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Pro Bono

Pro Bono

Since its founding in 1969, Anderson Kill has devoted a considerable portion of its attorneys' energies to providing pro bono legal services, both to needy individuals and to institutions that serve the public good.

On the insurance front, Anderson Kill attorneys have represented numerous individuals and small businesses who were wrongly denied coverage for healthcare, disability, life and property insurance claims. In addition, the firm has for more than twenty years sustained a uniquely productive partnership with a nonprofit advocacy group, United Policyholders, that works to advance policyholder rights, interests and awareness on behalf of both individuals and institutions.

In concert with United Policyholders, Anderson Kill has filed more than 250 amicus briefs in insurance coverage disputes that bear broad import for policyholders nationwide. These amici have been widely cited in federal and state court decisions nationwide, including the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Humana Inc. v Forsyth, No 97-303, 1999 U.S. Lexis 744 (Jan. 20, 1999).

Homeowner

Anderson Kill represented a homeowner in a dispute with Travelers concerning application of a pollution exclusion to naturally occurring methane contamination emanating from groundwater.  Despite a bad summary judgment decision on late notice, we were successful in resolving the matter after a modest briefing effort, including getting the client out from under legal fees and public adjuster fees, and by positioning the client to resolve separately an additional pending mortgage dispute with $100K of Traveler’s money.  The client was satisfied with the resolution and appreciated our efforts,

Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies

Anderson Kill provides ongoing pro bono legal services to the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, a social service organization that coordinates the efforts of close to 300 member agencies and churches throughout New York City’s five boroughs and beyond. The network serves more than 1.5 million New Yorkers of all ages and ethnicities.

Connecticut Bar Association Disaster Hotline

Anderson Kill helped establish a disaster insurance advice hotline sponsored by the Connecticut Bar Association, in cooperation with FEMA and the State’s disaster response agency.

Vermont Volunteer Lawyers Project

Anderson Kill assisted the Vermont Volunteer Lawyers Project in resolving three homeowners insurance claims in Northern Vermont regarding coverage disputes under National Flood Insurance Policies for flood losses and related matters arising out of Tropical Storm Irene.

The Dance Parade

Dancing has been a regulated activity in New York City for nearly a century. Restrictions on dance emerged in the 1920’s: originally they were used–with a companion music restriction–to crack down on jazz and inter-racial dancing. Over the years, these regulations have targeted people of color, gay folks, and the ‘unconventional.’  It also bred corruption and shakedowns. Currently, NYC requires any venue to have a license for 3 or more individuals to dance (a Cabaret license). In addition, the zoning laws severely restricted where it was lawful to have public dancing.

Twenty years ago, a court challenge brought by the NYCLU and a professor at NYU Law School challenging the Cabaret Law in State Court was unsuccessful. In response, NY Dance Parade was formed to develop public awareness of the importance of dance to all communities and people of all ages. The annual public event attracts more than 10,000 dancers, and more than 150,000 attend either the parade or Dance Fest (a multiple-state event featuring parade participants). In addition, the Dance Parade provides dance classes at schools as well as senior and community centers throughout NYC.

Around 2015 a bar owner filed a lawsuit in the federal court (EDNY) challenging the constitutionality of the Cabaret Law on both 1st and 14th Amendment of the US Constitution grounds (and related provisions in the NYS Constitution). Anderson Kill joined in that litigation on behalf of a diverse (style, age, gender and race) group of DJ’s.  The District Court denied the City’s motion to dismiss in 2017- finding that we had colorable claims of constitutional violations. A group called Legalize Dance was formed to build a coalition of dancers and community advocates, and enlisted an ally on City Council. Ultimately, the hospitality industry joined. The City Council voted to repeal the Cabaret Law, which was signed by Mayor DiBlasio and the litigation resolved, in the fall of 2017.

But the zoning restrictions remained. Bar owners were at risk of violating the terms of their liquor licenses as they did not have valid certificate of occupancies. The illegal use of the premises, if there was a casualty, could have other adverse consequences.  There remained the risk arbitrary enforcement (and corruption).  And, it was just bad public policy.

In 2023, Mayor Eric Adams released the “City of Yes for Economic Development” zoning overhaul–the first land use modification in at least 50 years. Within that proposed legislation, following months and months of discussion: language that removed the dance restrictions from NY’s zoning laws.

Following public hearings in early 2024, the Department of City Planning voted to approve, with modifications, the City of Yes zoning legislation. On June 6, 2024 the City Council voted to lift the century-old restrictions on dancing. AK attorney Jerry Goldman was at the Mayor’s press conference to celebrate the victory.

Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program (VIP)

Anderson Kill supports the Tangled Title Fund Advisory Committee (“TTFAC”), helping to approve applications & disbursements to indigent applicants who either need titles because they were not transferred during probate of a deceased relative, or to clear titles for other reasons such as fraudulent transfers and where probate is too complex due to the involvement of several generations.

Bridge Street Development Corporation

Anderson Kill assisted the Bridge Street Development Corporation in resolving a coverage dispute that arose when Bridge Street’s liability insurance company responded to an insurance claim by disclaiming coverage and suing its not-for-profit customer. Bridge Street is a Brooklyn-based not-for-profit organization providing civic and economic opportunities to the residents of Central Brooklyn, often by building low-income housing. Its insurance company denied liability insurance coverage for a personal injury suit based on late notice and other grounds; following AK’s involvement, the insurance company agreed to pay defense costs and contribute to a settlement.

The "W" Connection, Inc.

Anderson Kill helped incorporate this is a NY not-for-profit, 501(c)3, which provides support groups for recent widows and counseling, financial, estate planning and real estate referrals to widows needing such help, in chapters organized on Long Island, New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and California.

ACLU New Jersey

In April 2007, Manalapan Township in New Jersey paid $275,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit that was filed by Anderson Kill on behalf of three African-American teenagers who testified that two white police officers searched them without justification and berated them, while the teenagers’ three white friends, who witnessed the incident, were told to go home.

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