PTSD ADA Disability Discrimination Claim Dismissed

In Davis v. NYC Dept. of Corrections, 2017 WL 5634123 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 22, 2017), the court dismissed plaintiff’s employment discrimination claims under, inter alia, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Plaintiff, a corrections officer, alleged that he was subject to discrimination based on his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The court provides the following summary of the law, as well as what an ADA plaintiff must allege at the pleading stage in order to unlock the discovery door:

To establish a prima facie case of discrimination under the ADA, a plaintiff must show that “(1) the employer is subject to the ADA; (2) the plaintiff is disabled within the meaning of the ADA or perceived to be so by her employer; (3) she was otherwise qualified to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation; (4) she suffered an adverse employment action; and (5) the adverse action was imposed because of her disability.” Davis v. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Educ., 804 F.3d 231, 235 (2d. Cir. 2015); see also Dooley v. Jet Blue Airways Corp., 636 F. App’x 16, 21 (2d Cir. 2015) (quoting Davis, 804 F.3d at 235) (outlining the requirements of a prima facie case under the ADA). The ADA defines “disability” as “(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; (B) a record of such impairment; or (C) being regarded as having such an impairment.” 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1). Major life activities include standing, lifting, bending, speaking, and working. Id. § 12102(2)(A); see also Dooley, 636 F. App’x at 21; Parada v. Banco Industrial De Venezuela, C.A., 753 F.3d 62, 66 (2d Cir. 2014). Although a plaintiff need not specifically plead each and every element of a prima facie case of discrimination to survive a motion to dismiss, the standard provides a framework for analyzing whether the plaintiff’s claims for relief are plausible. See Vega, 801 F.3d at 84–87. At the pleading stage, to state a claim of employment discrimination under the ADA, a plaintiff must plausibly allege that (1) her employer took an adverse action against her, and (2) the disability or perceived disability was a “motivating factor” in the decision. (Paragraphing altered.)

Applying the law, the court held that plaintiff fails to state a claim under the ADA, since his complaint “alleges no facts indicating that [Plaintiff’s] PTSD … impaired any life activities” or “any allegation that Plaintiff was terminated because of his alleged disability or perceived disability.”

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