Disability Justice


NYLPI works to achieve equality of opportunity, self-determination, and independence for people with disabilities. Our advocacy spans community integration, criminal justice, educational rights, equal access to programs and services, and accessible housing. We use a wide range of advocacy tools, including community organizing, coalition-building, individual representation, impact litigation, and legislative advocacy.

We have provided longstanding representation  to the plaintiff class of people with developmental disabilities who resided at the notorious Willowbrook State School. We monitor enforcement of a settlement mandating accessible transportation for arrestees with disabilities. In New York’s schools, we are litigating to challenge discrimination against young children with disabilities and to address abuse of students by staff. Other highlights of our advocacy include our ongoing work to reform New York City’s paratransit “Access-a-Ride” system, ensure courthouse access for New Yorkers with disabilities, and advocate for more wheelchair-accessible for-hire vehicles.


If you have a legal issue related to your disability, please call our office at (212) 244-4664 (voice) or 212-244-3692 (TTY), Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.


Transplant Equity Campaign

Supported Decision-Making

Fair Housing

Rapid gentrification in New York City has created an affordable housing crisis. People with disabilities and immigrants are at particular risk for discrimination.

Medical Access

Nearly 1 million New York City residents have a disability.

Special Education

NYLPI’s Disability Justice Program protects and promotes the educational rights of students with disabilities in New York City.

Criminal Justice

Systemic racism and bias against people with disabilities drive fundamental injustices in the criminal legal system.


More than 1 million students attend New York City’s public schools.

Deaf Justice Coalition

Nearly 700,000 City residents are Deaf or hard of hearing.

Courthouse Accessibility

Few concepts are more fundamental to justice than access to the courts.

Community Integration

The United States has a long and tragic history of segregating and warehousing people with disabilities, particularly developmental disabilities.

Access-a-Ride Reform Group (AARRG!)

With New York City subways largely inaccessible, the City’s accessible van transportation system, Access-A-Ride, is a lifeline for many people with disabilities.

For-Hire Vehicles

As for-hire vehicles such as Uber and Lyft have transformed the market, NYLPI has championed equitable wheelchair accessibility of their cars.

Transforming Mental Health Crisis Response

Each year, the New York Police Department responds to approximately 150,000 calls relating to people experiencing mental health crises.

Healthy Homes

Deteriorating housing for low-income residents, both public and privately owned, poses serious health risks.


Goldenberg v. MTA

Baerga v. City of New York

Britt v. MTA

Rivera-Mora v. Corcoran Group Real Estate


NYLPI sued the New York Police Department (NYPD) under New York’s Freedom of Information Law for unredacted body-worn camera footage in the fatal shooting of foreign exchange student Miguel Richards.

O’Toole v. Cuomo

For decades, New York State warehoused people with serious mental illness in adult homes. A landmark settlement on behalf of thousands of state adult homes residents gives them the opportunity to live, with supports, in their own homes.

Jorge v. NYC Transit Authority

For years, the New York City Transit Authority refused to make Access-A-Ride available to people with disabilities who had limited English proficiency.

Filer v. City of New York

Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers have mobility impairments. Robert Filer, who is paralyzed from the chest down and uses a wheelchair, was arrested and placed unsecured in a police van, fell to the van’s floor and was thrown around for the duration of the ride.

Lawton v. Success Academy Charter Schools

On behalf of five former students and their parents, NYLPI’s federal civil rights case against Success Academy Charter School challenges the school’s harsh, zero-tolerance disciplinary policies against young students showing signs of behavioral disabilities.

Brad H. v. City of New York

The Brad H. v. City of New York class action pursues the rights of people with mental illnesses in the City’s jail system at Rikers Island to have discharge planning and services upon release from custody.


The landmark Willowbrook class action vindicated the civil rights of individuals with disabilities to live in the community, after a series of investigations in the 1970s unearthed deplorable conditions at the Willowbrook State School.

L.J. v. Mattingly

A significant number of children in the foster care system are diagnosed with developmental disabilities.

Charles v. United States

Charles v. United States is a federal lawsuit against the United States for failing to provide mental health discharge planning to an individual with diagnosed mental illnesses who was confined to immigration detention.

Charles v. Orange County

Charles v. Orange County is a federal lawsuit challenging Orange County, New York’s unconstitutional “discharge and dump” policy targeted at New Yorkers with mental illness in immigration detention.


Empire State Building—We are proud to have filed the first complaint in the United States under the Americans with Disabilities Act, securing access for people who use wheelchairs to the observation deck of the Empire State Building. Today this American cultural icon known the world over is accessible to all.

Joseph S. v. Hogan – NYLPI ensured that over 1,200 individuals with mental illness unnecessarily residing in nursing homes were assessed for their capacity to live in community settings – and were transitioned to do so. Pro Bono co-counsel:  Schiff Hardin Co-counsel:  Disability Rights New York

Bartlett v. NYS Bd. of Law Examiners – in a case litigated to the U.S. Supreme Court, NYLPI established the right of a person with learning disabilities to obtain necessary testing accommodations on the New York State bar examination. Co-counsel:  The Law Office of Jo Anne Simon


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