Since the firm opened its doors in 1979, significant civil rights cases have also been an important passion. Our civil and constitutional rights have been eroding in the last thirty years and we are therefore determined to represent people whose rights have been trampled, including persons victimized by racial and national origin discrimination, sexual harassment, age and disability discrimination, religious discrimination, and First Amendment violations. The rights of the state (including local governments) have increased at the expense of individual liberties and we are especially interested in advocating for individuals who have been grievously wronged by governmental misconduct and abuse of power.
We represent plaintiffs in various civil rights matters including:
- Police brutality and excessive force
- Unconstitutional Treatment in Jail and Prisons, including deliberate indifference to medical needs and cruel and unusual punishment
- Discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, sex, age, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity
- Discrimination and retaliation in employment
- Discrimination, including racial prejudices in public accommodations such as restaurants, hotels, and other businesses
This dedication to civil rights began with John's earliest cases, including suing RTD to put lifts on buses so that people in wheelchairs could begin to have equal access to the state. We represented the disability civil rights movement in Colorado from its inception and are still involved. We have handled many discrimination cases. One of our cases for an African-American man brutally discriminated against and harassed because of his race, Roy Smith, was the subject of a Barbara Walter's 20/20 special, Roy Smith's America. It was also the subject of a documentary film.
We have helped establish rights for victims of police misconduct and liability of co-employees for outrageous sexual misconduct. We have won Orders from the Colorado Supreme Court establishing rights of a whistleblower, Dr. Carl Johnson, to be free from termination as the Health Director for Jefferson County for exposing the dangers facing the public from radiation at Rocky Flats. In that same case, we established the legal standard for disqualifying biased judges in civil cases.
Along with hundreds of other lawyers from across the country, we currently represent several detainees who have been indefinitely imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay in habeas corpus proceedings against the United States Government. This work is pro bono. We recently published an article about our experiences in obtaining the release of an innocent young man from Mauritania. We actually traveled to Mauritania to meet with the Minister of Justice.