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TexLaw, Attorney
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Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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Would the SOL run on ADA complaint under these conditions?

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Would the Statute of Limitations keep running if person didn't amend his complaint, to reflect violations of the ADA, if the case with the complaint was tied up in the appellate court? A municipality called the police on my friend because of his schizophrenia, withheld his wages and simultaneously took my friend's house for unpaid taxes and didn't tell the court of his disability. They then terminated his job in retaliation of his filing a complaint and finally wrote a threatening letter directly to him, bypassing his attorneys.  My friend worked for the Town at the Recycling Center for 15 years or so. From 2004 through 2009, they did not pay him. He has schizophrenia and needed accommodations to file his time sheets. By 2009, they owed him 30,000. The Town, while simultaneously holding his wages, sought to foreclose on his house for non-payment of property taxes of 10,000. The town knew he had schizophrenia because he had a police incident in September 2005, where he went in to pay his taxes and yelled upstairs Help! because he was a wreck and needed assistance with some septic issue. By May of 2009, the Town was seeking to evict him because they won a judgment of foreclosure. The judge did not think having schizophrenia or having his wages withheld was an offset or reason not to pay his taxes. Then, in June, 2009, the Town released the 30,000 they owed him. He hired an attorney who "bought another index number" and filed a complaint alleging the town purposely sought to take his property knowing he had schizophrenia, and failing to disclose this fact to the court. In September 2009, the same judge observed my friend on the witness stand, and awarded the house to him.  He found him to be incompetent at the time of the foreclosure and appointed a guardian ad litem The Town appealed to the 2nd district Appeals Court in Brooklyn. Shortly, after maybe in December of 2009, the town "eliminated" his job at the recycling center. Basically, this termination was in retaliation for bringing the complaint because they hired someone 6 months later without offering the job to him. He didn't know what was going on as far as the Americans with Disabilities Act goes and could not get to the Complaint because it was on appeals. In November, 2011, the Appeals Court found that the Supreme Court should have vacated the Judgment of Foreclosure in the Foreclosure Action not in the big 25,000,000 Complaint. The attorneys representing him were also embroiled in sanctions the judge had imposed on them for 45,000 and were appealing that. In November 2011, the sanctions were reduced to 7,500. This set of attorneys lost interest in the case and passed it on to legal aid attorneys. The legal aid attorney did not file an appearance in the Foreclosure case and though he talked about trying to file a motion to renew, based on trying to follow the instructions of the appellate court, the legal aid bosses would not allow him to. The Set of Attorneys that filed the big complaint, left their appearances in the Foreclosure case. Now, in May of 2012, the opposing attorney in the foreclosure case sent a letter addressed to my friend, bypassing the attorneys of record, knowing that he had a disability and was judged incompetent by the judge. This not only is a violation of the professional rules of conduct, 4(a)and (b), but it was really really bad for my friend. On May 15, 2012, he went to the legal aid attorney and could not contain himself at the office. I won't get into the details unless you want me to. The letter has sabotaged his mental health and made him ineffective with communicating with counsel.

The Statute of Limitations in New York for an ADA claim is 300 days from the last discriminatory act. Pursuant to the Ledbetter amendment, the last date of the discriminatory act was the last date that your friend was given a paycheck. I'm not certain exactly where you think the ADA is applicable in this case, but from my reading of your fact pattern, the ADA would only be applicable to the withholding of pay by the Town (which you say they remedied when they released what they owed to him). You could also try to argue that when he was fired, this was a violation of the ADA. However, this was in December 2009, which means the statute of limitations has run.
Unfortunately, the botXXXXX XXXXXne is that your friend had 300 days to file a claim under the ADA after he was terminated. Thus, there is no live ADA claim that I can see. Sorry! Please let me know if I can answer anything further on this issue.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
He filed a labor law complaint in June 2009. In September 2009, he won his house back but the Town appealed. So, the file went to Brooklyn. In the meantime, in December 2009, he was terminated, while the file was in Brooklyn. He did not know about the hiring of someone else until June 2010, while the case was still on appeal. The case did not come out of appeal until November 2011. He couldn't fold the ADA claim into the case until it came out of appeals could he? Also, he is not legally competent. So, he doesn't know whether to tell his lawyers that he was fired. My specific question is whether his legal incompetence or the way his case was on appeal stays the statute of limitations.
Thank you for clarifying. After some research, I've found a doctrine which might apply to your friend's case. The doctrine is called "equitable tolling" which can be used to argue that a federal statute of limitations should not begin to run when it would not be equitable (i.e., fair and reasonable) for the statute to being running. In other words, your friend would have to argue that because of mental incompetency, he was not able to file an ADA claim in the amount of time required.

However, he still needs to follow the general procedures for filing an ADA employment claim. That is, he needs to file a complaint with the EEOC, express the equitable tolling argument to them, and then obtain a right to sue letter.

Since the court in the foreclosure procedure found your friend to be mentally incompetent as a matter of law, I'd say that he has a very strong argument for equitable tolling. The case law supports this argument.

Please let me know if you need further assistance.

Thanks and good luck to you and your friend,

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