At Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer we pride ourselves on our commitment to preserving civil rights by fighting discrimination and racism by private companies and the government. The Firm’s civil rights practice is led by Harold Goodman, who is widely recognized for his skill in the courtroom and on appeals. Mr. Goodman has successfully tried complex discrimination cases to verdict. He has succeeded in every client’s case he has argued before the United States Supreme Court.

Our firm and attorneys are dedicated to aggressively fighting for the rights of our clients. Through our clients’ civil rights cases, we strive to hold the parties that violated their civil rights accountable and to positively change the legal and justice systems. If we accept your case, we will conduct an in-depth investigation and advocate on your behalf to try to secure the maximum compensation for what you’ve had to endure.

Civil rights lawsuits are among the most legally challenging and complicated cases. The U.S. Supreme Court has severely limited the rights that people have when prosecutors or police officers mistreat them. Across the U.S., because of the Supreme Court opinions, the courts have dismissed hundreds of civil rights without ever being heard by juries. If your civil rights have been violated, your potential claim must be handled with the utmost care. The civil rights attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer have extensive experience and the necessary skills to handle civil rights lawsuits properly.

What are civil rights?

You need to know what your civil rights are in order to protect them. Civil rights in the U.S. are vital because they protect people from being mistreated. They are the rights of people to be free from discrimination and unfair treatment and to be treated equally in multiple settings, including employment, education, housing, interactions with law enforcement, public accommodations, and others.

The Civil Rights Movement has historically referred to the efforts of African Americans to achieve equality in all aspects of society. Today, civil rights also refer to the efforts of all people to achieve equality regardless of their protected characteristics, including sex, race, disability, age, pregnancy, religion, national origin, genetic information, and others.

Where civil rights originate

Multiple federal laws protect civil rights. Most states also have state civil rights laws. Some examples of federal civil rights laws include:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Age Discrimination Act of 1975
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Fair Housing Act
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Voting Rights Act

Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as the result of the Civil Rights Movement. Title VII of the act prohibits discrimination against workers based on their protected characteristics. Prohibited workplace discrimination extends to all aspects of employment, from hiring to termination. The Civil Rights Act also prohibits discrimination against people based on their protected characteristics in public accommodations, education, and voting.

The Age Discrimination Act prohibits age discrimination in programs that receive federal funding, including housing, health care, education, rehabilitation, welfare, and food stamps. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits age discrimination against workers and applicants who are 40 or older.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits disability discrimination in a variety of settings. Prohibited discrimination includes actions based on real or perceived disabilities in employment, public accommodations, state and local governments, transportation, commercial facilities, and telecommunications.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on protected characteristics, including disability, family status, sex, religion, and race. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in programs that receive federal funding.

The Voting Rights Act passed because of Jim Crow Laws and other barriers that minorities faced when they tried to vote in specific states in the south. In 2013, the Supreme Court removed several essential provisions of the law.

Some civil rights have originated from landmark decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, including Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona, Loving v. Virginia, and others.

Most states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, have passed civil rights laws. The state laws sometimes offer more protections than the federal laws. Cities such as Philadelphia have also passed civil rights laws and ordinances.

Civil rights vs. civil liberties

Civil rights are not the same as civil liberties. The concept of civil rights has traditionally dealt with the right to be free from unfair and unequal treatment based on protected characteristics. Civil liberties are broader and are guaranteed by the Constitution or by other federal laws. These include the rights to free speech, privacy, and to vote.

Examples of civil rights cases for our clients

Our attorneys have represented clients for the following violations of their civil rights:

  • Hate crimes
  • Police misconduct
  • Police brutality
  • Discrimination
  • Racial profiling
  • Unlawful arrests
  • Wrongful convictions

Regardless of the complexity of your claim, the attorneys at our law firm can address the problems to try to recover compensation for you. Our attorneys have an excellent reputation for the thoroughness of their work and understand how to investigate civil rights claims.

Examples of civil rights cases

HATE CRIMES: Hate crimes involve using threats of force or physical force when the perpetrators were motivated by hate and intolerance based on the victim’s characteristics. These crimes are oftentimes violent and are intended to intimidate and hurt someone because of the person’s ethnicity, race, religion, nation orientation, disability, or sexual orientation.

You can think of hate crimes as being terroristic actions taken against an individual or community to express hatred based on protected characteristics. The victims of hate crimes may have valid grounds to file civil rights lawsuits in addition to any criminal cases that might be pending against the perpetrators.

POLICE MISCONDUCT: Incidents of police misconduct, police brutality, and unlawful arrests are far too common. Some examples of these types of incidents include the following:

  • Police brutality
  • Excessive force
  • Sexual assault
  • Planting evidence
  • Torture to coerce confessions
  • Unlawful arrests and detentions

Some of these types of incidents have been nationally reported and have led to significant unrest. For example, the cases of Eric Garnier, Rodney King, Sean Bell, and others shocked the conscience of the public and led to massive protests and demonstrations.

DISCRIMINATION: Discrimination claims can be filed based on employment, housing, public accommodations, or education discrimination. These types of claims involve discrimination based on the victims’ protected characteristics. Discrimination claims may be filed under state or federal law. Generally, these claims are filed under the laws that provide the greatest protection.

Contact the attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer for help

If your civil rights have been violated, resulting in severe injuries or harm, you may have legal rights to file a civil rights claim against all of the responsible parties. The civil rights attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer have the skills and experience required to represent civil rights victims. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Significant Cases

Confidential Civil Rights Recovery by Parents for Death of Their Disabled Child

While being bussed to her special education school, a disabled five-year-old girl was strangled by a safety harness.

$7,400,000 verdict under the Federal Tort Claims Act

A troubled veteran under the care of the Veterans Administration was released from care, and tragedy followed.

Read More About Our Clients' Cases