U.S. District Court Judge Glenn T. Suddaby Brings the Douglas civil Rights Lawsuit to Plattsburgh. The Douglas lawsuit calls into question the practices and conduct of the APA, the Adirondack Council, and names several individuals representing these organizations as co-defendants. Matthew Norfolk is representing Mr Douglas. He says the issues should be heard and decided in the North Country, by those living in the North Country, and this is the first time he’s had a federal case set to be tried in Plattsburgh as opposed to Albany or Syracuse.
The Douglas case has been widely reported on in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. In September The enterprise reported that Judge Suddaby had stripped much of the meat from the lawsuit but he left enough for the case to proceed to trial, including Douglas’ claim that the state agency and the environmental advocacy group conspired to reopen an enforcement case against him.
Judge Suddaby wrote a detailed, 121-page ruling saying the lawsuit alleges facts “plausibly suggesting that the reached a meeting of the minds as to what actions to take against Douglas.”
The original suit was filed in March 2010 and sought more than $67 million, plus punitive damages and attorney fees. It centers on an enforcement action the APA pursued against Douglas for filling in wetlands on his Silver Lake property to widen an existing road. The Enterprise reported then that the violations were resolved by a 2006 settlement agreement, but Douglas claims the Council and Brian Ruder, then-chairman of the group’s board of directors and a neighbor of Douglas on Silver Lake, worked in concert with the APA to reopen the enforcement case against him in 2007.