Skip to Content
Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP Landmark Sexual Harassment Cases

Landmark Sexual Harassment Cases

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.

In 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.
    Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP

    Why Choose Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP?

    • 100+ Years of Collective Experience
    • Personalized & Compassionate Service
    • Award-Winning Legal Counsel
    • A Track Record of Success
      "Always available, conscientious and extremely knowledgeable."

      Outstanding lawyer. Always available, conscientious and extremely knowledgeable. Excellent at following-up both with his clients and with opposing counsel. Regardless of the size of the case, Brian will put in the work and always treat his clients with the utmost professionalism and respect.

      - N.W.
      "I trusted them entirely."

      I received the most compassionate and professional assistance from SP&H. I felt that Mr. Heller truly cared about me and the situation I was in. He was able to be my voice during a difficult time. He responded promptly to any correspondence, took the time to explain to me any questions or concerns, and helped ease any kind of stress that I had during a dispute with a previous employer. I highly recommend this firm. You are not just a number, they treat you like family. I trusted them entirely. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your devoted time and effort in my legal matter.

      - A.M.
      "Their integrity, personal attention, and knowledge are superior."
      Schwartz, Perry & Heller, LLP are the most skilled Lawyers for your discrimination case in the Tri-State area. Their integrity, personal attention, and knowledge are superior. They won my case and can win yours. Nothing beats the best.
      - D.K.
      "Caring, smart, highly skilled negotiators"
      Davida Perry and Brian Heller are very caring, attentive and highly skilled negotiators who gave me expert representation to win my negotiation and achieve my goals.
      - D.
      New York, NY
      "From day 1 of the consultation to the very end I felt like the most important client to the firm."
      Amazing team of Attorneys. From day 1 of the consultation to the very end I felt like the most important client to the firm. Brian Heller who I dealt with personally was amazing. Whether it was a call or email responses were very prompt and I was kept informed every step of the way. Even a few calls just to check in and say hello. Truly an incredible experience and I would recommend them to anyone seeking justice. If they take your case they will fight with you to the end. A+
      - D.W.
      "We remain tremendously grateful for his support and look forward to working with him again."
      On short notice, Brian Heller reviewed contracts with complex international dimensions and found important discrepancies that I and other senior-level executives had missed completely. He was fast, thorough, and detail-oriented in providing pragmatic advice that enabled us to be sure that we were getting the fairest and best possible treatment under the law. We remain tremendously grateful for his support and look forward to working with him again.
      - Eric
      "Davida Perry not only did an amazing job calming down my nerves but she fought for me tooth and nail and did a great job securing what my past employer owed me."
      After having a terrible experience at my last job, facing the anxiety again of having to rehash the treatment was daunting. Davida Perry not only did an amazing job calming down my nerves but she fought for me tooth and nail and did a great job securing what my past employer owed me. I won’t lie, there were moments I wanted to give up, but Davida was always there to help me stay focused and realize that I didn’t need to let them win. She was really great at countering all of their arguments, I pity anyone that would try to prove her wrong. She thought of everything we need and kept me constantly updated. Mostly what I appreciated about Davida was her kindness, and her genuine care for my mental health. She wanted to make sure I was taking care of myself during a very trying time. I cannot recommend this firm enough. They all clearly care about their clients and want to do best for you. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, and if you’re worried about the challenges that lie ahead be sure to team with Schwartz Perry & Heller, they will have your back and fight for justice.
      - T.B.
      "He was nothing but professional and incredibly responsive. I can't recommend him enough."
      Brian was extremely helpful and responsive it helping me review my first ever separation agreement. He was able to explain the legalese in a way that allowed me to understand the risks I could be taking on down the road. After speaking to him, I was able to negotiate to include additional language in my agreement that will protect my future career. He was nothing but professional and incredibly responsive. I can't recommend him enough.
      - Former Client