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Fair Housing Law and Practice 2019


Speaker(s): Andrew W. Schilling, Diane L. Houk, Elizabeth R. Gorman, Katherine Carroll, Katie Rosenfeld, Kevin M. Cremin, Robert R. Desir, Sara L. Shudofsky
Recorded on: May. 22, 2019
PLI Program #: 269541

Andrew Schilling heads Buckley LLP’s New York office and represents entities and individuals in government investigations, internal investigations, and complex civil litigation. Mr. Schilling regularly represents companies and individuals in responding to civil fraud, civil rights, and consumer protection investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), United States Attorney’s Offices, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and state attorneys general.  

Mr. Schilling is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) and Chief of the Civil Division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY). As Civil Chief at the SDNY, he supervised all federal civil litigation by that office and established that office’s Civil Frauds Unit, which investigates cases in such areas as mortgage fraud, health care fraud, grant fraud, procurement fraud, and customs fraud. Mr. Schilling also served as Chief of the Civil Rights Unit of that office, handling both criminal civil rights prosecutions and civil enforcement actions, including under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), and laws protecting the rights of service members.

Mr. Schilling is an experienced trial and appellate attorney.  He has handled jury trials and bench trials in civil rights, employment discrimination, retaliation, and law enforcement misconduct cases. He has also argued more than a dozen federal and state appeals. Mr. Schilling was recognized in 2019 by Benchmark Litigation as one of the nation’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers. He has also been recognized by Legal 500 for his expertise in Financial Services Litigation (2014-2018), and by Super Lawyers for General Litigation in the New York metropolitan area (2013-2018).


Diane L. Houk joined the firm as Counsel in 2009. Her practice focuses on representing individual and organizational plaintiffs in housing discrimination matters, including Broadway Triangle Community Coalition v. New York City; National Fair Housing Alliance v. Facebook, Inc; Fair Housing Justice Center v. M&T Bank; Kneer and Long Island Housing Services v. German American Settlement League, Inc., and L. C. v. LeFrak City. Prior to joining the firm, Diane co-founded the New York City-based Fair Housing Justice Center in 2004 and served as its first Executive Director until 2009.

Ms. Houk previously worked at the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in the Housing & Civil Enforcement Section from 1991 to 2004. During her tenure as a Senior Trial Attorney, Ms. Houk served as lead counsel in more than thirty housing discrimination cases filed by the United States in federal courts throughout the country. Her docket included systemic “pattern and practice” cases, as well as individual complaints referred by HUD, involving allegations of race, national origin, familial status, sex, and disability discrimination. These included rental discrimination cases based on “testing” investigations and local land use cases, such as United States v. Yonkers, NY; United States v. Parma, OH; United States v. City of Jacksonville, FL; and United States v. Pooler, GA.

In 2000, Ms. Houk was named Special Litigation Counsel by the Division. In that role, she oversaw the development and litigation of race, national origin, and religious discrimination cases involving land use and zoning, redevelopment plans, building and occupancy codes, and affordable housing programs.

Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Ms. Houk was in private practice in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for seven years litigating civil rights cases alleging race, national origin, disability, sexual harassment, and sexual orientation discrimination in housing and employment. She served as General Counsel to the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council and handled numerous cases utilizing evidence obtained from “fair housing testing.”

Ms. Houk co-taught the Housing Discrimination Seminar at Columbia Law School from 2005 to 2014 and is a frequent speaker and lecturer on housing discrimination law.


Elizabeth concentrates her practice in Labor and Employment Law on behalf of management.  Elizabeth has successfully defended management before state and federal courts, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, National Labor Relations Board, Department of Labor and state agencies in discrimination, sexual harassment, FMLA, wrongful discharge, whistleblower, ERISA and wage and hour matters. In addition, Elizabeth counsels companies on personnel issues, employment policies, restrictive covenants and compliance with state and federal employment laws.

Elizabeth also practices general liability defense with a concentration in Construction/Labor Law claims.  Elizabeth is a Member of the New York State Bar Association and has lectured on its behalf, as well as for Metropolitan Women’s Bar Association sponsored programs.


