Elizabeth S. Saylor has litigated civil rights and commercial matters for over 15 years in federal and state court at the trial and appellate level. She has argued appeals in numerous courts, including the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and New York Court of Appeals.
Ms. Saylor has extensive class action experience, including successfully representing classes of defrauded consumers, detainees illegally strip searched, medical residents, immigrants illegally denied public benefits, underpaid workers, and voters denied paper ballots. These class actions have resulted in settlements totaling $100 million and extensive injunctive reform helping approximately 500,000 persons.
She also represents individual clients in police misconduct; sexual harassment and assault; prisoners’ rights; election law; wage and hour litigation; and employment and housing cases alleging discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, familial status, pregnancy, disability, and source of income.
Her commercial practice includes contract and tort disputes, as well as constitutional challenges to government regulations. She also advises companies on a wide array of workplace issues such as hiring and terminations, internal investigations, disability accommodations, contract negotiation, and human resources policies and best practices. She has successfully negotiated separation agreements for dozens of employees, including the managing partner of a major foreign law firm and high-level executives of an insurance company, hedge fund, and bank.
Prior to joining the firm in 2006, Ms. Saylor worked as a Skadden fellow at The Legal Aid Society and clerked for the Hon. Robert D. Sack of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Ms. Saylor graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she served as an Editor on the Harvard Women’s Law Journal and received the Massachusetts Bar Association and Kaufman Public Interest Fellowships. Ms. Saylor spent her law school summers working at NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (now called Legal Momentum) and Debevoise & Plimpton.
Ms. Saylor has trained hundreds of attorneys on issues including police and prison misconduct, employment and housing discrimination, class actions and law reform, immigrant access to public benefits, and attorneys’ fees. For this and other work, she has been named a Super Lawyer, a Trial Lawyer of the Year Finalist, and one of the 21 Leaders of the 21st Century.
- a transgender woman who was sexually assaulted by prison employees ($750,000 settlement);
- numerous employees sexually harassed at work, including waitresses at a high-end restaurant, managers at large technology companies, a lawyer at a top law firm, a researcher at a major hospital, a household employee, and a City social services worker (confidential settlements and cases reported in the media);
- numerous employees who were terminated because of sex discrimination, including a Columbia University executive, a CFO at an insurance company, a partner at a law firm, an engineer, and a pregnant low-level employee at a national retailer (confidential settlements);
- immigrant victims of domestic violence who were denied public benefits.
Wrongful Conviction: Represents numerous persons who were wrongfully convicted, resulting in:
- over $30 million for three men wrongfully convicted for two murders;
- the release and exoneration of Michael Cosme, who was imprisoned for 18 years for two murders he did not commit.
- a $550,000 settlement for a woman assaulted by a New York City police officer in Times Square;
- a $525,00 settlement for a man assaulted by New York City police officers outside a bowling alley;
- a $350,000 settlement for a man brutally assaulted on two occasions by New York City Department of Corrections’ guards;
- a $33 million settlement and extensive injunctive relief for a class of persons who were illegally strip searched at Rikers;
- a favorable settlement for Mexican-American teenagers wrongfully arrested and held for four hours as a result of an illegal police “sweep.”
Commercial Litigation: Successfully represented taxi owners in numerous cases, including cases:
- saving taxi owners approximately $6 million in savings per year by annulling a rule that illegally reduced the rates taxi owners were permitted to charge drivers;
- securing the right for NYC’s yellow taxicabs to use E-Hail Apps;
- obtaining rulings in the Southern District of New York and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that the City’s taxicab regulations were preempted by federal law;
- dismissing class actions against taxi fleet owners for purported violations of the Taxi and Limousine Commission Rules and related contract claims.
Defending New York City Council: Successfully represented the New York City Council in two cases where then-Mayor Bloomberg challenged the legality of the following legislation:
- duly-enacted local legislation, including laws outlawing bias-based policing;
- mandating contractors receiving city funding to report workers’ wages.
Class Action Litigation: Successfully settled numerous class actions including:
- a $60 million cash settlement and extensive injunctive relief including vacating $300 million in judgments on behalf of New Yorkers who alleged fraudulent debt collection practices;
- a $33 million settlement and extensive injunctive relief for persons who were illegally strip searched;
- a $6.6 million settlement on behalf of hundreds of former medical residents against a hospital;
- a detailed four-year injunction and retroactive public benefits for thousands of immigrants;
- a $540,000 settlement for high-end residential painters who were misclassified as independent contracts and denied overtime pay.
Housing Discrimination: Successfully litigated numerous housing cases, resulting in inter alia:
- a $550,000 monetary settlement and extensive injunction for a homeless man who alleged disability and source of income discrimination
- a $130,000 monetary settlement and detailed three year injunction covering approximately 20 buildings due to alleged housing discrimination based on race;
- a settlement that allowed a couple who had been victims of a deed theft scam in Staten Island to keep their home.
Election Law: Litigated election law cases, including the following:
- challenging the state’s infamous “LLC Loophole,” which allows LLCs to circumvent the contribution limits;
- obtaining a landmark injunction on the eve of the 2008 Presidential election requiring Pennsylvania to make emergency paper ballots available when half or more of a precinct’s voting machines fail;
- defending against alleged campaign finance violations by Data and Field Services, which was affiliated with the Working Families Party.
“Another Venue for Sexual Harassment Claims,” The New York Times, October 31, 2017.
Federalism and the Family After Morrison: An Examination of the Child Support Recovery Act, Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, and a Federal Law Outlawing Gun Possession by Domestic Violence Abusers, 57 Harv. Women’s L.J. (2002).
Elizabeth S. Saylor and Elizabeth Aries, Ethnic Identity and Change in Social Context, 139 J. Soc. Psychol. 549 (1999).
- Ten ECBA Attorneys Named as Super Lawyers; Two Named as Rising Stars
- Harlem Black Business Owner Arrested for Being a Business Owner While Black
- MoMA PS1 Refuses to Hire Curator After Learning She Recently Had a Baby
- ECBA Client LaDonna Powell Profiled on This American Life
- ECBA Files Employment Discrimination Complaint on Behalf of Former World Trade Center Security Guard
Harvard Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 2001
Massachusetts Bar Association and Kaufman Public Interest Fellowships
Harvard Women’s Law Journal, Editor
Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, Intake Director
Amherst College, B.A., summa cum laude, 1997
Received the Legal Services NYC Pro Bono Award (2011-2012) and Legal Services NYC Pro Bono Leader Award (2009)
Named one of the 21 Leaders of the 21st Century by Women’s eNews (2007)
Skadden Fellow (2002-2004)