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Peter Romer-Friedman joined Cohen Milstein in 2009 as an Associate and is a member of the Civil Rights & Employment practice group.
Since 2009, Mr. Romer-Friedman has served as a key member of lead or co-lead counsel in securing victories in several groundbreaking civil rights class actions, including: (1) Keepseagle v. Vilsack, where thousands of Native American farmers and ranchers nationwide obtained a settlement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides $760 million in damages to compensate the farmers for racial discrimination under the USDA’s farm loan program since 1981 and reforms the USDA’s programs; (2) Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center v. U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and the State of Louisiana, where two fair housing groups and 20,000 African-American homeowners in New Orleans challenged Louisiana and HUD’s $11 billion post-Katrina housing rebuilding program that discriminated against African Americans, and obtained over $470 million in voluntary reforms and $62 million in a settlement that primarily benefited African-American homeowners; (3) Hill v. U.S. Postal Service, where disabled veterans who were asked by the U.S. Postal Service to provide medical documentation prior to conditional offers of employment in violation of federal law, won an $11 million settlement that reforms the Postal Service’s practices and protects disabled veteran applicants’ rights. In addition, Mr. Romer-Friedman helped to defeat Wal-Mart’s motion to dismiss in a class action lawsuit challenging Wal-Mart’s sex discrimination in regions that include California, to defeat a decertification motion in the Tyson Foods Multi-District Litigation, which later resulted in a $32 million settlement in 2011 for poultry workers who were unlawfully denied overtime compensation, and helped to win a summary judgment order finding that the Equal Rights Center has organizational standing to challenge Equity Residential’s nationwide pattern or practice of accessibility violations in multi-family housing units.
In 2011, Mr. Romer-Friedman and other members of class counsel in Keepseagle v. Vilsack, were finalists for Public Justice’s “2011 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award.” Furthermore, in 2011 the National Law Journal selected Cohen Milstein to its “2011 Plaintiffs’ Hot List,” and profiled the work of Mr. Romer-Friedman and his colleagues in Keepseagle v. Vilsack and GNOFHAC v. HUD.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Romer-Friedman served as labor counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and its Chairman, Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Mr. Romer-Friedman assisted Chairman Kennedy and other Senators in drafting legislation, speeches, and regulatory comments, and holding hearings on a range of labor, employment, and civil rights issues.
Prior to his work in the Senate, Mr. Romer-Friedman served as a law clerk to the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Los Angeles.
Mr. Romer-Friedman currently serves as an Associate Trustee of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs.
Mr. Romer-Friedman graduated from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor with a B.A. in Honors Economics and Social Science (cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, 2001) and Columbia Law School (J.D., 2006), where he was a James Kent Scholar and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. While at Columbia, Mr. Romer-Friedman served as managing editor of the Columbia Journal of Law & Social Problems, authored a Note, Eliot Spitzer Meets Mother Jones: How State Attorneys General Can Enforce State Wage and Hour Laws, 39 Colum. J.L. & Soc. Probs. 495 (2006), and was an extern to the Honorable Shira Scheindlin, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In addition, he was the recipient of the Emil Schlesinger Labor Prize and the ABA-BNA Award for Excellence in the Study of Labor and Employment Law.
While at Michigan, he received the national Harry S. Truman Scholarship for Public Service and co-founded the Worker Rights Consortium, a non-profit organization that monitors labor rights in apparel factories worldwide.
Prior to law school, Mr. Romer-Friedman was a Legislative Representative for the United Steelworkers of America, and worked for several other labor organizations, including the AFL-CIO, UNITE!, and SEIU.
Mr. Romer-Friedman is admitted to practice in New York and the District of Columbia.