The accomplishments and achievements attained by Mr. Harold Cassidy, in the field of Legal Services, warrants inclusion into the Top 100 Attorneys of North America. Harold Cassidy has engaged in a broad variety of litigation, both trial and appellate, in his 42 years in the private practice of law. The New Jersey Supreme Court designated him a Certified Civil Trial Attorney and he is a past member of the Board of Governors of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, New Jersey. He was selected by the New Jersey Governor to serve as a member of the New Jersey Bioethics Commission, and was a Delegate to the American Bar Association convention on Life, Death and the Law. For his achievements in the law he was selected Person of the Week by the ABC World News with Peter Jennings.
A prominent publishing house published a book on the one hundred most important legal cases of the twentieth century, and two of Mr. Cassidy’s cases were listed and discussed. No attorney had more. He also worked on post-judgment proceedings on a third case listed.
Mr. Cassidy has litigated numerous cases of public importance in a variety of areas of practice.
In the area of criminal law, he litigated the New Jersey Supreme Court’s leading case establishing the right of one accused of a crime to have independent legal counsel. He litigated the first case in the nation in which an Appellate Court established the right of a defendant to require the state to hold a line-up which would include specifically identified non-defendants. Mr. Cassidy was also a member of the legal team which won Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a well-known professional boxer wrongfully convicted of triple murder, his freedom in court proceedings which lasted nineteen years.
In the area of medical legal and tort law, Mr. Cassidy handled more than a thousand cases. Mr. Cassidy obtained the first jury verdict, in New Jersey, in which a jury returned a verdict against a doctor and nurses for the suicide death of their psychiatric patient. He was counsel in the New Jersey case that created a new rule of law tolling the statute of limitations in cases where a minor was sexually assaulted and the resultant psychological injury prevented the victim from timely asserting her rights. He obtained significant recoveries in novel cases, such as the Hudson County Jail Fire Case, the Breach of Security Case at Rutgers University, and products claims against General Motors.
In the area of commercial litigation, Mr. Cassidy successfully defended, on behalf of the Federal Government’s banking regulatory agency, the FDIC, the first post-bank closing due process hearing in the history of New Jersey. He also was counsel in the case in which the New Jersey Supreme Court struck down state fees imposed upon Federal agencies as violative of Federal Law and the Supremacy Clause.
Perhaps, most significantly, Harold Cassidy is considered the leading and most accomplished attorney in the nation as a defender of the rights of pregnant mothers. He secured the return of children to their mothers where the mothers’ surrender of their rights were uninformed or involuntary. He was Chief Counsel in the famous Baby M case, the first case in the United States to strike down surrogate parenting contracts as illegal, unenforceable, against public policy and exploitive of women. In 2009, he successfully litigated the first contested “gestational” surrogacy case in New Jersey, where the mother who carried the child was not genetically related to the child, obtaining a decision that the woman who carried the child was the legal mother, that the contract was unenforceable, violative of public policy, exploitive of women, and her consent for adoption, resulting from compulsion of the contract, was void. He currently is litigating the constitutionality of surrogacy enabling statutes as violative of the constitutional rights of the children and the surrogate mothers. He has successfully sued a surrogacy broker who violated the rights of the surrogate mother.
Mr. Cassidy has devoted part of his practice to protecting the rights of pregnant mothers where abortion providers have violated their rights and subjected them to procedures without obtaining informed and voluntary consent. Mr. Cassidy established important precedent which held that a first trimester abortion involved the death of a family member, and also successfully sued an abortion doctor who performed an abortion which was coerced.
Harold Cassidy is now widely consulted by various state legislatures for his legal expertise in the area of mothers’ rights and abortion law, and he has assisted in drafting and defending such legislation.
Mr. Cassidy obtained a ruling, from an en banc Court of the United States Court of Appeals, that it is constitutional for a state to require an abortion doctor to disclose that an “abortion terminates the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” He obtained a separate opinion from a second en banc panel of the US Court of Appeals that upheld the statutory requirement that an abortion doctor disclose to a pregnant mother that an abortion will place her at increased risk for suicide ideation and suicide.
In a 2010 Columbia Law Review article written by Harvard Law School Professor, Jeannie Suk, “The Trajectory of Trauma: Bodies and Minds of Abortion Discourse,” Professor Suk states: “It is no coincidence that the lawyer considered most influential in carrying the abortion trauma argument into courts and legislatures is Harold Cassidy, who was also the lawyer for the regretful surrogate mother in the famous Baby M. Case. There, at his urging, and with the support of some feminists concerned with protecting women from exploitation, the Supreme Court of New Jersey invalidated a surrogacy contract, noting such contracts’ potential to degrade women, particularly because a woman “never makes a totally voluntary, informed decision” to enter into a contract to sell her baby before giving birth. Several decades later, commentators attribute to Cassidy’s influence South Dakota’s 2005 law requiring physicians to provide information to abortion patients about medical risks including depression, psychological distress and suicide. Concerns about psychological harm, coercion in women’s reproductive choices, and women’s right to be informed seem to run directly from his work on surrogacy and adoption to his work on abortion. The consistent thread is the idea of protecting women when they make choices that are in fact not fully voluntary, and then regret their decisions and suffer trauma.” 110 Columbia L. Rev. 1143, 1248, 1249.
In January 2011, the national magazine, Mother Jones,wrote:“And while these ideas have become part of the vanguard of pro-life thinking – protect the woman, not just the unborn – few have heard of the man who helped bring them to prominence … Cassidy … sees the mother-child relationship as ‘almost sacred’ … These beliefs have put him at the forefront of the pro-life movement’s biggest rebranding in recent memory, an effort that has gained traction among pro-life state legislatures.” (Emphasis added).
In one of his recent books, “Challenging Nature,” Lee M. Silver, an accomplished Molecular Biologist who was among the first scientists to discover some of the genes that regulate gene expression, who was an expert on the opposition side of two of Cassidy’s cases, wrote: “The problem with (Cassidy’s) strategy is that it’s brilliant and effective. … Cassidy, George, and other Catholic and Evangelical intellectuals pull the rug out from under secular opponents.” Pages 117-118.
Mr. Cassidy has lectured widely on the rights of women including addresses at the Harvard Law Forum, Yale Law School and Princeton University. He has appeared on National and International television, including appearances on Nightline, The David Brinkley Show, and The David Frost Show in London.
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