Cliff Zucker has been the Executive Director of Disability Advocates, Inc. (DAI) since it was established in 1989. Under his leadership, DAI has been in the forefront of legal battles to establish and enforce the rights of persons with disabilities. He has played a key role in the litigation of several landmark disability rights cases. Most recently, DAI v. Paterson established the right under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 4,300 adult home residents to live in supported housing in the community rather than in segregated adult home institutions. The ruling paves the way for thousands of individuals with mental illness to be transferred to living environments that are healthier and more integrated settings. Joseph S. v. Hogan, an ongoing case originally filed in 2006, seeks to enable over a thousand persons with mental illness who are unnecessarily warehoused in nursing homes to move to integrated community housing and services. DAI has also worked to end the practice of medical experimentation on patients with disabilities without appropriate consent. T.D. v. New York State Office of Mental Health invalidated the regulations of the New York State Office of Mental Health which had authorized risky, non-therapeutic medical experiments on adults and children who lacked the capacity to give informed consent. In 2006, Matter of St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center, Marie H., City of New York, State of New York established the right to counsel at public expense for indigent subjects of guardianship proceedings. The case was particularly noteworthy in that it was the first high court decision recognizing a constitutional right to counsel in guardianship proceedings seeking placement in an institution or to make major medical decisions without consent.
Mr. Zucker has also been an outspoken advocate for the rights of people with disabilities both nationally and internationally. He has called for greater protection for human subjects of medical research in testimony before a subcommittee of the House of Representatives, before the United Nations Committee on Human Rights, and before the President’s Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments. Under the auspices of Mental Disability Rights International, he participated in a human rights mission to Hungary regarding the rights of persons with mental illness, where he consulted with advocacy groups and ombudsmen to assist in developing reform strategies to eliminate human rights abuses in psychiatric facilities.
Mr. Zucker received a B.A. from Evergreen State College and a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.
Timothy A. Clune
Timothy A. Clune returned to Disability Advocates in July 2009 as Deputy Director.
In May 2007, after 17 years with Disability Advocates, Tim was appointed Health Care Bureau Chief by New York State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo. At the Health Care Bureau, Tim supervised the successful resolutions of numerous investigations into alleged deceptive business practices by major insurance companies, including, a $28 million settlement with one of the largest pharmacy benefit managers in the country.
Tim originally joined Disability Advocates in 1990 and soon thereafter became its Managing Attorney. Over the years, he successfully litigated several novel cases establishing and expanding the rights of individuals with disabilities throughout the state and nation. These cases included: the first successful PAIMI standing case which provided the foundation for the current state of the law; a Title VI claim ensuring that non-English speaking patients in NYS Psychiatric Centers received linguistically appropriate services; a case establishing that people diagnosed with mental illness can be a protected class for purposes of a 42 U.S.C. §1985(3) claim; a RICO claim to remedy systemic abuse and neglect in an adult home; an ADA claim establishing that Title III reaches insurance underwriting practices; and, a settlement of over $10 million on behalf of 17 adult home residents with mental illness who were subjected to unnecessary prostate surgery.
Prior to joining Disability Advocates, Tim worked as a public defender from 1986 to 1990 at the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County. Tim received his J.D. from Albany Law School in 1986, and his B.A., cum laude, in English, from St. John’s University in 1983.
Senior Staff Attorney
Simeon Goldman is a Senior Staff Attorney at Disability Advocates, where he has worked to enforce employment, housing, community integration and other civil rights of people with disabilities since 1991. He has successfully litigated employment and housing discrimination claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Housing Act, and NYS Human Rights Law and has lectured extensively on the rights of persons with disabilities for the NYS Bar Association, the NYC Bar Association, Albany Law School, Cornell University, the National Lawyer’s Guild, and numerous other organizations. He authored the chapter on housing discrimination in the NYS Bar Association’s Representing People with Disabilities, 3rd Edition. Prior to joining Disability Advocates, Simeon was Director of Advocacy at the Capital District Center for Independence. Simeon received his J.D. in 1986 from SUNY Buffalo Law School and his B.A., magna cum laude, in Sociology from the University at Albany in 1982.
Senior Staff Attorney
Nina Loewenstein is a Staff Attorney at Disability Advocates, where she has worked since 2001. She is the primary attorney at Disability Advocates on Disability Advocates Inc. v. NYS Office of Mental Health et al., a lawsuit challenging the adequacy of mental health treatment in New York state prisons. Nina is a graduate of New York University School of Law and holds a Master’s of Public Health from Boston University. Upon graduation from law school, Nina clerked for Alan J. Handler, Associate Justice for the New Jersey Supreme Court. Prior to joining Disability Advocates, she practiced employment and housing law in New York City and provided civil legal services for clients with HIV/AIDS as a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Rockland County.
Amy E. Lowenstein
Amy Lowenstein joined Disability Advocates as a staff attorney in 2007. Prior to joining Disability Advocates she worked as an attorney at the New York Legal Assistance Group. Amy received her J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2004, where she was a James Kent Scholar and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and received her B.A. in history from Wesleyan University in 1994. Upon graduation from law school, Amy clerked for United States Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann of the Eastern District of New York.
Jennifer Monthie is a staff attorney at Disability Advocates, where she has worked since 2003. Jennifer practices in the areas of education, community integration, and civil rights of individuals with developmental disabilities. She is a founding member of the Special Education Taskforce which educates parents and advocates on Special Education. She also serves on the planning board for the Special Education Advocacy Conference at Albany Law School and is a frequent lecturer on issues affecting children with disabilities. Jennifer received a J.D., cum laude, from Albany Law School in 2003 and a B.A. in English and Political Science, summa cum laude, from the State University of New York College at Fredonia.