Askins v. New York City Transit Authority
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Judge Paul Gardephe
Wheelchair user Askins alleged New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act because its buses refused to pick him up 20 times between 2008 and 2011. Driver Pappas was involved in more than one of four incidents involving buses from a depot supervised by Cavalieri. Askins' complaint set out times and locations for 14 incidents, and included notarized witness statements describing seven incidents. The court held Askins pleaded a prima facie case of disability bias. In presenting dates, times and locations, and corroborating statements, his complaint went beyond conclusory accusations. Based on Askins' allegations, it could be inferred that NYCTA did not properly train its employees. However, Askins could not seek damages against Pappas and Cavalieri under Title II, which bars discrimination by public entities, not individuals. Under Ex parte Young and Harris v. Mills he could only seek injunctive relief against Pappas and Cavalieri in their official capacities. Further, although Askins could seek compensatory damages against the NYCTAhis complaint met the discriminatory animus/ill will and deliberate indifference standardshe could not recover punitive damages against any defendant.