On April 30, 2008 a group of institutional plaintiffs sued a collection of architects and owners of mixed use properties claiming violations of the accessibility provisions of the Fair Housing Act. Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, Inc. et al v. Steiner + Associates, Inc. et al, Case No. 3:08-cv-00150 (S.D. Ohio). More than four years later, on December 10, 2012, the parties entered into a stipulated judgment that called for an agreed scope of remediation of the three properties named in the original complaint. The case is an example of what I think of as the “too big to finish” problem in FHA litigation. The case as filed was so big, and included so many parties, that it became a procedural quagmire instead of an efficient means to resolve accessibility problems.
In September of 2008, five months after the case was filed the parties all requested that the Court stay the litigation while their respective experts inspected the properties at issue. The stay was extended for an additional 90 days by a stipulation filed on January 29, 2009. It isn’t clear what the delays accomplished, but on August 8, 2009, more than a year after the case was filed, the Court finally entered a pre-trial order setting the case for trial in December of 2010. More