Constitutional Law

Goldberg Segalla’s Constitutional Law Practice Group helps public entities, private enterprises, and individuals succeed in complex cases involving constitutional rights and obligations. Our team has decades of combined experience handling state and federal constitutional claims and matters. Goldberg Segalla has successfully litigated cases involving freedom of speech, defamation, libel and slander, the right to court access, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, procedural and substantial due process, equal protection, and the right to bear arms. 

We provide staunch and knowledgeable representation in resolving constitutional disputes. Our trial and appeal teams have deep experience with a wide range of litigants: we have fought aggressively and successfully to vindicate the constitutional rights of our clients, and we’ve also helped them avoid constitutional liability and maintain compliance with constitutional mandates. From our experience, we understand the heightened sensitivity and potential for exposure that often accompany these types of matters, and we work closely with clients to handle them as effectively, efficiently, and discreetly as possible. 

Civil Rights Claims 

We have defended numerous government agencies, elected officials, police officers, corrections officers, and counties and local governments in civil rights suits in federal and state courts. We’ve successfully defended free speech claims, allegations of police misconduct, and municipal liability claims. We proactively counsel and defend clients facing alleged violations of the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment (unreasonable search and seizure), the due process and equal protection clauses, and claims arising under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 

A small sampling of our experience includes: 

  • Successfully defending a Long Island town and its public safety department against wrongful death and civil rights claims — with a $40 million demand — stemming from the high-profile murder of an immigrant by teenagers
  • Obtaining dismissal of the First Amendment claims of a high school art teacher disciplined for a classroom speech soliciting student participation in a planned art school involving nude models
  • Achieving dismissal of a First Amendment claim arising from disciplining of an elementary school student for writing a story about murder and sex involving other students
  • Defending a town police department and its officers against a federal malicious prosecution claim that included allegations of unconstitutional restraint on liberty
  • Providing training for municipal governments for compliance with state and local human rights laws 

Second Amendment Litigation and Firearm-Related Issues 

Goldberg Segalla aggressively litigates a wide range of Second Amendment issues in federal and state courts. We are trial and appellate counsel to several national, state-wide, and regional organizations devoted to the Second Amendment and shooting sports. 

Goldberg Segalla regularly advises and defends business clients on a wide range of issues relating to the sale, transfer, and possession of firearms. Our clients include big-box retailers, outdoor outfitting companies, shooting range and training facilities operators, Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders, and individual firearms owners. 

We also advise and represent individuals on licensing and criminal issues relating to the sale and possession of firearms. 

Our Second Amendment experience is extremely significant, and includes: 

  • Representing the plaintiffs in the constitutional challenges to Connecticut’s Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety and New York’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act
  • Defense of high-exposure civil liability claims (i.e., wrongful death) arising out of the use of firearms purchased at retail stores
  • Defense of personal subpoenas served upon retailers seeking information regarding the sales and transfers of firearms
  • Defense of governmental subpoenas on gun show operators seeking information concerning compliance with state gun-control regulations
  • Counsel to FFL holders and individual firearms owners on the obtaining and renewing of firearms licenses
  • Defense of individual firearms owners on criminal matters relating to the possession and transport of firearms
  • Formulation and execution of civil rights litigation strategies seeking to protect and vindicate Second Amendment rights under 18 U.S.C. §1983, 18 U.S.C. § 926A (the Firearms Owners Protection Act (FOPA)), and 15 USC § 7903(4) (the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act) 

State Constitutional Issues 

Goldberg Segalla has extensive experience handling the unique challenges presented by the complex, myriad laws found in state constitutions as well as local ordinances. Our capabilities range from cases involving state-specific human rights laws to the codes impacting project finance, development, and land use. 

Our Constitutional Law Practice Group works closely with our Appellate and Municipal and Governmental Liability teams, providing municipal and private entities alike with representation and proactive advice fueled by deep experience with constitutional issues at the federal, state, and local levels. 

Our team includes one of the foremost authorities on the New York State Constitution and state constitutional law generally, who is a co-author of The New York State Constitution, a comprehensive commentary published by Oxford University Press, and a frequent speaker and writer about the relationship between the state and federal constitutions.