Stamm v. New York City Transit Authority

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Civil Rights

New York Law Journal

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Judge Sandra Townes

Stamm alleged New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) and Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Rehabilitation Act, by failing to ensure vehicle accessibility to disabled persons using service animals. Despite dismissing her claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, the court denied defendants judgment on their claim that Stamm did not make a Title II claim because she was not disabled, was not entitled to use a "service animal" and sought to bring dogs that were not "service animals" onto their vehicles. Applying Gebser v. Lago Vista Indep. Sch. Dist. the court ruled a jury could find Stamm's evidence showed deliberate indifference by defendants. Despite suspending their policy requiring identification for service animals in 1999, a jury could find that at least one NYCTA official with authority to address and correct alleged bias did not respond to known ongoing discrimination against Stamm. Finding Tsombanidis v. City of West Haven not inconsistent with Barnes v. Gorman, and persuaded by the Eleventh Circuit's analysis in Sheely v. MRI Radiology Network, the court held that damages for emotional distress were available under Title II.

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