Since Brown, Goldstein & Levy was founded in 1982, we have focused our attention, talent and experience on defending the civil and human rights of people regardless of race, gender, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity . Our attorneys include civil rights leaders, visionaries and innovators who are at the forefront of shaping civil rights law and policy. We fight for the rights of our clients, no matter who the opposition is or what the stakes are. We are proud that the National Law Journal and Elite Lawyers voted Brown, Goldstein & Levy the country's 2018 Civil Rights Law Firm of the Year and thatbest lawyersawarded our civil rights practice the highest rating.
Our company has a remarkable civil rights record. In the 1980s, Brown, Goldstein & Levy launched a series of successful voting rights lawsuits that led to the first election of African Americans on Maryland's east coast—the birthplace of abolitionists Harriett Tubman and Frederick Douglass. We have achieved groundbreaking victories in fair housing cases, including the country's first trial under the design and building requirements of the Fair Housing Amendments Act and a settlement providing more than $1 billion in housing credits, along with mobility advice for thousands of Baltimore residents enabling them to move from segregated communities to communities of unlimited opportunity throughout central Maryland.
We are a national leader in the rights of people with disabilities. Our attorneys include founding members of the Disability Rights Bar Association and former Justice Department Disability Rights Attorney. For nearly four decades, we've represented the nearly 50,000 members of the National Federation of the Blind. Over the course of this decade-long campaign, we have achieved significant and landmark victories in cases ranging from workplace discrimination to website access to prisoner rights. Our efforts have shaped how courts across the country interpret the Americans with Disabilities Act and transformed the everyday lives of people with disabilities.
We stand up for those whom society has left behind. "No amount of money can restore my lost time." These are the words of our client James Owens after serving 21 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. These are the words that drive our lawyers to do their best to represent those wrongly convicted. We win millions of dollars for acquitted people who have had years, sometimes decades, of their lives stolen through police misconduct.
Brown, Goldstein & Levy is also at the forefront of LGBTQ+ lawsuits. We secure important victories for our clients who face a variety of challenges, from employment and health insurance discrimination to interference with students' exercise of First Amendment rights. Through our volunteer work, we have granted asylum to two gay men from Central America who fled persecution in their home countries.
Our civil rights work extends to all areas of the community, from schools to the workplace, from families to government, from access to health care to internet access. Brown, Goldstein & Levy's attorneys bring a proven commitment to this work. You have served at the highest levels of the United States Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, as General Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, as Chair of the Maryland Commission on Disability, and on the boards of FreeState Justice and the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project. .
Johnson v. Horns from America- Won a $250,000+ arbitration award on behalf of a former African-American Hooters employee who was fired for Hooters' racially discriminatory image policies.(Video) Breaking: Federal Court DENIES Judicial Immunity in Family Court Judge Lawsuit
Whittington v. Somerset County School Board— won a judgment of $800,000 and renaming a school in honor of the plaintiff, a former principal, in a workplace discrimination case.
Earned over $4 million in arbitration for a Chief Technology Officer at a high tech startup who was paid less than other C-level executives.
She represented a certified panel of more than 570 disabled Social Security Administration workers who claimed that the SSA discriminated against workers with certain disabilities by offering promotions and other career opportunities and reached a settlement that included significant financial and prospective relief.
blacksmith Regents at the University of California- Successfully challenging the University of California's ongoing requirement that students complete the race- and disability-based SAT or ACT, despite severely limited access to testing and housing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Represented the Black Legal Aid attorney who was arrested by a sheriff's deputy after a court hearing for "entering in as a black man," a case that drew national attention.
right to choose
Applying the rights of voters with disabilities in the United States to an accessible voting system during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Federal Association of the Blind v. lamone- won a landmark Fourth Circuit decision establishing the right of blind voters to a private and independent vote at a distance. 813 F.3d 494 (4th Circle 2016)
Negotiated with the College Board to provide blind students with braille testing materials, including tactile graphics, to ensure an equitable testing environment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
brown v Department of Public Safety and Correctional ServicesRepresenting nine blind inmates at Maryland State Prison in a landmark case enforcing their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Plaintiffs were awarded substantial damages in an unprecedented settlement, and the lawsuit led to systemic changes in Maryland's policy regarding the treatment of blind prisoners. 383 F. Supplement 3d 519 (D. Md. 2019).
Successfully representing a deaf District of Columbia resident who was called to serve as a Supreme Court grand jury and was disqualified because the court refused to pay for an interpreter.
False convictions and police misconduct
Estate of Malcolm Bryant v. Baltimore Police Department- Obtaining an $8 million settlement for the family of a man wrongly convicted of the misconduct of a Baltimore Police Department detective and forensic analyst and imprisoned for nearly 18 years for a murder he did not commit. Bryant was exonerated in 2016 after a court-ordered DNA test proved his innocence (2022).
Raised $6.5 million for the unarmed man's familyshot eight times and killed by a Baltimore County police officer after his mother called 911 to report he was drunk and suicidal (2021).
