Failure to Specify Disability Results in Dismissal of ADA Discrimination Complaint

In Ibela v. Allied Universal, 20-cv-3800, 2021 WL 3077482 (S.D.N.Y. July 20, 2021), the court held that plaintiff’s failure to specify his “disability” was a fatal pleading defect, resulting in the dismissal of his complaint alleging disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

From the decision:

In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff never specified what disability he allegedly has. See generally Am. Compl. Rather, he broadly asserted that he has a “mental disorder”/disability of which he informed his employer. Id. This is plainly insufficient. See, e.g., Williams, 2020 WL 906386, at *4 (“[C]onclusory allegations of a disability are insufficient even at the pleading stage.”). In his Opposition, Plaintiff specified that he suffers from bipolar disorder. Pl. Opp. at 1. However, this does not change the Court’s conclusion that Plaintiff has failed to plausibly allege a disability within the meaning of the ADA. The ADA’s definition of disability requires “an individual [to] have an impairment that prevents or severely restricts the individual from doing activities that are of central importance to most people’s daily lives.” Sussle v. Sirina Protection Sys. Corp., 269 F. Supp. 2d 285, 301 (S.D.N.Y. 2003). Plaintiff has not explained how bipolar disorder has “substantially limit[ed] one or more major [of his] life activities.” 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1). This alone warrants dismissal of Plaintiff’s ADA claims. See Graham v. Macy’s Inc., No. 14-cv-3192, 2015 WL 1413643, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 23, 2015) (holding that allegations regarding a plaintiff’s bipolar disorder are insufficient because “the Complaint does not explain how that impairment ‘substantially limits one or more’ of [the plaintiff’s] ‘major life activities.’ ”); Williams, 2020 WL 906386, at *4 (concluding that without “threshold showing” that plaintiff suffered from a disability as defined by the ADA, the Court could not “properly analyze [plaintiff’s] allegations as to any of the ADA claims – discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment, or failure to accommodate”).

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