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NAACP honoring attorney in Monteiro case against Cambridge

Posted by Brock Parker  February 9, 2012 05:20 PM

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A lead attorney in a successful lawsuit against the City of Cambridge is being recognized this weekend by the NAACP with an award for advancing civil rights in the pursuit of social justice.

Ellen Zucker, a Brookline resident and partner at Burns & Levinson LLP, will be honored at the Cambridge NAACP’s Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast Saturday, Feb. 11 at 9 a.m. in the Marriott Hotel in Cambridge.

She will receive the NAACP’s Drum Major Award for Justice at the event, which honors individuals whose life and work exemplify the mission of the NAACP and the vision of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., according to a press release from Burns & Levinson LLP.

Zucker recently served as the lead trial appellate counsel in the successful suit by former Cambridge employee Malvina Monteiro against the city of Cambridge. Monteiro alleged that City Manager Robert Healy and other officials engaged in a systematic campaign to punish her after she filed a 1998 complaint against them with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

In August, the Massachusetts Court of Appeals affirmed earlier court decisions upholding a 2008 jury verdict awarding Monteiro more than $4.5 million. The city also had to pay post judgment interest, attorneys’ fees, and court costs, and the case ultimately cost the city more than $8 million. The city has also settled the claims of two other former employees, who were also represented by Zucker, who had filed claims of discrimination and retaliation against the city.

“The NAACP honors Ellen Zucker, whose life’s work is dedicated to the maintenance and protection of civil rights for all people,” said Kathy Reddick, president of the Cambridge NAACP, in the press release . “We celebrate the achievements of Ellen and thank her for her unyielding commitment to making a difference in lives of the people of Cambridge.”

Zucker said in the press release that it is tremendously gratifying to be honored by the NAACP, which she called a preeminent civil rights organization.

“I am humbled by the honor, but I must confess something: lawyers are the fortunate ones when we get the chance to represent an individual whose integrity we trust and whose cause is just,” she said.

--brock.globe@gmail.com

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