Committee Reports

Report on legislation related to awarding attorneys’ fees and exemplary damages in discrimination cases


The Sex and Law and Civil Rights Committees issued a report supporting state legislation which would expand courts’ authority to award attorneys fees, costs, and exemplary damages from housing discrimination cases to all discrimination cases. According to the report, the availability of fee awards would ease the financial burden on meritorious plaintiffs and increase their access to competent counsel, which, in turn, would impose more of the costs of enforcing the civil and human rights laws on discriminating defendants and perhaps reduce the burdens currently borne by state and local civil and human rights enforcement agencies. The availability of punitive damages in appropriate cases would more fully punish those who engage in gross misconduct and dissuade others from similar behavior. The committee also recommends that the Human Rights Law be further amended to allow for penalties to be paid to the State.

Originally Issued July 2015; Reissued September 2017


A.1113 (AM Dinowitz) / S.2782 (Sen. Kennedy) – permits awarding of reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs and exemplary damages in court actions for unlawful discriminatory practices pursuant to the human rights law (2017); A.113 / S.758 (NYS 2015-16)