Received over $13 million from the State of Maryland for five wrongly convicted men and convinced the Maryland Board of Public Works to issue such awards for the first time in 15 years.
Received a $9 million settlement on behalf of a man wrongly convicted and imprisoned for 21 years after Baltimore homicide detectives withheld exculpatory evidence.
Secured a $1.9 million settlement on behalf of the parents of a young man with Down syndrome who was killed by deputy sheriffs who arrested him for the 'crime' of wanting to see a movie a second time without a second dragged out of a movie theater to buy a ticket . BGL's litigation in this case included the successful dismissal of the District Court's appeal of the official Fourth Circuit Defendant's denial of qualified immunity.
Thompson vs. HUD- Received 4,400 vouchers and more than $1 billion worth of mobility advice to help poor black families move from public housing and other segregated areas of Baltimore City to communities of opportunity throughout the Baltimore area. Co-Lead Counsel, along with the ACLU of Maryland and another firm, for the accountability phase of the process; Co-Lead Counsel, along with the Maryland ACLU, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and another law firm, for the appeal phase of the judgment and settlement hearings.(Video) Judge Indicted After Pen Camera Records Contempt Arrest
National Fair Housing Alliance gegen Bank of AmericaRepresenting the National Fair Housing Alliance and fair housing groups nationwide in a lawsuit against Bank of America and Safeguard Properties Management, LLC for keeping foreclosed homes in white neighborhoods in better condition than those in black and Hispanic neighborhoods .
AngeliCare v. Sankt Bernhard Parish- Obtaining a $975,000 settlement and local fair housing process policy changes on behalf of the owners of two prospective St. Therapeutic Children's Homes. As a result of our lawsuit, the DOJ's Civil Rights Division filed its own fair housing lawsuit against St. Bernard, which was consolidated with the Brown, Goldstein & Levy case.
Representing an employee in a court case against Catholic health services for refusing to provide healthcare to same-sex spouses.
Successfully negotiated settlement with the State of Maryland to require the provision of equal fertility coverage to lesbian government employees.
Successfully represented transgender individuals seeking insurance coverage for gender-affirmed healthcare.
Part of the team that successfully blocked the Trump administration's "Separate Billing Rule," which required health insurers to issue separate bills -- one for universal health insurance and one for abortion assistance insurance -- to erect an unnecessary barrier to access to abortions.Maryland against Planned Parenthood Pitch(2020).
Won a $1.5 million settlement from the state of Maryland in a civil rights lawsuit against Baltimore city welfare workers for failing to ensure the safety of an abused boy in foster care.
McIntyre vs. RobinsonAppointed by a federal court to represent prisoners injured by exposure to secondhand smoke in a case that led to the ban on cigarettes and other tobacco products in prisons in the state of Maryland. 126 F. Super. 2d 394 (D. Md. 2000).
- America's Best Lawyers 2022 "Attorney of the Year" for Civil Law
- Ranked Tier 1 in Baltimore Civil Rights Law on U.S. Best Law Firms List News & World Report and Best Lawyers.
- Outstanding Achievement Award, Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (2020).
- Distinguished Service Award, Council of Attorneys and Parent Lawyers (COPAA) (2020)
- Law Firm of the Year for Civil Rights and Finalist for Law Firm of the Year for Disability Rights, The National Law Journal Elite Trial Lawyers (2018).
- Outstanding Partner Award, Center for Public Justice (2018).
- Award of Excellence, Disability Rights Legal Center und La Verne University School of Law (2017).
- Kenneth Jernigan Award from the National Federation of the Blind, given to someone who has made a significant contribution to the blind community (2016).
- Mosaic Community Services Mosaic Visionary Award for "faithful and tireless" advocacy for the civil liberties of people with mental illness (2015).
- Herbert S. Garten Public Citizen Award, Maryland Legal Services Corporation (2014).
- Pacesetters Award for Outstanding Contribution and Company Service to the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau (2012).
- Champion of Justice Award, Legal Aid Bureau (2009)
- Outstanding Dedication Award, American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.
- Beatty Memorial Award for significant contributions to women's rights, Women's Law Center
- Professional Legal Excellence Award for Advancing the Rights of Disadvantaged People, Maryland Bar Foundation
- First Dickens Warfield Fair Housing Award from Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc. for years of assistance in the successful advancement of BNI's fair housing litigation (2012).
- American Bar Association for Disability Rights Paul G. Hearne Award, presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to promoting the rights, dignity, and access to justice for persons with disabilities (2011).
- Stanley S. Herr Arc of Baltimore Advocacy Leadership Award for outstanding advocacy, scholarship and leadership on behalf of people with developmental disabilities (2008).
- Bernard A. Gould Arch of Maryland Award for outstanding leadership and commitment on behalf of people with developmental disabilities and their families (2007).
news and information
- February 10, 2023NewsLauren Kelleher, co-author of The Baltimore Sun, commented on the urgent need to hold the Baltimore City Police Department accountable for Baltimore.