Eric Hecker has a diverse trial and appellate litigation practice. He is a leading civil rights litigator who has successfully handled many employment discrimination, wage and hour, police misconduct, prisoners’ rights, First Amendment, children’s rights, housing discrimination, election law, and land use cases. He also has extensive experience litigating a wide variety of commercial disputes involving contract, partnership, and intellectual property issues. Eric taught a course in election law at Cardozo Law School from 2005 through 2015, and he has been named a “Super Lawyer” for civil rights and business litigation each year since 2009.
J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 1997, magna cum laude
- Order of the Coif
- Articles Editor, Michigan Law Review
B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1991
- Hon. David Tatel, U.S. Court of
Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
- Hon. Thelton Henderson, U.S. District Court for the N.D. Cal.
- Hon. Constance Baker Motley,
U.S. District Court for the S.D.N.Y.
- New York
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second and D.C. Circuits
- U.S. District Court for the Southern, Eastern, Northern, and Western Districts of New York
Speaking Engagements and Academic Work
- Adjunct Professor, Cardozo School of Law
- Partisan Redistricting: From Justiciable Claims to Manageable Standards, New York University Law School
- Hesitant Judges, Bare-Knuckle Politics, and Elusive Standards: The Texas Gerrymandering Cases, Cardozo School of Law
- The Uses and Abuses of Redistricting, Cardozo School of Law
Miller et al. v. City of New York et al.
Obtained a historic $53 million settlement on behalf of a class of pre-trial detainees and parolees who claim that the New York City Department of Correction purposefully evaded limitations on the use of solitary confinement by placing inmates in unlawful stealth restrictive housing facilities. The settlement received extensive coverage in the New York Times, New York Post, and New York Law Journal. Our co-counsel, Alex Reinert of Cardozo Law School, discussed the settlement on Inside City Hall.
Served as lead counsel in New York’s redistricting litigation, representing the New York Senate in defense of the Congressional, Senate, and Assembly district lines that were enacted in 2022 following the release of the results of the 2020 Census.
Fair Housing Justice Center v. JDS Development LLC et al.
Obtained landmark settlement on behalf of a non-profit civil rights organization dedicated to eliminating housing discrimination and strengthening the enforcement of fair housing laws in a case alleging widespread violation of the accessibility requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act and the New York City Human Rights Law at the American Copper Buildings, a pair of luxury residential rental towers in Manhattan. The agreement requires extensive retrofitting of widespread barriers to access, a $2.9 million monetary payment, and other injunctive relief.
Alkebulan v. Galante et al.
Obtained a $1.8 million settlement for the Estate of Antwoine Fort, who committed suicide while he was being monitored for suicidal ideations at Attica Correctional Facility. This is believed to be the largest prison suicide settlement ever paid by the State of New York.
P.W. v. Monmouth County School District et al.
Represented a former New Jersey public high school student who claimed that school officials failed to protect her from severe and pervasive retaliation by her fellow students after her parents reported a shocking incident of anti-Semitism during a school field trip. Read extensive coverage of the lawsuit in the New York Times.
Jane Doe v. Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services et al.
Represents a woman who alleges that she was sexually assaulted by her foster father during the 1990s while she was under the supervision of Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services. The lawsuit alleges that Ohel’s priority was to place Jewish foster children in Jewish homes, and that once Ohel accomplished that goal, it failed to monitor the foster care placements, leaving vulnerable children at risk.
Parker v. City of New York
Obtained more than $5 million in damages for a class of Rikers Island detainees who claimed that their placement in solitary confinement violated their right to due process.
T.F. v. Hennepin County
Served as co-class counsel and obtained favorable settlement on behalf of foster children and pre-custodial children who were the subject of reports of abuse and neglect in an injunctive class action alleging that the child welfare system in Minneapolis, Minnesota was constitutionally deficient.
Hurley/Jastrzemski v. State of New York
Represented the New York Senate and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins in a case claiming that it is unconstitutional for the New York State Public Campaign Finance Commission to create laws altering so-called “fusion voting,” which allows candidates to run for office on multiple party lines.
McAllister v. Waldron
Obtained a $1.6 million settlement for the Estate of John McAllister, who committed suicide while in New York state prison, in a case claiming that the New York State Office of Mental Health failed to take basic steps to keep him safe from a known serious suicide risk.
Simmons v. Suffolk County
Obtained a $1.85 million settlement on behalf of the Estate of Dainell Simmons, a developmentally disabled man who was asphyxiated by Suffolk County police officers who held him down as they attempted to place leg restraints on him.
Newton v. City of New York
Represented Alan Newton, who spent over two decades in prison for a rape he did not commit because the City could not find the DNA evidence that eventually exonerated him, in his appeal from the district court’s decision to throw out an $18 million jury verdict on his claim that the City’s inadequate evidence management system violated his right to due process. The appellate court reinstated the verdict.
Favors v. Cuomo
Represented New York Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and the New York Senate Democrats with respect to all issues relating to the 2012 congressional and state legislative redistricting process, including challenging the constitutionality of the addition of a 63rd Senate district.
Glyka Trans LLC v. City of New York
Represented group of yellow medallion taxi owners and drivers in lawsuit claiming that “e-hail” companies like Uber may not lawfully operate in New York City.
Estate of Hailey Gonzalez v. City of New York
Represented the estate of a two-year-old girl who was murdered by her mother’s boyfriend while under the supervision of the City’s child welfare agency in a case alleging that the City was grossly negligent in failing to protect her.
Metro Fuel v. City of New York
Represented a national outdoor advertising company in a First Amendment challenge to New York City’s advertising sign restrictions.
Conservative Party v. Board of Elections
Represented and obtained a comprehensive consent decree on behalf of a coalition of minor political parties in a constitutional challenge to New York’s practice of crediting so-called “double-votes” (votes cast for a single candidate on more than one party line) exclusively to the major political party.
Green Party v. State of New Jersey
Represented the Green, Libertarian, and Conservative Parties in an action alleging that New Jersey’s campaign finance regulatory scheme, which subjects alternative political parties to more onerous restrictions than the Democrats and Republicans, violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
K.J. v. State of New Jersey
Obtained $7.5 million settlement on behalf of three New Jersey foster children who were systematically starved by their foster and adoptive parents over a period of years in a civil rights action against the State and the case workers who failed to protect them.