A Bucks County man who has spent decades filing lawsuits that allege discrimination over his physical disabilities - he once argued that his service dog needed food stamps - has admitted lying about his impairments.
James George Douris, 60, pleaded guilty in Bucks County Court on Wednesday to felony perjury. The charge stemmed from a court proceeding last year at which Douris claimed he was unable to walk, hold a glass of water, or sign his own name.
Detectives proved otherwise, catching him engaged in various forms of physical activity, such as standing on a ladder, pushing a wheelbarrow, and using an electric saw.
"This is our best bet at putting it all to an end," prosecutor Jonathan Long said after Douris' plea. "What we're hoping is that, if he tries to keep going, people can look back at this and say, 'You're a liar.' "
Douris, an unemployed veteran from Upper Makefield, filed more than 30 lawsuits against municipalities, government officials, and others, often claiming discrimination because of physical disabilities and seeking damages. Nearly all have been dismissed.
Douris drew international attention in 2010 when he sued the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare for not providing his dog with food stamps. In 2004, he filed a federal lawsuit saying he was unable to apply for a job with Bucks County because the bathroom facilities lacked bidets to accommodate his disabilities.
The court proceeding last year at which he lied about his disabilities involved a civil dispute between Douris and a cleaning company. Douris had demanded accommodations for his disabilities in the courtroom.
Douris had initially asked for a trial over the perjury charge. He offered little explanation for his guilty plea except that it had immediately followed a jury's convicting him of perjury and forgery in an unrelated case.
Those charges stemmed from a civil suit he filed against a tree company over work it did at his house. He sued for damages to his yard and forged an invoice showing the cost of repairs he paid to a company that didn't exist.
Both Douris and his court-appointed attorney, John Fioravanti, declined to comment. Douris is to be sentenced in 60 days pending a psychological evaluation.
He left the courtroom in his wheelchair, pushing himself to the parking lot.