Civil rights are personal, natural rights guaranteed by and stemming from the Constitution of the United States, as well as from state Constitutions and/or federal and state statutes. We have considerable expertise in defending governmental entities, private employers, and their respective officers, officials and employees against an increasing number and variety of civil rights claims. We have successfully defended elected and appointed governmental officials, law enforcement personnel, fire protection personnel, correctional staff, and numerous other public employees, in both state and federal court, against a variety of alleged civil rights violations. Our litigation experience includes claims alleging infringement of rights guaranteed under the First Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause, the Due Process Clause, as well as Fourth Amendment claims alleging police misconduct such as excessive force and false arrest. The firm has considerable experience litigating claims of alleged unconstitutional takings of property. Frequently, we defend lawsuits claiming unlawful discrimination based upon gender, race, disability, religion, age, or other characteristics.
Our familiarity with the civil rights law, and the distinct scope of protections afforded under either federal or state law, enables our firm to navigate this complex legal field to bring claims and litigation to a successful conclusion. With a busy practice in both federal and state court, we are conversant in the peculiarities of each forum, allowing us to advise our clients concerning the most favorable venue for litigation. Our depth of experience in this field also permits us to guide our clients from the very outset of any civil rights claim, immediately marshaling the resources necessary to prevail, preserving evidence, and minimizing exposure.
A sampling of our reported decisions in the area of civil rights includes:
Acorn v. East Greenwich, 453 F. Supp. 2d 394 (D. R.I. 2006) Aff'd 239 Fed. Appx. 612 (1st Cir. 2007) (holding local ordinance limiting hours of door-to-door soliciting did not violate First Ammendment);
McNiff v. Dracut, 433 F. Supp. 2d 145 (D. Mass. 2006) (Dismissal of suit claiming discrimination due to disability - cancer - and age);
Doe v. East Greenwich Sch. Dept., 899 A.2d 1258 (R.I. 2006); (Upholding dismissal of claim under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act “IDEA” for failure to exhaust administrative remedies);
Gun Owners’ Action League v. Jane Swift, et al., 284 F.3d 198 (1st Cir. 2002) (First Amendment; Equal Protection);
Mass. Prisoners Assn. Political Action Comm. v. The Acting Governor, 435 Mass. 811 (2002) (First Amendment; Equal Protection; Due Process);
Mary Ann McGuire, et al. v. Thomas Reilly, 260 F.3d 36 (1st Cir. 2001) (First Amendment; Equal Protection);
Standifird v. Town of Boxborough, 84 F.Supp.2d 213 (D. Mass. 2000) aff’d 230 F.3d 1347 (1st Cir. 2000) (Dismissal of Fourth Amendment claim alleging unlawful traffic stop);
James Nollett v. Justices of the Comm. of Massachusetts, 83 F. Supp. 2d 204 (D. Mass. 2000) (Due Process; Second Amendment);
Gerry Trautz, et al. v. Leon Weisman, 809 F. Supp. 239 (S.D. N.Y. 1992) (Rehabilitation Act; Equal Protection).