Our Litigation

At the Urban Justice Center, we believe that pursuing important, groundbreaking litigation on behalf of the marginalized client populations we serve is one of our most powerful tools in the pursuit of social justice. From our earliest days, we have argued and won cases that have had profound impact on the lives of New Yorkers, touching on issues ranging from the treatment of foster care youth, to bottle recycling, to the rights of married homeless people living in shelters.

Here is a brief list of some of our early litigation highlights:

Palmer v. Cuomo (1985) – Establishing the right of youths discharged from foster care at the age of eighteen to pre-discharge training, transitional housing and supervision.

Doe v. City of New York (1985) – Establishing the right for homeless married couples to be placed in shelter together.

Petroff v. Lyng (1987) – Establishing the right of shelter residents with health issues to medically appropriate food.

Robinson v. Grinker (1993) – Requiring workers to assist applicants to obtain documents required to verify eligibility for public assistance, and prohibiting denials based on failure to obtain documents.

Farmer v. D’Agostino (1989) – Requiring major grocery store chains to accept up to 240 empty containers for redemption at one time.

Young v. Metropolitan Transit Authority (1990) – Challenging the ban of begging in the subway system as violating the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Bodzek v. Perales (1987) – Establishing the right to an additional $64 monthly food allowance for homeless people living in the streets.

Hill v. Perales (1991) – Seeking the right to an additional $64 monthly food allowance for homeless people living in public shelters.

Lucas v. Dinkins (1994) – Challenging the failure of New York City to provide public toilet facilities as a violation of the public nuisance law.

Rosado v. Cuomo(1985)  – Challenging the failure of New York State and New York City to care for destitute youths under the age of eighteen.

Tolle v. Dinkins (1992) – Requiring New York City and New York State to reduce the populations limits in the two largest armory shelters from 900 to 200 men and from 1050 to 350 men.

(All cases litigated with the help of other organizations including the Legal Aid Society, the ACLU and private law firms.)