Katherine Rosenfeld | Partner at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP

Katherine Rosenfeld


Katherine (Katie) Rosenfeld is an experienced litigator and advocate with over fifteen years of experience representing clients in complex civil litigation. Her practice includes civil rights and commercial matters in both federal and state courts at the trial and appellate level.

Ms. Rosenfeld has substantial experience in class action litigation, including against the New York City Police Department, New York City Department of Correction, and New York City Transit Authority. She has successfully represented classes of medical residents, victims of excessive force and police misconduct, Limited English Proficient individuals, and people with disabilities seeking access to government services.

Ms. Rosenfeld maintains a diverse civil rights practice that includes constitutional litigation; sexual harassment and assault; employment and housing discrimination cases alleging discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, familial statuspregnancy, disability, and source of income; and police and prison abuse.

Her commercial practice includes contract, business, and tort disputes. She also advises companies on workplace issues such as terminations and internal investigation, and negotiates separation and severance agreements for employees, including high-level executives of major corporations. She has also successfully represented students in academic discipline issues including internal appeals.

From 2014 to 2017, Ms. Rosenfeld served as the Legal Director of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), where she led the organization’s advocacy work. At NYLPI, Ms. Rosenfeld directed litigation and policy campaigns on behalf of individuals, community groups, and organizations in the areas of disability discrimination, transportation access, educational equity, immigrants’ rights, housing discrimination, public accommodations, language access, criminal justice reform, and health and environmental conditions. She also oversaw the publication of several significant public reports, including Detained and Denied: Healthcare Access in Immigration Detention (2017).

Prior to her role at NYLPI, Ms. Rosenfeld was a partner at the firm, where for a decade she litigated a wide variety of civil rights and commercial cases in federal and state courts.

Ms. Rosenfeld is a 2015 recipient of the Fair Housing Justice Center’s Acting for Justice Award.

Before joining the firm in 2004, Ms. Rosenfeld worked as an associate at Koob & Magoolaghan where she focused on prisoners’ rights and employment discrimination. She was also a law clerk for the Honorable Dean D. Pregerson in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Yale Law School.

Representative Cases:

Class Actions

  • Brought case leading to a $6.6 million settlement on behalf of a class of hundreds of former medical residents in a case against their training hospital involving novel commercial tort claims and complex federal taxation issues. Simon, et al. v. New York and Presbyterian Hospital, 36 F. Supp. 3d 292 (S.D.N.Y. 2014) (denying motion to dismiss).
  • Obtained a $15 million settlement and historic injunctive relief for a class of approximately 22,000 New Yorkers who were illegally charged by the New York City Police Department under unconstitutional and void “loitering” statutes between 1983 and 2012. Casale v. Kelly (S.D.N.Y.); Brown v. Kelly (S.D.N.Y.).
  • Settled landmark 2015 class action settlement with co-counsel on behalf of immigrant New Yorkers with disabilities, in which the New York City Transit Authority agreed to reform the Access-A-Ride program and ensure equal access to public transportation by providing interpretation and translation services. Jorge v. New York City Transit Authority (E.D.N.Y.) (while at NYLPI).

Police Misconduct

  • Obtained monetary and injunctive relief on behalf of a client who uses a wheelchair and was injured during police transport, requiring NYPD to provide accessible transportation for people who use wheelchairs at the time of their arrest. Filer v. City of New York, et al. (E.D.N.Y.) (while at NYLPI).
  • Obtained a favorable settlement in a case challenging the NYPD’s practice of manufacturing misdemeanor charges for marijuana possession. Along with the Bronx Defenders, ECBAWM represented six plaintiffs charged with misdemeanor when they should have received minor violations. Felix, et al. v. City of New York, et al. (S.D.N.Y.).
  • Represented Bronx photographer and artist Holly Van Voast in successful challenge to NYPD’s wrongful practice of arresting women who exerted legal right to go shirtless. Holly Van Voast v. City of New York (S.D.N.Y.). 

