Last week, the Proskauer community came together for the 14th Annual Golden Gavel Awards ceremony, a firm-wide virtual celebration to honor those lawyers and staff members who went far above and beyond to contribute to the Firm’s pro bono, corporate social responsibility, and diversity & inclusion initiatives this year. Congratulations
Proskauer recently reached a landmark agreement with the New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) and Department of Education (NJDOE) to ensure that students entitled to special education services in NJDOC custody will receive those services to which they are legally entitled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This settlement is consistent with Proskauer’s long-standing commitment to provide legal services to some of the country’s most vulnerable communities.
As documented in numerous studies, the brunt of COVID-19’s impact has fallen most heavily on racial and ethnic minorities who have suffered higher hospitalization and mortality rates as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment as a consequence of the virus and government efforts to contain it. As a result, many low-income tenants—Black and Latinx, disproportionately—are having difficulty paying their rent.
In New Jersey, hundreds of thousands of residents, including a disproportionate number of minorities, face this grim reality and may soon become at risk of eviction. One July 2020 study predicted that approximately 450,000 households—40% of all New Jersey renter households—would be unable pay rent in August, and that nearly half of Black New Jersey renter households would be unable to do so—a higher percentage than for any other race or ethnicity. It is estimated that between 400,000 and 560,000 New Jersey renter households are at risk of eviction, which is forecasted to culminate in New Jersey with an estimated 600% increase from pre-COVID-19 levels.
The New Jersey Appellate Division, in a landmark ruling — Oasis Therapeutic Life Centers, Inc. v. Wade et al., (December 10, 2018) — upheld a real estate purchaser’s right to assert a claim under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (the LAD) against the purchaser’s prospective neighbors who discriminated against the purchaser because of the disability of the person intending to live on the premises, even if the purchaser (e.g., a charitable entity created to assist members of the protected class) does not fall within the protected class itself.
Our client, Oasis Therapeutic Life Centers, Inc. (Oasis), is a nonprofit organization providing residential and vocational opportunities and training to autistic individuals. Oasis also creates temporary and long-term group homes in farm-like settings for autistic young adults, where these individuals can live and work.