County Supreme Court, the jury returned a verdict in favor of our client, after less than a day of deliberation. The verdict was awarded for financial and emotional damages. The jury found that our client's pregnancy was a motivating factor in her former employer's decision to terminate her only three weeks after she announced that she was pregnant. The case was tried by partners Davida S. Perry and Brian Heller along with associate.


PREVAILED ON A SIGNIFICANT MOTION IN AN AGE DISCRIMINATION CASE
We are pleased to announce that on June 30, 2010, the New York County Supreme Court granted our request to depose the most senior officer of the Defendant corporation in a litigation brought by one of our clients for age discrimination. The Defendant attempted to invoke a provision of the CPLR and Murray Schwartz and Matthew Schatz successfully argued that the provision invoked did not apply to the circumstances in this case. We are pleased that our efforts on behalf of our client were successful.


OBTAINED FAVORABLE DECISION IN PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION MOTION
Schwartz Perry & Heller prevailed against a motion by Defendant seeking dismissal of a claim for pregnancy discrimination brought by a Schwartz & Perry client. The plaintiff, was terminated just 23 days after informing her employer that she was pregnant. The employer made a motion seeking dismissal of the case, claiming that she was fired for performance reasons. The Court denied the motion, finding that the plaintiff had successfully established that a jury could find the company's performance argument to be a pretext for unlawful pregnancy discrimination. We are pleased to share this success with our colleagues and friends.


DEFENDED AGAINST A MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
We are pleased to announce that on July 9, 2009, the New York County Supreme Court denied summary judgment in a perceived disability and retaliation case called Smallen v. New York University. In this case, where the plaintiff alleged that her supervisor made disparaging remarks about her after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and then demoted her, the case should be heard by a jury. We are delighted that our efforts on behalf of our client assisted in making that possible.

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Schwartz Perry & Heller
New York Employment Law Attorney
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New York, NY 10017
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