Municipality immune from award of punitive damages by administrative law judge
Municipality immune from award of punitive damages by administrative law judge Collins v Village of Lynchburg, Ohio, Decisions of the Administrative Review Board ARB No. 07-079, ALJ No. 2006-SDW-3
The U.S. Department of Labor's Administrative Review Board affirmed the Administrative Law Judge's finding that the Village of Lynchburg, Ohio, had violated the whistleblower provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act [SDWA] when it fired Michael Collins two hours after learning that he had called the Ohio EPA office about whether a proper procedure had been followed for a bacteria test for the village's water supply.
The Village had failed to provide a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for its terminating Collins' employment.
The Board, however, reversed the ALJ's award of punitive damages because, although the SDWA permits exemplary damages, because it was a municipality, Lynchburg was found to be immune from liability for punitive damages.
In support of its determination, the ARB cited Newport v. Fact Concerts, Inc., 453 U.S. 247, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that in action brought under 42 U.S.C.A. §1983, a municipality is immune from punitive damages.
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