Impact Litigation

Impact Litigation

HIV Law Project’s impact litigation efforts are aimed at eradicating the underlying problems faced by people living with HIV/AIDS. These actions challenge widespread or systemic problems identified through individual client representation.

Program Highlights

  • Marcano v. Sandcastle Towers Housing Dev. Fund Corp.,a housing discrimination lawsuit based upon disability and source of income, resulting in a court-ordered settlement mandating that defendants accept indigent New Yorkers living with AIDS in their 900-unit housing complex; undergo anti-discrimination training; and fund compliance testing to ensure adherence to the settlement agreement.
  • R.Z. v. Pataki, a class action lawsuit, on behalf of HIV-positive women and their infants subjected to New York State’s mandatory newborn HIV testing program, outreach to state and national policymakers, and unprecedented nationwide coalition-building among reproductive rights, HIV/AIDS, and civil rights groups. As a direct result of our lawsuit, the State has made significant improvements in the way in which the Department of Health provides counseling and care to pregnant women.
  • S.P. v. Sullivan, a landmark class action lawsuit filed by HIV Law Project on behalf of 22 poor and/or homeless men, women, and children, resulted in new 1993 federal regulations covering Social Security disability benefits. Prior to the action, many desperately ill people with HIV were dying before qualifying for benefits. As a direct result of the Project’s efforts, a majority of women and people of color disabled by HIV disease are now able to qualify for Medicaid and Social Security disability benefits.
  • F.S. v. New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), a housing court action commenced by HIV Law Project on behalf of a man threatened with eviction following his partner’s death of AIDS. Advocacy efforts by HIV Law Project in conjunction with ACT UP resulted in advances for same-sex domestic partners residing in New York City public housing, including protections for persons who can establish their surviving family status in relation to a deceased leaseholder.
  • Henrietta D. v. Giuliani, a federal class action lawsuit brought in 1995 by the HIV Law Project with Brooklyn Legal Services, Housing Works, Inc., and Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts, challenged the New York City Division of AIDS Services’ inadequate delivery of services to indigent New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. A federal judge ruled on September 18, 2000 that the city routinely deprives and delays AIDS patients’ receipt of food stamps, medicine and housing in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The judge found DASIS (now HASA) liable for “ongoing, systemic violations of the law.” The case proceeded all the way to the Supreme Court and plaintiffs prevailed.