WASHINGTON - Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is pleased to announce that the Washington Lawyers’ Committee has named it as a 2008 recipient of the Outstanding Achievement in Civil Rights Award for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. The firm was honored at the Lawyers’ Committee's annual Wiley Branton Awards Luncheon, held at the Grand Hyatt Washington Hotel on June 4, 2008.
In presenting Katten with the award, the Lawyers’ Committee recognized partner Brian H. Corcoran and associate David J. Gonen for their significant pro bono victory in a recent civil rights case involving allegations of police brutality. In a complex case that raised several issues of first impression under the D.C. Human Rights Act and the law of qualified immunity, Mr. Corcoran and Mr. Gonen, along with attorneys from the Lawyers’ Committee, represented Emile Mazloum, a Lebanese individual who was assaulted at a Washington nightclub in March 2005 by club personnel, as well as by four off-duty D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officers. The plaintiff asserted federal claims of race discrimination, as well as excessive force and unlawful arrest in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Following a seven-day trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and three days of deliberations, a nine-person jury ruled in favor of Mr. Mazloum on his federal excessive force and unlawful arrest claims against the officer most responsible for the assault, awarding compensatory and punitive damages. The jury also ruled in favor of Mr. Mazloum on his battery claim against the nightclub and its bouncer.
In recognizing Katten, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee noted: “Katten put together a strong and dedicated team whose zealous advocacy carried the claims through extensive discovery, full summary judgment briefing and eventually a trial. Katten's efforts not only reflect the finest pro bono tradition, but also serve to deter law enforcement officials from engaging in such abuses in the future.”
Katten has a long-term commitment to helping the poor, the powerless and the disenfranchised obtain first-rate representation without charge. Attorneys and other legal professionals give their time, resources and talent to serve individuals and organizations in need, to engage in important national litigation, and to partner with local legal service providers to ensure access to the justice system.