Jonathan S. Abady, a founding partner of the firm, has a diverse trial and litigation practice, with extensive experience in both federal and state courts.
In the area of civil rights, Mr. Abady was on the team of lawyers who helped free Meek Mill, the Roc Nation recording artist wrongfully imprisoned in Philadelphia; he represented the family and Estate in the tragic Cleveland police shooting case involving 12-year-old Tamir Rice; he is one of the lead lawyers in two major class actions resulting in historic reform in the New York City jail system at Rikers Island; and he litigated significant voting rights cases in both the Bush-Gore and Obama-McCain Presidential elections.
In the Untied States Supreme Court, Mr. Abady successfully litigated and argued Gasperini v. The Center for Humanities, a seminal case in Seventh Amendment jurisprudence now featured in law school case books and taught throughout the country.
In 2019, Cite & State named Mr. Abady as one of the 50 most influential lawyers in New York. Since 2008, he has been named as a Super Lawyer and in The Best Lawyers in America as one of New York’s top attorneys in the area of civil rights law. See www.bestlawyers.com. He has appeared on 60 Minutes, CNN, MSNBC, National Public Radio (NPR) and a number of other national and international media outlets.
Mr. Abady also has extensive experience litigating commercial and corporate disputes in New York and throughout the country.
Some of the individuals and clients he has represented over the years include Harry Belafonte, Carl Bernstein, internationally acclaimed artist Donald Sultan, former world heavyweight boxing champion Tim Witherspoon, Pulitzer Prize nominated photojournalist Arthur Grace, author and activist Philip Agee, recording star Ronnie Spector, former Chief Investment Officer at Citigroup Marc P. Weill, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Penguin Putnam, Urban Box Office Network, and numerous high-level executives in contract negotiations and employment disputes.
Mr. Abady began his legal career as a trial lawyer, and was then a supervising attorney with the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, a national demonstration project in New York City that provides criminal defense services to indigent residents of the Harlem community. Prior to entering law school, Mr. Abady lived in Latin America and worked in international human rights. In 1987, he presented testimony to the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland concerning the war in Nicaragua.
- Nunez v. City of New York, No. 11 Civ. 5845 (S.D.N.Y.) (Co-lead counsel in historic class action litigation with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Legal Aid Society which secured historic injunctive reform on Rikers Island and $3.5 million in damages for individual plaintiffs).
- In Re Anonymous (E.D.N.Y.) ($8.8 million settlement in federal civil rights action for abuse of child in foster care).
- Winston, et al. v. City of Cleveland et al., No. 14 Civ. 2670 (N.D. Ohio) (Co-lead counsel representing the estate and family of Tamir Rice, the 12 year-old boy fatally shot by the Cleveland police which settled for $6 million).
- Griffin v. City of New York, No. 14 Civ. 7329 (S.D.N.Y.) (Co-lead counsel in Rikers Island prisoner abuse case resulting in $5.75 million settlement, the largest payment for a death in custody in the history of New York City).
- Hagerman v. Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, No. 03 Civ. 1579 (D.D.C.)(Recovered, with other members of the Firm, more than $40 million as part of historic $2.7 billion settlement with the government of Libya for the downing of Pan Am Flight 103; litigation which created an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act).
- Gasperini v. the Center for Humanities (Landmark ruling in the United States Supreme Court involving the re-examination clause of the Seventh Amendment).
- In Re Harry Belafonte and the Estate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Successfully represented Harry Belafonte in action to recover historic memorabilia gifted by Martin Luther King, Jr.).
- Kesmai v. AOL, 97 Civ. 1544 (E.D.Va.) (Obtained settlement in large-scale antitrust litigation representing a subsidiary of News Corporation against America Online (AOL)).
- Daniels v. City of New York, No. 13 Civ. 6286 (S.D.N.Y.) ($2.75 million settlement on behalf of Ronald Spear who died as a result of “blunt force trauma” to the head while incarcerated at Rikers Island).
- NAACP v. Cortez (In conjunction with the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and Voter Action, landmark injunction obtained on the eve of the Obama-McCain 2008 Presidential election requiring Pennsylvania to make emergency paper ballots available to avoid disenfranchisement of prospective voters).
- Jacobs v. Seminole County Canvassing Board (Challenge to unlawfully altered absentee ballots in Florida during the Bush-Gore 2000 Presidential election recount).
- Doe v. Unocal, Nos. 00-56628, 00-57195 (2d. Cir.)(One of originating lawyers in litigation against French and American oil companies involved in slave labor practices along the Bhurma-Thailand border).
- Rice v. City of New York (Recovered $1.3 million in civil rights suit against the City of New York for excessive force).
- Morales v. New York City (Jury verdict of $3.1 million in civil rights excessive force case).
- Black v. Getchell and K.P. Rent-a-Car (Jury verdict of $1.3 million in wrongful death action).
- Paul Haggis Loses Appeal on Gender Motivated Violence Protection Law
- Ten ECBA Attorneys Named as Super Lawyers; Four Named as Rising Stars
- ECBA Wins DNA Motion in Sexual Assault Case
- City & State Recognizes Jonathan S. Abady As One of NY’s 50 Most Influential Lawyers
- Haggis Abandons Case against Haleigh Breest
New York University School of Law, J.D., 1990
Orison S. Marden Moot Court Competition
Colloquium Editor, Review of Law & Social Change
American University, B.A., magna cum laude, 1983
“Jill Stein has done the nation a tremendous public service,” Washington Post, December 15, 2016
“Tamir Rice and the Deeper Issues of Police Violence,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 4, 2015
“Reclaim Our Democracy,” U.S. News, November 4, 2014