Debra Greenberger | Partner at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP

Debra Greenberger

Debra L. Greenberger is an experienced commercial and civil rights litigator.

She represents many survivors of sexual harassment and abuse, including men and women who were sexually abused at schoolat work, while participating in the Boy Scouts, and in other settings. She has successfully advocated for changes to New York State’s sexual abuse statute of limitations and has brought a constitutional challenge on behalf of women forced to submit to gynecological exams.

Ms. Greenberger’s extensive class action experience includes class representation for defrauded consumers, underpaid workers, and inmates who suffered from excessive force while incarcerated at Rikers Island. She also represents individual clients who suffer employment or housing discrimination, who are falsely arrested or abused by police officers, or who are abused by correctional officers.

Her commercial practice includes contract and tort disputes, as well as constitutional challenges to government regulations, at both the trial and appellate level. She has represented a broad range of companies, institutions, and individuals, from start-ups, to real estate developers, to the taxi industry, to the New York City Council, to merchant groups objecting to interchange fees, among others.

She also advises executives, employees, and management on employment matters and advises students and their families on academic discipline issues.

Ms. Greenberger was named a “Rising Star” from 2014-2016 and has been named a “Super Lawyer” since 2020. She was also named a “2021 Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment & Civil Rights Lawyer.”

Prior to joining the firm in 2007, Ms. Greenberger clerked for the Honorable Robert A. Katzmann of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and for the Honorable Edward R. Korman of the Eastern District of New York. While attending the New York University School of Law, she served as an Articles Editor for the N.Y.U. Law Review and represented clients in the Immigrant Rights Clinic.

Representative Cases:

  • Currently represents two women who were abused as students by their high school teachers in an ongoing federal lawsuit against their school district. Sandler/Cutbill v. Cold Spring Harbour School District.
  • Currently represents male survivors who survived sexual abuse by Ohio State University physician Dr. Richard Strauss in bringing Title IX claims against OSU.
  • Secured a $60 million settlement on behalf of New Yorkers who alleged fraudulent debt collection practices. Sykes v. Mel S. Harris and Associates LLC.
  • Represented Roger Clemens’s trainer, Brian McNamee, in competing defamation lawsuits in Texas and New York. Obtained complete dismissal of Mr. Clemens’ Texas lawsuit and confidential settlement of Mr. McNamee’s New York lawsuit.
  • Together with the Legal Aid Society, obtained a historic injunctive settlement to reform the widespread abuse of prisoners by correction staff on Rikers Island. Also obtained $3.5 million in damages for the named plaintiffs in the case, Nunez v. City of New York.
  • Obtained a $2 million settlement for a man who died of untreated alcohol withdrawal while incarcerated at Manhattan Detention Complex. Livermore v. City of New York.
  • Obtained a settlement on behalf of an African-American college student who was the victim of police shooting in Westchester County. Cox v. Village of Pleasantville.
  • Successfully represented John Doe Anti-Terrorism Officer, a high-profile anti-discrimination case on behalf of a former member of the elite Cyber Unit of the New York Police Department. John Doe Anti-Terrorism Officer v. City of New York.
  • Obtained complete dismissal of $45 million lawsuit brought by Donald Trump in a Tel Aviv real estate dispute. Trump Marks v. Crescent Heights.
  • Represented New York City taxi fleet owners (MTBOT) in numerous litigations against the Taxi and Limousine Commission and New York City.
  • Represented outdoor advertising company in First Amendment challenge to government sign regulation. Metro Fuel v. City of New York.
  • Represented EchoStar, the national satellite television provider, in the successful appeal of an adverse judgment in a dispute involving the right to broadcast the high-definition feeds of Disney’s television programming. EchoStar v. ESPN.
  • Counsel to Ford Models, Inc. in unfair competition litigation against competitor. Ford Models, Inc. v. Next Management LLCFord Models, Inc. v. Spears.
  • Represented the New York City Council where then-Mayor Bloomberg challenged the legality of duly-enacted local legislation and obtained dismissal of real estate developers lawsuit seeking to invalidate Local Law 44, which requires contractors receiving city funding to report workers’ wages. Obtained successful dismissal in trial court; matter currently on appeal. New York State Association for Affordable Housing et al. v. City Council.


Toward Increased Notice of FMLA [Family and Medical Leave Act] and ADA [Americans with Disability Act] Protections, 80 NYU L. REV. 1797 (2005).


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New York University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 2005

Law Review Alumni Association Award (awarded to graduate with third-highest GPA)
Order of the Coif

Dartmouth College, A.B., cum laude, 2000


U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
New York
New Jersey