District Judge Arthur D. Spatt

 

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A volunteer firefighter with the nonprofit Greenlawn Vol. Fire Dep’t (GVFD) for 50 years, Baross—now deceased—became an inactive member in 2008 when diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. After a purported Aug. 31, 2013 “sting” operation GVFD members accused him of being a thief, and banned him from future GVFD events. Following a late September 2013 meeting—at which GVFD leadership did not inform the membership that Baross had Alzheimer’s disease—the GVFD’s membership voted to ban Baross. An Aug. 26, 2016 action by the executor of Baross’s estate alleged the GVFD and its codefendants discriminated against Baross in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and violated his rights contrary to 42 USC §1983. The court dismissed only the ADA claims against the individual defendants. It found the GVFD a state actor and public entity subject to both the ADA and §1983, found the estate’s §1983 claims not time barred, and concluded that plaintiff executor alleged sufficient facts to plead a cause of action for §1983 punitive damages against the GVFD. The executor’s complaint was filed less than three years after any of the events on which her discrimination charges were based.