Matthew Parham

Matthew Parham

Western New York Law Center, Inc.
  • Civil Rights, Consumer Law
  • New York
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Practice Areas
    Civil Rights
    Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Discrimination, Employment, Fair Housing, Police Misconduct, Privacy Law
    Consumer Law
    Class Action, Lemon Law
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
New York
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Professional Experience
Western New York Law Center, Inc.
- Current
A Buffalo, New York non-profit legal services corporation that helps consumers with foreclosure, debt, and other matters.
Law Offices of Matthew A. Parham
A Buffalo, New York law firm focusing on defense of debt collection lawsuits, civil rights and police misconduct litigation, and consumer lawsuits against abusive debt collectors.
Litigation Associate
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
New York University School of Law
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Columbia University
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Johns Hopkins University
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Pro Bono Publico
Legal Aid Society
Recognized for exceptional assistance on a noteworthy immigration case in which the U.S. District Court for the Southern District granted citizenship to a former Vietnam War veteran who had resided in the United States for more than 50 years. The published decision has received widespread attention due to its in-depth discussion of the “good moral character” requirement for US citizenship and will provide support for countless naturalization applicants in the future.
Pro Bono Publico
Legal Aid Society
Recognized for providing outstanding pro bono service to long-term permanent residents, who were Vietnam War veterans, seeking U.S. citizenship
Professional Associations
SUNY-Buffalo School of Law
Adjunct Professor
- Current
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Legal Answers
16 Questions Answered
Q. Is there a law that protects consumers against retailers charging full price for sale priced items at the register?
A: That's a so-called "bait and switch." It violates the New York False Advertising laws, General Business Law 350 and 350-a. It also may violate the Unlawful Selling Practices law, General Business Law 396, if it was intentional, though only the Attorney General can sue under that law. New York City also has a Truth in Pricing Law, NYC Admin. Code, Ch. 5, Subch. 2, though I don't know if you can sue under it or if it can only be enforced by the City Department of Consumer Affairs. Other municipalities may have similar ordinances.
Q. A building contractor has taken money to build but refused to complete the work. Can I file consumer fraud charges?
A: If this was for work on your home, then possibly. If the contractor promised to do work, took money, and then disappeared, there may be a strong case for consumer deception under General Business Law section 349, which prohibits deceptive acts or practices in any business; or for common law fraud. An attorney may be willing to take a case under section 349, because it allows for the recovery of attorney's fees from the contractor.

Also, if you were given anything in writing, New York has a consumer protection law specifically addressing written home improvement contracts. It is General Business Law 772 and it says:

§ 772. Penalty for fraud. 1. Any owner who is induced to contract for a home improvement, in reliance on false or fraudulent written representations or false written statements, may sue and recover from such contractor a penalty of five hundred dollars plus reasonable attorney's fees, in addition to any damages sustained by the owner by reason of such statements or representations. In addition, if the court finds that the suit by the owner was without arguable legal merit, it may award reasonable attorney's fees to the contractor.

Either General Business Law 349 or 772 may be enforced by the New York attorney general and by a private citizen in a lawsuit. If by charges you have in mind a criminal complaint, in my experience police departments are unlikely to process this as a criminal matter but you could certainly try.
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Q. What is the best source for identifying cases involving fraud in the art market?
A: I'm not sure I understand the question. Generally for legal research to identify cases on some topic, Westlaw and Lexis are the most comprehensive and commonly used databases of case law among attorneys, but they are pay services to which you may not have access. Google Scholar has a large collection of case law and a good natural search function. There are other case law databases, such as FastCase, FindLaw, and LoisLaw.
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Contact & Map
Western New York Law Center, Inc.
Main Seneca Building
237 Main Street, Suite 1130
Buffalo, NY 14203
Telephone: (716) 855-0203
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