The October 17, 2017 decision by Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas in Houston v. DTN Operating Company et al., 2017 WL 4653246 (E.D.Tex 2017) is good news for landlords confronted by bogus internet diagnoses of disability. There is a vexing lack of authority concerning just what constitutes sufficient evidence of a disability to require a landlord to allow an emotional support animal, and Judge Mazzant’s opinion makes it clear that the kind of letter typically purchased on the internet (or supplied by local physicians who don’t understand the law) won’t do. More
The Fair Housing Act requires that private lawsuits brought under 42 U.S.C. §3613 be filed within two years “after the occurrence or the termination of an alleged discriminatory housing practice.” Courts are not in universal agreement about what this means when applied to a failure to design or build apartments according to the standards in 42 U.S.C. §36014(f)(3)(C), so a developer or owner’s defense in a design/build case may depend on where the apartments are located. How can a national statute have regional variations? Well, somebody’s wrong. Here’s a brief “guide for perplexed.”
A decision from the Western District of Texas should remind landlords that the world of FHA litigation is unforgiving and expensive, so the best thing is to get it right the first time. Reading it has prompted us to re-offer our webinar on dealing with accommodation requests involving animals later this month and next. Details appear at the end of this blog.
Chavez v Aber, 122 F.Supp.3d 581 (W.D. Tex. 2015) involved a child with a mixed breed pit-bull as an emotional support animal. There was no question about the child’s psychiatric disability or the fact that the child’s doctor recommended the dog for therapeutic purposes, so the only legal question was whether to dog had to be accommodated despite a “no pets” policy and the fact that pit-bulls are regarded as a dangerous breed. That did not mean the case was simple. As the court pointed out more than once, cases involving accommodation depend very much on the facts. More
- A lengthy and unnecessary recital of the legislative history of the law, including all kinds of statements about the historical oppression of those with disabilities,
- A broad allegation that the plaintiff visited the defendant’s location, without details that might make the claim verifiable, and
- A series of broad statements about violations of the law that, once again, lack any detail that would make them verifiable.
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA FHA Litigation General, FHA, FHA Emotional Support Animals Tags: CityVision, dialing for dollars, Fair Housing Advocates, Gary Lacefield, Gratus Partners, Patrick Coleman
CityVision Services, a Texas based company in the business of filing HUD complaints, recently chose to withdraw a complaint rather than face investigation of its operations by HUD’s Region VII office. The details remain confidential (they involve one of our clients) but the broad picture of how this happened can help other victims of CityVision complaints deal with them.
In this particular case CityVision filed two complaints; one on behalf of an individual claiming disability discrimination and one on its own behalf. Like all the complaints CityVision files on its own behalf it contained a short and completely misleading statement of its history and operations. It claimed, for example, to have been established 23 years ago to file complaints on behalf of victims of discrimination, when in fact the present incarnation of CityVision was created in 2015 in order to file complaints on its own behalf. More