Amy Jane Agnew, Esq.
J.D., Rutgers Law School - Newark
Nancy Stiles Scholar in Environmental Law
Graduate Fellow in Constitutional Litigation
Graduate Fellow in Legal History
B.A., Johns Hopkins University
Robert J. Brauer Scholar
Dean’s List Distinction
Thesis of Distinction
Graduated with Honors
New York State
New Jersey State
United States District Court,
Southern District of New York; Eastern District of New York:
Western District of New York;
Northern District of New York:
District of New Jersey
Second Circuit, Court of Appeals
Third Circuit, Court of Appeals
American Bar Association
New York State Bar Association
New York City Bar Association
Member, New York State Bar Committee on Appellate Practice
Member, New York State Bar Committee on Federal Procedure
Volunteer Lawyer, ACLU-NJ
Pro Bono Counsel, Volunteer Lawyers for Justice
Amy Jane "A.J." Agnew
Amy Jane Agnew devotes her practice to clarifying the legal process for clients. After years working for and with clients on a number of diverse matters, she understands that the biggest obstacle to client comfort is fear of the unknown. Ms. Agnew directly educates and engages clients on their legal issues. She understands that litigation is often an expensive and protracted solution to a resolvable problem. She tirelessly works to avoid the emotional and financial cost of unnecessary litigation, while educating her clients on the legal realities that dictate possible solutions. Ms. Agnew also recognizes that a client's short and long-term objectives are sometimes at odds and that a client must understand these considerations in order to make the most beneficial decisions. Educated decisions breed the best outcomes.
Ms. Agnew maintains a small, personable practice in which she oversees every phase of clients' legal matters. The practice focuses on constitutional, civil, and disability rights matters as well as matters within education law. With a network of specialized professionals, she can bring in outside expertise when needed -- forensic accountants, experts and specialized counsel -- but she seeks to keep clients' costs low and expectations met. Her practice is small, intimate and effective. She understands that your lawyer is a trusted member of your inner circle, not a vendor whose attention you buy.
Ms. Agnew continues to educate herself on the law as it develops and as it relates to her clients. For five years, Ms. Agnew served as the Graduate Fellow in Constitutional Law and Legal History at Rutgers School of Law - Newark, where she guided law students through complex constitutional litigation. She continues as a Rutgers Fellow in Legal History in which role she conducts legal history research and academic writing, as she believes the law is both a science and a social art that must be studied as it has been and as it is developing. These academic pursuits enrich Ms. Agnew's law practice and ensure her clients have not only a highly skilled practitioner, but an ever-learning scholar and thinker on their side.
Recent Litigation of Note:
James v. McCullough, et al., 17-cv-0843 (NDNY)
Ms. Agnew represents a group of Muslim plaintiffs whose Mosque Room was desecrated by employees of the New York State Department of Corrections directly after the Charlie Hedbo attacks in Paris, France. Plaintiffs state claims under the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection and pursuant to the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, 18 U.S.C. 248 (which protects access to places of worship as well).
Knight, et al. v. DOCCS, et al., 18-cv-7172 (SDNY)
Ms. Agnew is counsel for a class of disabled prisoners within the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, who must undertake intermittent self-catheterization to empty their bladders. DOCCS refuses to provide the plaintiffs with clean, sterile catheters and forces patients to rewash single-use catheters, causing the plaintiff class unnecessary UTIs, painful infections and hospitalizations. Counsel just successfully defended a motion to dismiss.
