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November 21, 2013

APA, Adirondack Council settle longstanding litigation

BLACK BROOK — Longstanding litigation against the Adirondack Council and the Adirondack Park Agency by Leroy Douglas and the Douglas Corp. has been settled.

In a joint announcement, Adirondack Council spokesman John Sheehan and Douglas’s attorney, Matthew Norfolk of Lake Placid, said they reached an agreement out of court.

The legal challenge dates back to administrative action by the APA in 2006 and 2007, when Douglas claimed the state regulatory agency was unduly influenced by council leadership and reopened an enforcement case involving an environmental spill on his property.

The Douglas lawsuit was filed in March 2010, seeking more than $60 million in damages across 13 claims, plus court and legal fees, against the Adirondack Council, with additional claims against APA. It named several employees of the Adirondack Council, along with APA staff and commissioners.

TRIAL AVERTED

U.S. District Court Judge Glenn Suddaby dismissed 10 claims last September, allowing three to stand for trial. Parties began to prepare for discovery at that point. 

But the matter has been closed, except for one claim.

“I can confirm that Leroy Douglas and the Douglas Corporation have settled their claims against the Adirondack Council,” Norfolk said via email on Tuesday.

“In addition, I can confirm that Mr. Douglas and the Douglas Corporation of Silver Lake have settled with the (APA) and the named APA officials.

“As part of settlement, both the Adirondack Council and New York state are obligated to pay agreed upon sums of money to the Douglas Corporation of Silver Lake. 

“It is unknown whether the settlement payment from the state will come out of the APA’s operating funds, in whole or in part.”

COUNCIL CLEARED

Norfolk did not disclose the settlement amount.

But Sheehan said payment from the council will draw, in part, from insurance coverage.

“The Adirondack Council’s insurance carrier has agreed to reimburse a portion of Mr. Douglas’ legal expenses in lieu of incurring further defense costs,” Sheehan said via email.

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