Civil Rights Attorneys in New York City

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Police, law enforcement, and other government entities that violate your civil rights in New York City can be held liable. Protecting the civil rights of one individual helps preserve those of everyone. The New York City civil rights attorneys at Shulman & Hill are ready to defend your rights and liberties from infringement, and we can help you pursue compensation when infringements do occur. Contact us today to learn what legal options you have to hold those in power accountable.

Your civil rights apply in everyday interactions with New York police, law enforcement, and other government personnel. These rights exist to ensure due process and equal treatment under the law. When governmental actors violate these rights, Shulman & Hill’s New York City civil rights attorneys can help you pursue justice and compensation. Learn what makes our firm one of the best and discover the types of civil rights claims you could file.

Why Choose Shulman & Hill?

Our firm is successful because we prioritize providing exceptional legal services to each and every client. Our dedication to client service is reflected in the glowing testimonials we’ve received over the years. We support victims of civil rights violations throughout the claims process, taking on even the most complex and challenging cases.

Our experienced attorneys strive to maximize the compensation available to our clients, yielding millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts. At Shulman & Hill, you’ll get high-quality, personalized representation in your New York City civil rights claim. Our dedicated legal team is committed to protecting your constitutional rights.

What Are Examples of Civil Rights Violations?

Civil rights violations can happen in a variety of interactions with police, government agencies, and their employees. In particular, New York City police officers and law enforcement personnel are common perpetrators of civil rights infringements, many of which lead to personal injury or wrongful death.

Police Brutality and Excessive Force

Encounters with the NYPD and other law enforcement offices can lead to serious infringements during stops, arrests, and investigations. Police officers are allowed to use reasonable force when detaining suspects and fulfilling their duties.

However, using excessive force can lead to a civil rights violation. Whether the force used against you was reasonable depends on the circumstances. For example, excessive force may involve a disproportionate response against cooperative subjects, as well as perceived but minimal threats to the safety of the involved officers.

False Arrests and Wrongful Convictions

Law enforcement is bound by the Constitution in making arrests, and when they fail to realize their constitutional obligations they may be liable for false arrest and/or malicious prosecution. False arrests in the context of the police happen when officers Restrict a person’s liberty in the absence of probable cause. Violations can also occur when officers fail to give proper notice of protected rights, including the right to remain silent and seek help from an attorney.

Additionally, prosecutors in New York may take on liability for wrongful convictions. Proving that you’ve been wrongly convicted of a crime requires evidence of law enforcement’s misconduct or failure to follow proper procedures. This may result in the court vacating your conviction upon showing that law enforcement violated your rights. For example, they may have failed to hand over all evidence to the defense, appropriately evaluate DNA evidence, or investigate other suspects.

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Notable Results

Shulman & Hill obtained a $2,500,000 settlement for a non-union laborer


Shulman & Hill obtained a $2,000,000 settlement for an immigrant laborer


Shulman & Hill obtained a $1,600,000 settlement for a 53-year-old union bus driver


Shulman & Hill obtained a $1,500,000 settlement for an undocumented day laborer


Shulman & Hill obtained a $1,500,000 settlement for a bus driver

Prison Abuse

Inappropriate treatment in prison, jail, or another detention center can also amount to a civil rights violation. Examples include:

  • Assault and other forms of harassment
  • Failing to protect you from other prisoners
  • Verbal and emotional harassment
  • Not providing basic and necessary medical care

How a New York Civil Rights Attorney Can Help You

A New York civil rights lawyer from Shulman & Hill can help build your claim against law enforcement and other government organizations for violating your civil rights. Attorneys Rachel Black and Cary London are prominent leaders in our civil rights practice. Their years of experience and dedication to fighting against civil rights violations are an invaluable asset to our clients and the community.

Rachel previously worked in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office in its Special Investigations Unit, where she handled police misconduct cases. Cary’s experience working with the NYPD, Bronx District Attorney’s Office, and Brooklyn Defender Services has made him one of the city’s premier trial attorneys handling civil rights cases.

Litigating civil rights lawsuits against law enforcement can be an uphill battle for plaintiffs, not least because of qualified immunity laws. Qualified immunity protects police and government officials from liability unless they violate a “clearly established” statutory or constitutional right.

Our skilled and knowledgeable lawyers understand the complexities of New York civil rights cases, especially those involving qualified immunity. They know how to overcome the challenges involved in these cases by gathering evidence to show how misconduct and abuses occurred beyond the scope of law enforcement’s legal authority and duties.

Our firm can conduct a thorough, independent investigation of the facts in your civil rights case to identify the individuals and government agencies responsible. We can gather evidence through records requests to evaluate the policies and specific misconduct that caused your injury. We will use this information and more to fight for compensation and justice on your behalf.

Police Misconduct in New York

Sadly, the NYPD and other law enforcement organizations in New York have a long history of misconduct. A recent report from the NYCLU shows that, since 2000, there have been over 180,000 complaints of police misconduct.

In 2020, 146 officers were found to have used excessive force against protesters speaking out against police brutality. In 2022, New York paid out $121 million for police misconduct, a significant increase from another $85 million paid in 2021.

Damages Available in Civil Rights Cases

You can pursue legal compensation for civil rights infringements in New York. Damages may include economic losses such as medical expenses, lost earnings, and attorney fees. They may also include non-economic losses, such as physical suffering and emotional trauma caused by the incident. In certain cases, you may also have a viable claim for punitive damages, which are meant to punish egregious misconduct by defendants.

The damages available to you will vary depending on the facts of your case and the kind of claim you are eligible to file. Our New York civil rights attorneys will consider all available forms of compensation and fight aggressively on your behalf.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Civil Rights Case?

The correct filing deadline for your case will vary based on the nature of the underlying violation and the kind of claim you bring. In all cases, however, failure to file before the correct deadline normally results in your case being dismissed in court.

Many civil rights violations are based on 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which allows you to sue state or local officials for the “deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and [federal laws].” The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that this federal statute does not have a specific statute of limitations.

Instead, courts must apply the statute of limitations that is “most appropriate” or “most analogous” under state law. Essentially, the statutes of limitation for these civil rights causes of action range from one to three years depending on the details of the case.

The key takeaway is that this area of the law is highly complex. Therefore, it’s important to meet with a civil rights lawyer as soon as possible after a violation occurs. They can help determine the correct filing deadline for your claim. Schedule a free case review with a New York civil rights attorney at Shulman & Hill at one of our locations near you.

Let Us Fight To Get You the Compensation You Deserve

If a New York police officer or other government official has violated your civil rights, you can seek the justice and compensation you deserve, and we can help.

Pursuing civil rights claims is an important part of protecting the integrity of our legal system and essential for deterring future violations by holding governmental actors accountable.

The New York civil rights attorneys at Shulman & Hill are ready to handle your claim and help you secure the justice you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free, confidential consultation.


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