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Semenova v. Maryland Transit Administration

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

January 10, 2017

BRILLIANT SEMENOVA, Plaintiff - Appellant,
v.
MARYLAND TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION, Defendant-Appellee.

          Argued: December 8, 2016

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Baltimore. J. Frederick Motz, Senior District Judge. (1:14-cv-03413-JFM)

         ARGUED:

          Joel Robert Zuckerman, MAXWELL BARKE & ZUCKERMAN LLC, Rockville, Maryland, for Appellant.

          Julie Theresa Sweeney, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MARYLAND, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          James S. Maxwell, MAXWELL BARKE & ZUCKERMAN LLC, Rockville, Maryland, for Appellant.

          Brian E. Frosh, Attorney General, Jennifer L. Katz, Assistant Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MARYLAND, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellee.

          Before TRAXLER, FLOYD, and THACKER, Circuit Judges.

          THACKER, Circuit Judge:

         Brilliant Semenova ("Appellant") sued the Maryland Transit Administration ("Appellee") pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), alleging disability discrimination in its provision of public services. The ADA does not include a statute of limitations, so the district court applied the two-year statute of limitations from Maryland's Anti-Discrimination Law (the "Maryland Law") and dismissed the suit as untimely. But because the Maryland Law does not contain a cause of action for disability discrimination in the provision of public services, the closer state-law analog to Appellant's claim is a general civil action, which is subject to a three-year statute of limitations. Applying this more analogous statute of limitations, we reverse and remand because the complaint here alleges discrimination occurring within three years of its filing.

         I.

         On October 30, 2014, Appellant filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland alleging Appellee violated Title II of the ADA in operating its commuter bus service.[1] Appellant alleges that although she suffers from cerebral palsy and uses a walker or crutches, "[o]n numerous occasions, beginning in or about October, 2011 . . . and continuing through 2012, " bus operators refused to use an assistance lift or otherwise assist her in boarding the bus. J.A. 7.[2] Because she relied on the bus to attend classes at the Community College of Baltimore County, Appellant alleges, this discrimination forced her withdrawal from school "in the summer of 2012." Id. at 8.

         Appellee moved to dismiss on timeliness grounds, arguing that because the ADA does not provide a statute of limitations, ADA claims brought in Maryland are subject to the two-year statute of limitations found in the Maryland Law; and the last alleged discriminatory act was over two years before Appellant filed her complaint. Appellant responded that her complaint was ...


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