A07189 Summary:

BILL NO    A07189 

SAME AS    SAME AS S00003

SPONSOR    Dinowitz

COSPNSR    Otis, Bronson, Abinanti, Skoufis, Gottfried, Paulin, Galef,
           Rosenthal, Seawright, Kaminsky, Stec, Kavanagh

MLTSPNSR   Hooper, Kolb, Lupinacci, Simon

Amd SS297 & 296-a, Exec L

Relates to the provision of attorney's fees in cases of housing, employment or
credit discrimination.
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A07189 Actions:

BILL NO    A07189 

04/27/2015 referred to governmental operations
05/04/2015 reported referred to codes
05/04/2015 reported 
05/07/2015 advanced to third reading cal.335
05/13/2015 substituted by s3
           S00003  AMEND=  LITTLE
           01/07/2015 REFERRED TO RULES
           01/12/2015 ORDERED TO THIRD READING CAL.3
           01/12/2015 PASSED SENATE
           01/12/2015 DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
           01/12/2015 referred to governmental operations
           05/13/2015 substituted for a7189
           05/13/2015 ordered to third reading cal.335
           06/02/2015 passed assembly
           06/02/2015 returned to senate
           10/20/2015 DELIVERED TO GOVERNOR
           10/21/2015 SIGNED CHAP.364
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A07189 Votes:

There are no votes for this bill in this legislative session.
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A07189 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A7189
 
SPONSOR: Dinowitz
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to the provision of attorney's fees in cases of housing, employment or credit discrimination; to amend the executive law, in relation to the awarding of reasonable attorney's fees   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this bill is to allow for reasonable attorney's fees in housing, employment and credit discrimination cases when sex is a basis of discrimination.   SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: This bill would amend Executive Law § 297 to provide for attorney's fees in employment or credit discrimi- nation cases when sex is a basis of discrimination and retain the exist- ing allowance for attorney's fees in housing and housing related credit cases It would similarly amend Executive Law § 296-a to permit the awarding of attorney's fees in credit discrimination cases when sex is a basis of discrimination in matters brought before the Department of Financial Services   JUSTIFICATION: Under existing law, attorney's fees for employment and credit and lending sex discrimination cases are not available even after the plaintiff proves discrimination at trial. As a result, (a) many who are discriminated against cannot afford to hire an attorney and never seek redress; (b) those who hire an attorney on a contingency fee arrangement are not "made whole" for their losses because they must pay for their attorneys out of their recovery; and (c) some who cannot afford to hire an attorney, but who try to do so on a contingency basis, are unsuccessful because the case is either too small or too risky. This bill would allow for reasonable attorney's fees in housing, employment, and credit discrimination cases when sex is a basis of discrimination.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is a new bill.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This bill would take effect 90 days after enactment.
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A07189 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                          7189
 
                               2015-2016 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                     April 27, 2015
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced by M. of A. DINOWITZ -- read once and referred to the Commit-
          tee on Governmental Operations
 
        AN  ACT  to  amend  the  executive  law, in relation to the provision of
          attorney's fees in cases of housing, employment  or  credit  discrimi-
          nation;  to  amend  the  executive law, in relation to the awarding of
          reasonable attorney's fees
 
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section  1.  Subdivision  10  of  section 297 of the executive law, as
     2  added by section 17 of part D of chapter 405 of the  laws  of  1999,  is
     3  amended to read as follows:
     4    10.  With  respect  to all cases of housing discrimination and housing
     5  related credit discrimination [only] in an action or proceeding  at  law
     6  under  this section or section two hundred ninety-eight of this article,
     7  the commissioner or the court may in  its  discretion  award  reasonable
     8  attorney's fees to any prevailing or substantially prevailing party; and
     9  with respect to a claim of employment or credit discrimination where sex
    10  is  a  basis  of  such discrimination, in an action or proceeding at law
    11  under this section or section two hundred ninety-eight of this  article,
    12  the  commissioner  or  the  court may in its discretion award reasonable
    13  attorney's fees attributable to such  claim  to  any  prevailing  party;
    14  provided, however, that a prevailing respondent or defendant in order to
    15  recover  such  reasonable  attorney's fees must make a motion requesting
    16  such fees and show that the action or proceeding brought was  frivolous;
    17  and  further  provided  that  in a proceeding brought in the division of
    18  human rights, the commissioner may only award attorney's fees as part of
    19  a final order after a public hearing held pursuant to  subdivision  four
    20  of  this  section.  In  no  case shall attorney's fees be awarded to the
    21  division, nor shall the division be liable to a prevailing  or  substan-
    22  tially  prevailing  party for attorney's fees, except in a case in which
    23  the division is a party to the action or the  proceeding  in  the  divi-
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD07115-01-5

