Civil Rights

When someone’s rights have been violated, civil rights litigation provides an opportunity to address the matter. Carmen represents clients in civil litigation with an emphasis on economic, property, environmental and First Amendment rights. He protects persons of any color or background whose civil rights have been violated, and with equal vigor, he defends those who believe they have been falsely accused.

The firm has extensive experience in claims arising under 42 U.S.C. §1981, which prohibits racial discrimination in contracting, and 42 U.S.C. §1983, for the protection of liberty and property interests, including the right of free speech on behalf of public employees.

In 2016, Carmen served as co-chair of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation’s Civil Rights Litigation Committee. He has been a leader in seeking to protect the rights of minority franchisees using the federal civil rights law (42 U.S.C. Section 1981) to challenge discriminatory treatment in existing franchise relationships or denial of a franchising opportunity.

His civil rights experience includes:

  • Successful representation of a construction management firm accused of terminating a subcontractor based on race.
  • Defending owners of a suburban apartment complex against allegations of discrimination from a minority tenant whom police were surveilling because of her relationship with a Chicago Street Gang member. The case settled quickly after Carmen deposed the plaintiff.
  • Representing a Hispanic bakery in its successful attempt to open shop in a segregated suburb. The suburb had denied the bakery a business permit based on off-street parking requirements.