Housing Discrimination

  • Obtained favorable settlement in multi-party action in New York Supreme Court alleging novel claims of alienage and citizenship status discrimination, on behalf of three East Harlem families who fled their rent-stabilized apartments in fear of the prior landlord’s immigration-related threats, with the settlement providing for restoration of the families to their long-time homes. (while at NYLPI).
  • Settled reasonable accommodations lawsuit for monetary and injunctive relief after a Queens co-op failed to provide an accessible entrance to a child resident with a disability. Santana v. Southridge (E.D.N.Y.) (while at NYLPI).
  • Negotiated a favorable settlement of $212,000 and detailed 3-year injunction covering 16 buildings and over 900 rental units, due to alleged housing discrimination based on race.  The original complaint stemmed from a testing investigation in which four African American testers were told that no apartments were available, while the white testers with whom they were matched were told about and shown available apartments at the units.  Fair Housing Justice Center, et al. v. Kara Realty, et al. (E.D.N.Y.).

Gender, Pregnancy, and Sexual Orientation Discrimination, and Sexual Harassment and Assault

  • Represented victims of gender-based violence and/or sex discrimination including employees sexually harassed at work, in the garment, legal and other industries (confidential settlements) and employees who were terminated because of sex, familial status, or pregnancy discrimination, including faculty at major academic institutions, an executive in the fashion industry, and a non-profit leader (confidential settlements).
  • Obtained jury verdict for a gay man, who was subjected to homophobic harassment while he lived in a Bronx apartment building, based on local laws prohibiting housing discrimination based on sexual orientation. Cruz v. Nieves (Bronx County).
  • Conducted internal investigation for leading non-profit organization into allegations of sexual harassment by senior leader.
  • Conducted successful internal appeal and negotiated separation for graduate student accused of sexual harassment by major New York educational institution.


Prisoners’ Rights

  • Served as co-counsel in historic class action litigation with the Legal Aid Society which secured broad injunctive reform seeking to halt the violence on Rikers Island for a class of prisoners who were severely injured by correction officers, in addition to $3.5 million in damages for individual plaintiffs.  Nunez v. City of New York (S.D.N.Y.).
  • Settled a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act on behalf of a woman who was sexually assaulted by a correction officer while incarcerated at a federal prison.
  • Represented the family of Patrick Miller, a man with mental illness who died in 2007 in the custody of the New York City Department of Correction, after being beaten in a jail hospital, to obtain $1.5 million settlement. Miller v. City of New York (S.D.N.Y.).
  • Obtained $2 million settlement for a man who died of untreated alcohol withdrawal while confined at Manhattan Detention Complex. Livermore v. City of New York (S.D.N.Y).

Disability Discrimination

  • Filed federal civil rights action with co-counsel on behalf of five families whose children were targeted for removal from school because of the children’s actual or perceived disabilities. Lawton, et al. v. Success Academy, et al. (E.D.N.Y.) (while at NYLPI).
  • Obtained preliminary injunctions in multiple federal cases on behalf of non-profit organizations that provide housing and supportive services to developmentally disabled individuals, in actions challenging landlords’ refusal to renew leases with non-profit organizations, based on source-of-income and disability discrimination claims. (while at NYLPI).
  • Filed a federal civil rights lawsuit with co-counsel against Orange County, New York challenging its discharge of two people with serious mental illnesses from immigration detention without planning for the continuity of their life-sustaining mental healthcare. Charles, et al. v. Orange County, et al. (S.D.N.Y.) (while at NYLPI).

Public Accommodations

  • Entered into a groundbreaking Structured Negotiation Agreement with the City of New York in 2016 to address the widespread inaccessibility of New York City’s courthouses to people with mobility impairments. (while at NYLPI).

Commercial Litigation

  • Successfully represented numerous businesses and publicly traded companies in a wide range of commercial cases alleging business torts and contract disputes.
  • Represented individuals in defamation matters.


“Housing Aid for Homeless,” The New York Times, February 17, 2016


New York State Bar Association, Fashion Law Committee, “Sexual Harassment and Assault,” Panelist, April 25, 2018

National Institute of Trial Advocacy’s Northeast Regional Program, Faculty, 2015 and 2016

Federal Bar Council, “Civil Rights Update for the Practitioner,” Panelist, 2017

New York County Defender Services’ “Legal Activism in Our New America,” Panelist, 2017

The Bronx Defenders, Representing the Police Abuse Client, Speaker, 2014

Invited Guest Speaker at Columbia, Yale, Cardozo, Fordham and other area law schools on civil rights topics

Legal Services NYC, Intensive Litigation Skills for Advocates: Discovery, Trainer, 2012

Practicing Law Institute, Prison Law Program, Panelist, 2011