Zoe Salzman | Partner at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP

Zoe Salzman

zsalzman@ecbawm.com
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Zoe Salzman is an experienced trial attorney.  She has tried commercial and civil rights cases before juries in both federal and state courts.  She has also argued appeals in both the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the First Department Appellate Division.

Ms. Salzman’s diverse practice at the firm includes representing people, companies, and not-for-profit organizations in challenges in many fields, including employment discrimination; sexual harassment; sexual assault; Child Victims Act abuse; wrongful conviction; police and prison abuse; tort and contract disputes; partnership disputes; housing discrimination; constitutional litigation; developmental disability discrimination; and school bullying.

She also represents lawyers, executives in all fields, employees, and companies in internal investigations and the negotiation of employment, severance, and separation agreements.

Ms. Salzman specializes in representing victims in #MeToo cases with claims for sexual harassment, assault, or abuse. In 2021, Ms. Salzman represented one of the women interviewed in the Attorney General’s investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against Governor Andrew Cuomo. In 2019, Ms. Salzman argued and won a landmark victory in the First Department Appellate Division that rape and sexual assault are necessarily motivated at least in part by animus towards the victim’s gender, and therefore prohibited by the New York City Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law. Many of Ms. Salzman’s other cases in this field have been resolved in high-value confidential settlements or litigated in confidential arbitrations.

Ms. Salzman regularly teaches and speaks on panels hosted by the Practicing Law Institute (PLI), the National Employment Lawyers Association/New York, New York University School of Law, and other institutions and law schools.

Prior to joining the firm in 2010, Ms. Salzman clerked for the Hon. Sterling Johnson, Jr. in the Eastern District of New York and worked with the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law.  Ms. Salzman graduated magna cum laude from NYU School of Law in 2007.

Representative Cases:

  • Argued and won a landmark victory on the New York City Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law in Breest v. Haggis, one of the few cases of the MeToo era that is being litigated in civil court. The firm represents a young woman who alleges that a Hollywood director raped and assaulted her after a film premiere where she was working. Read more about the decision here.
  • Litigated a sexual harassment lawsuit in the New York City Commission on Human Rights to bypass an arbitration clause. The case alleged that the plaintiff was “subjected to an astounding barrage of groping and sexually explicit and derogatory comments, texts, emails, and signs by her boss.” Read more about the case here and here.
  • Filed Scott v. Pritchett, et al., a wrongful conviction case alleging Detroit Police Department officers coerced and falsified witness statements and suppressed evidence, resulting in the plaintiff being wrongfully incarcerated for nearly twenty years for a murder he did not commit. Read more about the case here.
  • Obtained a $6 million settlement for the family and estate of Tamir Rice in a civil lawsuit against the City of Cleveland for the shooting death of Tamir Rice, a 12 year-old boy, who was killed by Cleveland police. Winston, et al. v. City of Cleveland, et al., No. 14 Civ. 02670 (N.D. Ohio). Read more about the case here. Watch an interview with Zoe Salzman on MSNBC here. Read Ms. Salzman’s op-ed calling for a federal investigation here.
  • Filed a groundbreaking class action lawsuit challenging the Tampon Tax in New York State, which prompted the legislature to vote to eliminate the tax. Seibert, et al. v. N.Y. State Dep’t of Taxation and Finance, et al., Index No. 181500/2016 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cnty.).  Read an interview with Ms. Salzman on the case here. Read more about the case here and here.
  • Examined and cross-examined witnesses on behalf of a bank and real estate development company in a four-week trial involving a commercial lease dispute in federal court against Home Depot.  Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. v. G&S Investors/Willow Park L.P. et al., No. 98 Civ. 6719 & 00 Civ. 0676 (E.D.N.Y.).
  • Secured a favorable settlement on behalf of the Committee to Save Cooper Union in a case challenging the decision to charge tuition at The Cooper Union as incompatible with the intentions of Peter Cooper and the trust he established to fund the school. The Committee to Save Cooper Union, Inc., et al. v. Board of Trustees of the Cooper Union, et al., Index No. 155185/2014 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cnty.). Read more here.
  • Obtained a $3.5 million settlement for the twelve named plaintiffs in Nunez v. New York. This class action suit was brought by ECBAWM together with the Legal Aid Society’s Prisoners’ Rights Project on behalf of inmates at Rikers Island who were severely injured by correctional officers and to make systemic changes to halt the excessive violence plaguing the jail there. Nunez, et al. v. New York , et al., No. 11 Civ. 5845 (S.D.N.Y.).  Read more here and here.
  • Secured a $4.48 million settlement on behalf of five Jewish children who were the victims of repeated anti-Semitic bullying in the Pine Bush School District. In addition to the monetary damages, the sweeping settlement requires significant reform to policies, training and the tracking of anti-Semitic incidents, all under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Education. T.E., et al. v. Pine Bush Central School District, et al., No. 12 Civ. 2303 (S.D.N.Y.). Read more about the case here and here.

Publications:

Zoe Salzman & Billy Joe Mills, Opinion: Tamir Rice Deserves Justice. The Biden Administration Could Finally Deliver It (Washington Post, Jan. 21, 2021), available here.

Zoe Salzman, Alanna Kaufman, Elizabeth Saylor, Opinion: Another Venue for Sexual Harassment Claims (New York Times, Oct. 31, 2017), available here.

Report, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, Rights Within Reach: Securing Human Rights and Equality in Nepal’s New Constitution (New York: NYU School of Law, 2010).

Armed Groups in Peace Processes: Who Gets a Seat at the Negotiating Table?, IILJ Emerging Scholars Paper 10 (2008), available here.

“The Tangled Web”: The Right of Self-Defense against Non-State Actors in the Armed Activities Case, 40 N.Y.U. J. INT’L L. & POL. 53 (2008).

Note, Private Military Contractors and the Taint of a Mercenary Reputation, 40 N.Y.U. J. INT’L L. & POL. 853 (2008).

Attorney News

Education

New York University, LL.M., 2008

IILJ Fellow, Jerome Lipper Prize

New York University, J.D., magna cum laude, 2007

Order of the Coif

Concordia University, B.A., with great distinction, 2003

Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
New York
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

Memberships

Member, Board of Advisers, NYU School of Law Robert and Helen Bernstein Institute for Human Rights
Member & Past Vice President of the Board of the National Employment Lawyers Association, New York
Member, Advisory Board, New York University Center for Labor and Employment Law
Member, Federal Bar Council Civil Rights Committee

Honors

“Super Lawyers” Rising Star award (2018-2021)

City and State’s 40 Under 40 Rising Star award

Lawdragon’s “500 Leading Plaintiff Employment & Civil Rights Lawyers”

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