Medina v. Buther, 15-cv-1955 (SDNY)
Ms. Agnew represents a blind (now former) prisoner in a federal action against the New York State Department of Corrections and its employees. The complaint alleged three distinct Constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as violations of the ADA and Rehabilitation Acts. The Southern District of New York granted mandatory injunctions against DOCCS, ordering them to treat Ms. Agnew’s client with effective medication and grant other ADA accommodations. A contempt proceeding was held in September of 2018, resulting in a 92 page opinion finding Defendants in contempt of court. See, Medina v. Buther, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23529 (S.D.N.Y. 2019)
Stewart v. City of New York, 15-cv-7652 (SDNY)
Ms. Agnew successfully settled allegations against the City of New York for constitutional and ADA violations of the rights of a wheelchair-bound paraplegic. Before settlement, Ms. Agnew won a motion to enforce settlement in which the City tried to impose a general release that would have negated the victim's claims for other constitutional and ADA violations. See, Stewart v. City of New York, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174155 (S.D.N.Y. 2017)
Sattinger and Birnbaum vs. Stonebridge Community Ass'n, MID-C-64-19 (N.J. Superior Court)
Ms. Agnew won a temporary restraining order and thereafter negotiated a consent order against a Home Owners Association that attempted to pass a "Campaign Resolution" which violated the free speech rights of residents. The Campaign Resolution attempted to forbid political t-shirts, bumper stickers, buttons and lawn signs in violation of home owners free speech rights guaranteed by the New Jersey Constitution.
Yuzuk v. Cedar Village Home Owners Association at East Brunswick (N.J. Superior Court)
Ms. Agnew won summary judgment on two claims that a Home Owners Association committed ultra vires acts when it passed Resolutions purporting to assert control over elements of homeowners' units. Ms. Agnew also successfully settled claims that the Home Owners Association Board passed an anti-leafletting resolution that contravened the New Jersey Supreme Court's holding in Dublirer v. 2000 Linwood Avenue Owners, Inc. et al. and engaged in free speech retaliation against a homeowner who challenged the Board's actions in leaflets and by filing suit.
Zander v. B4 Adventures, et al., MRS-L-000251-19 (N.J. Superior Court)
Ms. Agnew won complete summary judgment on nine counts for her retail toy store client who was dragged into a products liability case alleging that a failed back yard zip line caused injury to a user. Ms. Agnew prevailed under NJ's fictious party rule and the New Jersey Products Liability Act.
RUSA v. Middlesex County Board of Elections
For the Rutgers Constitutional Rights Clinic, Ms. Agnew wrote several dispositive and appellate briefs on behalf of Plaintiffs requesting declaratory judgment that New Jersey’s advance voter registration deadline is unconstitutional in light of technological advances in New Jersey’s election law regime. Plaintiffs won a great appellate victory in 2014, forcing the trial court to redraft its summary judgment opinion.
Matter of X.X.
Ms. Agnew negotiated accommodations for a young, female high school student who suffers from severe anxiety against her private high school. The student was placed with an appropriate advisor and removed from a teacher and classroom that exacerbated the symptoms of her disability.
Matter of X.X.
Ms. Agnew recently represented a first grade student in an emergent relief petition, whose district sought to remove him to a therapeutic school without first accommodating him in accordance with the ADA and IDEA. The petition was won and the student recently successfully completed his third grade year in public school with his mandated accommodations.
Matter of X.X.
Ms. Agnew represented a young, female high school student who suffered from anxiety and other psychological disorders and attempted suicide. The student’s private school attempted to expel her under a blanket removal policy. Ms. Agnew successfully settled the case before federal litigation. The student was readmitted with full school privileges and the school agreed to draft policies and procedures for proper accommodations for disabled students and proper removal procedures when a student attempts suicide. Removal procedures must not violate a students’ civil rights and an individualized inquiry must take place before a student is removed from their school. The school paid all the student’s attorney fees as part of the settlement.
Matter of X.X.
Ms. Agnew filed a Notice of Tort Claim against a school district who continued to employ a sports coach who had engaged in the harassment and belittlement of female students on two sports teams. Despite multiple incidents over several years the coach maintained his position. The case successfully resolved when the coach resigned in the face of litigation.
Ms. Agnew recently settled a suit alleging breach of contract and wrongful termination between her client, a luxury hotel, and an aggrieved vendor who was terminated for cause. Ms. Agnew settled the case after a successful, early Summary Judgment motion that dismissed three claims, thus avoiding expensive discovery and litigation expenses.
Ms. Agnew successfully negotiated a settlement between her high-end luxury hotel client and an electronics vendor who installed unacceptable audio-visual equipment in over 100 hotel rooms.