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 HelpedThese 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.
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