Thomas Apholz v. The City of Amsterdam

  • Court: State of New York, Montgomery County, Supreme Court
  • Case Number: EF2021-129
  • Filed: 19thFeburary 2021
  • Judges: Rebecca A. Slezak
  • Case Type: Torts – Other (unlawful discrimination)
  • Cause: Wrongful Termination

Parties Involved

  • Plaintiff(s): Thomas Apholz
    • Counsel for Plaintiff: Kevin A Luibrand
  • Defendant(s): The City of Amsterdam
    • Counsel for Defendants: Gregg Tyler Johnson| April Joyce Laws

 Verdict Information

  • Verdict Date: 25thApril 2024
  • Damages awarded to Plaintiff: $340,869.50
    • Damages:$191,762.00
    • Pre judgement interest, cost and attorney fees: $149,107.50


About the Case


This employment discrimination case involves the City of Amsterdam, accused of wrongfully terminating an employee who was a certified medical marijuana patient under New York law. The plaintiff, employed as a Wastewater Treatment Employee, possessed a valid medical marijuana certification from the New York State Department of Health to manage a severe debilitating condition.

However, despite the plaintiff’s medical marijuana certification, the city terminated his employment effective March 15, 2020, after a random drug test in February 2020 detected marijuana in his system. The city disregarded his certification and alleged violations of drug policies, refusing to make reasonable accommodations for his disability, despite his repeated attempts to inform supervisors.

The plaintiff alleges disability discrimination under the New York State Human Rights Law. This law recognizes certified medical marijuana patients as having a disability. He accuses the City of Amsterdam of failing its legal obligation. Specifically, the city failed to consider and provide reasonable accommodations for his disability as a medical marijuana patient.


In seeking reinstatement, back pay, compensatory damages for lost income and benefits, and attorney’s fees, the medical marijuana discrimination case contends that the city discriminated against the plaintiff’s disability and neglected to accommodate it. The lawsuit emphasizes employers’ responsibilities under New York law to refrain from discriminating against employees’ medical marijuana use and to make reasonable accommodations for disabilities.

 Jury Verdict

In the jury verdict, the plaintiff was awarded $191,762.00. Additionally, an additional amount of $149,107.50 was designated for pre-judgment interest, costs, and attorney fees. Furthermore, as part of the verdict, the City is ordered to reinstate the plaintiff to his former position within forty-five days of this Decision and Order. This is provided said position remains available. In the event that the position has been either eliminated or filled, the plaintiff shall be reinstated to a substantially similar open position within the same time frame.

Court Documents:


Jury Verdict