M.D. Fla. Notes Split Re Whether a Plaintiff Alleging Retaliation under ADA Has Right To Seek Compensatory and Punitive Damages and to Jury Trial
Per Rumler v. Department of Corrections, Florida, Slip Copy, 2008 WL 215699 (M.D. Fla. Jan. 24, 2008):
[T]he Court must determine whether a plaintiff alleging retaliation under the ADA, arising from the plaintiff's employment, has the right to seek compensatory and punitive damages, and to request a trial by jury as to these issues.
The Court acknowledges that circuit and district courts are split on this issue. On one hand, the Seventh Circuit held, in a case of first impression among the federal appellate courts, that the ADA authorizes only equitable relief for retaliation claims. See Kramer, 355 F.3d at 965. Thereafter, the Fourth Circuit, citing Kramer, held in two unpublished per curiam opinions that compensatory and punitive damages were unavailable to ADA retaliation claimants. Bowles v. Carolina Cargo, Inc., 100 Fed. Appx. 889, 889 (4th Cir.2004) (per curiam); Rhoads v. FDIC, 94 Fed. Appx. 187, 188 (4th Cir.2004) (per curiam). On the other hand, the Second, Eighth and Tenth Circuits have affirmed awards of compensatory damages in ADA retaliation cases, although none independently examined whether such damages are available under the act. See Muller v. Costello, 187 F.3d 298, 314 (2d Cir.1999); Foster v. Time Warner Entertainment Co., 250 F.3d 1189, 1196-98 (8th Cir.2001); Slitros v. Chrysler Corp., 306 F.3d 562, 570 (8th Cir.2002); EEOC v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 187 F.3d 1241, 1244-43 (10th Cir.1999). As the Eleventh Circuit has not addressed the question of whether compensatory and punitive damages are available under the ADA's anti-retaliation provision, the Court's decision is informed by persuasive authority from the circuit and district courts that have considered the issue, as well as the Court's analysis of the applicable statutes.
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[T]he Court finds that Plaintiff is entitled to seek compensatory and punitive damages, and entitled to demand a trial by jury on her ADA retaliation claim.