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File #: Int 0818-2015    Version: Name: Provision of attorney’s fees under the city human rights law
Type: Introduction Status: Enacted
Committee: Committee on Civil Rights
On agenda: 6/10/2015
Enactment date: 3/28/2016 Law number: 2016/036
Title: A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to the provision of attorney's fees under the city human rights law
Sponsors: Darlene Mealy, Brad S. Lander, Corey D. Johnson, Andy L. King, Rosie Mendez, Helen K. Rosenthal, Carlos Menchaca, Deborah L. Rose, Ben Kallos
Council Member Sponsors: 9
Summary: This bill amends the attorney’s fees provisions of the city human rights law to include expert fees in attorney’s fees awards. This bill allows the Human Rights Commission to award attorney’s fees in complaints brought before it. This bill also directs courts and the Human Rights Commission to base attorney’s fee awards on the hourly market-rate charged by attorneys of similar skill and experience practicing in New York County, which customarily has the highest attorney rates in New York City.
Attachments: 1. Legislative History Report, 2. Summary of Int. No. 818-A, 3. Summary of Int. No. 818, 4. Int. No. 818 - 6/10/15, 5. June 10, 2015 - Stated Meeting Agenda with Links to Files, 6. Committee Report 12/9/15, 7. Hearing Testimony 12/9/15, 8. Hearing Transcript 12/9/15, 9. Committee Report 3/8/16, 10. Hearing Transcript 3/8/16, 11. March 9, 2016 - Stated Meeting Agenda with Links to Files, 12. Int. No. 818-A - FINAL, 13. Fiscal Impact Statement, 14. Hearing Transcript - Stated Meeting 3-9-16, 15. Mayor's Letter, 16. Minutes of the Stated Meeting - March 9, 2016, 17. Local Law 36
Date Ver.Prime SponsorAction ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsMultimedia
3/29/2016ADarlene Mealy City Council Recved from Mayor by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available
3/28/2016ADarlene Mealy Mayor Signed Into Law by Mayor  Action details Meeting details Not available
3/28/2016ADarlene Mealy Mayor Hearing Held by Mayor  Action details Meeting details Not available
3/9/2016ADarlene Mealy City Council Sent to Mayor by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available
3/9/2016ADarlene Mealy City Council Approved by CouncilPass Action details Meeting details Not available
3/8/2016*Darlene Mealy Committee on Civil Rights Hearing Held by Committee  Action details Meeting details Not available
3/8/2016*Darlene Mealy Committee on Civil Rights Amendment Proposed by Comm  Action details Meeting details Not available
3/8/2016*Darlene Mealy Committee on Civil Rights Amended by Committee  Action details Meeting details Not available
3/8/2016ADarlene Mealy Committee on Civil Rights Approved by CommitteePass Action details Meeting details Not available
12/9/2015*Darlene Mealy Committee on Civil Rights Hearing Held by Committee  Action details Meeting details Not available
12/9/2015*Darlene Mealy Committee on Civil Rights Laid Over by Committee  Action details Meeting details Not available
6/10/2015*Darlene Mealy City Council Referred to Comm by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available
6/10/2015*Darlene Mealy City Council Introduced by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available

Int. No. 818-A

 

By Council Members Mealy, Lander, Johnson, King, Mendez, Rosenthal, Menchaca, Rose and Kallos

 

A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to the provision of attorney’s fees under the city human rights law

 

Be it enacted by the Council as follows:

 

Section 1. Subdivision a of section 8-120 of the administrative code of the city of New York, as amended by local law number 85 for the year 2005, is amended to read as follows:

§ 8-120 Decision and order. a. If, upon all the evidence at the hearing, and upon the findings of fact, conclusions of law and relief recommended by an administrative law judge, the commission shall find that a respondent has engaged in any unlawful discriminatory practice or any act of discriminatory harassment or violence as set forth in chapter six of this title, the commission shall state its findings of fact and conclusions of law and shall issue and cause to be served on such respondent an order requiring such respondent to cease and desist from such unlawful discriminatory practice or acts of discriminatory harassment or violence. Such order shall require the respondent to take such affirmative action as, in the judgment of the commission, will effectuate the purposes of this chapter including, but not limited to:

(1) hiring, reinstatement or upgrading of employees;

(2) the award of back pay and front pay;

(3) admission to membership in any respondent labor organization;

(4) admission to or participation in a program, apprentice training program, on-the-job training program or other occupational training or retraining program;

(5) the extension of full, equal and unsegregated accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges;

(6) evaluating applications for membership in a club that is not distinctly private without discrimination based on race, creed, color, age, national origin, disability, marital status, partnership status, gender, sexual orientation or alienage or citizenship status;

(7) selling, renting or leasing, or approving the sale, rental or lease of housing accommodations, land or commercial space or an interest therein, or the provision of credit with respect thereto, without unlawful discrimination;

(8) payment of compensatory damages to the person aggrieved by such practice or act;[ and]

(9) submission of reports with respect to the manner of compliance[.]; and

(10) payment of the complainant’s reasonable attorney’s fees, expert fees and other costs. The commission may consider matter-specific factors when determining the complainant’s attorney’s fee award, including, but not limited to:

(i) novelty or difficulty of the issues presented;

(ii) skill and experience of the complainant’s attorney; and

(iii) the hourly rate charged by attorneys of similar skill and experience litigating similar cases in New York county.

§ 2. Subdivision g of section 8-502 of the administrative code of the city of New York, as amended by local law number 71 for the year 2013, is amended to read as follows:

g. In any civil action commenced pursuant to this section, the court, in its discretion, may award the prevailing party[costs and] reasonable attorney’s fees, expert fees and other costs. For the purposes of this subdivision, the term “prevailing” includes a plaintiff whose commencement of litigation has acted as a catalyst to effect policy change on the part of the defendant, regardless of whether that change has been implemented voluntarily, as a result of a settlement or as a result of a judgment in such plaintiff’s favor. The court shall apply the hourly rate charged by attorneys of similar skill and experience litigating similar cases in New York county when it chooses to factor the hourly rate into the attorney’s fee award.

§ 3. This local law takes effect immediately.

 

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LS #3730

2/16/16 5:00 pm