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Civil Rights

WHAT WE DO 1960 X 1203

Taylor & Cohen LLP is committed to advancing the public good and addressing injustice. We have litigated a number of federal civil rights actions in federal courts across several states. As lawyers, we believe that we have an obligation to ensure that all persons are treated fairly and with dignity and respect before the law.

Representative Matters

  • Co-counsel with the New York Civil Liberties Union for the New York State Mental Hygiene Legal Services in a federal lawsuit brought on behalf of thousands of persons treated in, and confined to, the psychiatric units of Brooklyn’s largest public hospital, Kings County Hospital Center. Successfully secured, together with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, a complete overhaul of nearly all operations of the psychiatric units, from physical plant maintenance to patient care and discharge planning.
  • Co-counsel with Lambda Legal Services in a federal lawsuit against the Indian River School District in Philadelphia, New York. The complaint asserted discrimination claims related to the bullying of a gay student and a high school’s refusal to allow students to form a gay-straight alliance club. As a result of the litigation, the school district was required to retain consultants to educate and train faculty on responding to harrassment; compile statistics about student harrassment on its campuses; and adopt peer leadership programs to detect, prevent, and remediate harassment. Additionally, the high school permitted the formation of the gay-straight alliance club.
  • Counsel to Disability Rights New Jersey in a federal lawsuit against the New Jersey Department of Human Services and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services on behalf of thousands of New Jersey psychiatric patients challenging the lack of due process afforded to patients who are involuntarily medicated. Won a ruling that defendants had violated the rights of paitents under the U.S. Constitution and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Co-counsel with the National Center for Law and Economic Justice in a federal class action lawsuit against the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) on behalf of evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita with physical disabilities. As a result of the litigation, FEMA was required to provide accessible temporary housing facilities for all qualifying individuals in a timely manner and to establish hotlines and other means to inform persons with disabilities of their right to accessible temporary housing.