        A. 7189                             2
 
     1  sion's  capacity as an employer.  In cases of employment discrimination,
     2  a respondent shall only be liable for attorney's fees under this  subdi-
     3  vision  if  the respondent has been found liable for having committed an
     4  unlawful  discriminatory  practice.  In  order  to  find  the  action or
     5  proceeding to be frivolous, the court or the commissioner must  find  in
     6  writing one or more of the following:
     7    (a)  the  action or proceeding was commenced, used or continued in bad
     8  faith, solely to delay or prolong the resolution of the litigation or to
     9  harass or maliciously injure another; or
    10    (b) the action or proceeding was commenced or continued in  bad  faith
    11  without  any reasonable basis and could not be supported by a good faith
    12  argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law.  If
    13  the  action  or  proceeding  was promptly discontinued when the party or
    14  attorney learned or should have learned that the  action  or  proceeding
    15  lacked such a reasonable basis, the court may find that the party or the
    16  attorney did not act in bad faith.
    17    §  2.  Paragraph  c of subdivision 7 of section 296-a of the executive
    18  law, as amended by chapter 632 of the laws of 1976, is amended  to  read
    19  as follows:
    20    c.  If  the  superintendent finds that a violation of this section has
    21  occurred, the superintendent shall issue an order which shall do one  or
    22  more of the following:
    23    (1)  impose a fine in an amount not to exceed ten thousand dollars for
    24  each violation, to be paid to the people of the state of New York;
    25    (2) award  compensatory  damages  to  the  person  aggrieved  by  such
    26  violation;
    27    (3)  for  a  claim of sex discrimination only, award reasonable attor-
    28  ney's fees attributable to such claim to any prevailing party; provided,
    29  however, that a prevailing respondent or defendant in order  to  recover
    30  such  reasonable attorney's fees must make a motion requesting such fees
    31  and show that the action or proceeding brought was frivolous. In no case
    32  shall attorney's fees be  awarded  to  the  department,  nor  shall  the
    33  department be liable to a prevailing party for attorney's fees. In order
    34  to  find  the  action  or proceeding to be frivolous, the superintendent
    35  must find in writing one or more of the following:
    36    (a) the action or proceeding was commenced, used or continued  in  bad
    37  faith, solely to delay or prolong the resolution of the litigation or to
    38  harass or maliciously injure another; or
    39    (b)  the  action or proceeding was commenced or continued in bad faith
    40  without any reasonable basis and could not be supported by a good  faith
    41  argument  for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law. If
    42  the action or proceeding was promptly discontinued  when  the  party  or
    43  attorney  learned  or  should have learned that the action or proceeding
    44  lacked such a reasonable basis, the court may find that the party or the
    45  attorney did not act in bad faith.
    46    (4) require the regulated creditor  to  cease  and  desist  from  such
    47  unlawful discriminatory practices;
    48    [(4)] (5) require the regulated creditor to take such further affirma-
    49  tive  action as will effectuate the purposes of this section, including,
    50  but not limited to, granting the credit which was  the  subject  of  the
    51  complaint.
    52    § 3. Severability clause. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivi-
    53  sion, section or part of this act shall be adjudged by a court of compe-
    54  tent  jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair
    55  or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its opera-
    56  tion to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision,  section  or  part

        A. 7189                             3
 
     1  thereof  directly  involved  in  the  controversy in which such judgment
     2  shall have been rendered. It is hereby declared to be the intent of  the
     3  legislature  that  this act would have been enacted even if such invalid
     4  provisions had not been included herein.
     5    §  4.  This  act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall
     6  have become a law, and shall apply to actions commenced on or after such
     7  date.
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