Bill Text: NY S04085 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Provides for the award of attorney's fees in actions under the human rights law.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-02-27 - REFERRED TO INVESTIGATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS [S04085 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-S04085-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                    IN SENATE
                                    February 27, 2019
        Introduced  by  Sen.  PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
          printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Govern-
          ment Operations
        AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to providing  for  awards
          of attorney's fees in actions under the human rights law
          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  amended  by  chapter  364  of  the  laws  of 2015, is amended to read as
     3  follows:
     4    10. [With respect to all cases of housing discrimination  and  housing
     5  related  credit  discrimination  in an action or proceeding at law under
     6  this section or section two hundred ninety-eight of  this  article,  the
     7  commissioner  or the court may in its discretion award reasonable attor-
     8  ney's fees to any prevailing or substantially prevailing party; and with
     9  respect to a claim of employment or credit discrimination where sex is a
    10  basis of such discrimination, in] 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]  shall  award
    13  reasonable  attorney's fees attributable to such claim to any prevailing
    14  [party; provided, however, that a prevailing respondent or defendant  in
    15  order  to  recover  such  reasonable  attorney's fees must make a motion
    16  requesting such fees and show that the action or proceeding brought  was
    17  frivolous;  and  further  provided  that  in a proceeding brought in the
    18  division of human rights, the commissioner  may  only  award  attorney's
    19  fees  as  part  of a final order after a public hearing held pursuant to
    20  subdivision four of this section] plaintiff or complainant.  In no  case
    21  shall attorney's fees be awarded to the division, nor shall the division
    22  be  liable  to a prevailing or substantially prevailing party for attor-
    23  ney's fees, except in a case in which the division is  a  party  to  the
    24  action  or  the proceeding in the division's capacity as an employer. In
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        S. 4085                             2
     1  cases of employment discrimination, a respondent shall  only  be  liable
     2  for  attorney's  fees  under this subdivision if the respondent has been
     3  found liable for having committed an unlawful  discriminatory  practice.
     4  [In order to find the action or proceeding to be frivolous, the court or
     5  the commissioner must find in writing one or more of the following:
     6    (a)  the  action or proceeding was commenced, used or continued in bad
     7  faith, solely to delay or prolong the resolution of the litigation or to
     8  harass or maliciously injure another; or
     9    (b) the action or proceeding was commenced or continued in  bad  faith
    10  without  any reasonable basis and could not be supported by a good faith
    11  argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law.  If
    12  the  action  or  proceeding  was promptly discontinued when the party or
    13  attorney learned or should have learned that the  action  or  proceeding
    14  lacked such a reasonable basis, the court may find that the party or the
    15  attorney did not act in bad faith.]
    16    § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.