Katherine Carroll is an Assistant Commissioner in the Law Enforcement Bureau of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, where she oversees the Bureau's investigation and prosecution of publicly-initiated cases. Katherine has been with the Commission since 2012, first as a Staff Attorney and then, in 2015, as a Supervising Attorney for housing cases. Prior to joining at the Commission, Katherine worked as a Staff Attorney at Legal Services of New Jersey, in their Medical Legal Partnership training residents to issue spot common legal issues for their low income patients and representing patient-clients in all manner of civil legal matters. Prior to working at LSNJ, Katherine worked with African Services Committee, representing clients in immigration and housing matters.

She earned her JD from George Washington University School of Law and her BA from New York University in Philosophy and Gender and Sexuality Studies. Katherine is a member of the Disability Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association.


Katie Rosenfeld is a partner at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP (“ECBA”), where she maintains a diverse civil rights practice. Since 2002, Katie has represented prisoners and their families in actions challenging excessive force, terrible medical care, disability discrimination, shackling, solitary confinement, and other prisoners’ rights issues. While at ECBA, Katie served as co-counsel in the Nunez v. City of New York (S.D.N.Y.) class action litigation with the Legal Aid Society, a case which secured broad injunctive reform to reduce excessive force by correction officers on Rikers Island, and $3.5 million in damages for individual plaintiffs.

Katie is currently representing a family in Oklahoma whose 21-year old son died of untreated appendicitis in prison after he was denied any medical attention for many days, as well as several individuals in the New York State DOCCS system who were beaten by officers and suffered serious injuries.

From 2014 to 2017, Katie served as the Legal Director of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (“NYLPI”), where she led the organization’s advocacy work. At NYLPI, Katie filed a federal civil rights action against Orange County on behalf of two immigrant detainees with serious mental illnesses, challenging the jail’s practices of releasing people on the street without any medication or mental health discharge planning. She also worked on a challenge to the NYPD’s arrest practices for people who use wheelchairs, and the inaccessibility of courthouse bathrooms for prisoners with disabilities.

Prior to her role at NYLPI, Katie was a partner at Emery Celli, where for a decade she litigated a wide variety of civil rights and commercial cases in federal and state courts. After clerking for the Honorable Dean D. Pregerson in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, her first job was at Koob & Magoolaghan, where she litigated prisoners’ rights cases around New York State. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Yale Law School.


Kevin M. Cremin is the Director of Litigation for Disability and Aging Rights at Mobilization for Justice (formerly MFY Legal Services).  He received his J.D. from Yale Law School and his B.A. from the University of Chicago.  After clerking for a federal district court judge and a federal court of appeals judge, Kevin enforced the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act for the United States Department of Justice.  As an American India Foundation Clinton Fellow, he conducted a study on community-based services for individuals with psychiatric disabilities in India.  Kevin is a Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School, and he has authored articles that have been published in the Yale Law and Policy Review, Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights, Frontiers of Law in China, Cardozo Law Review, and other publications.


Robert Desir has been a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society since 2002. He originally defended Queens tenants in administrative proceedings, summary eviction proceedings and appeals. He is currently a staff attorney in the Society’s Civil Law Reform Unit where he focuses on strengthening tenant rights and protections though legislative advocacy and impact litigation in State and Federal Courts. 


Sara L. Shudofsky is a trial and appellate lawyer with broad experience handling government investigations and commercial litigation. Her practice focuses on financial, healthcare, and contract fraud investigations and litigation, including under the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Statute, and FIRREA; environmental investigations and litigation, including under CERCLA, the asbestos NESHAP regulations, and the Clean Water Act; challenges to the design & construction of buildings and related facilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act, as well as programmatic challenges brought under the ADA and state and local laws; and general affirmative and defensive litigation, including in connection with regulatory and constitutional challenges.

Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Shudofsky was the Chief of the Civil Division of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, where she supervised more than 55 Assistant United States Attorneys and oversaw litigation in a wide variety of practice areas, including financial, healthcare, and contract fraud; civil rights; environmental protection; tax & bankruptcy; national security; torts; employment; FOIA; and general defensive litigation. During her earlier, sixteen-year tenure in the Civil Division, Ms. Shudofsky served as Chief of the Civil Rights Unit, Deputy Chief of the Civil Division, and Chief Appellate Attorney. Between her two tours at the US Attorney's Office, she spent five years in private practice, where she represented companies and individuals in connection with government investigations and complex civil litigation.