Skip to main content

In light of all the heavy news, I just love a win for the little guy fighting the monied 1%.  Awesomely, this case was QUICK JUSTICE for a change.  The claim was filed in November, 2011 and the claimant will receive $20,000 ASAP from the loathesome condo complex.

Justice Department Settles Disability Discrimination Case Involving Disabled Veteran in Utah

Under the consent decree, which was entered by the U.S. District Court in Utah, the defendants will pay $20,000 in monetary relief to Burton.  Additionally, the defendants will attend fair housing training; implement a new reasonable accommodation policy that does not charge pet fees to owners of service or assistance animals and does not require them to purchase liability insurance; and comply with notice, monitoring and reporting requirements.

“In this case, a combat veteran was denied an assistance animal for his disability,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We are pleased that this settlement will compensate Mr. Burton and protect the housing rights of others who need this accommodation.”

“Enforcing the fair housing rights of persons with disabilities in Utah, including disabled veterans, is a priority of this office.  We will continue to work to ensure that disabled veterans are not denied accommodations they need to live independently,” said David B. Barlow, U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah.

Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, email the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.gov  or contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777.

Who says GOVERNMENT DOESN'T WORK?  Answer:  Those who want to get away with defrauding, discriminating, price gouging, and polluting, that's who.

But even in uber-conservative, pro-business, Utah the lesson to be learned from this story:

DON'T BE UNKIND AND DISCRIMINATE AGAINST VETERANS!

Yes, the Department of Justice has done some things we loathe.

But, if you check their website from time to time, you will find that they are going after the 1% Bad Guys, too.

The DOJ's website has a robust search engine.

Some examples:

Search "Mortgage Fraud" or "Medicare Fraud" or "Bribery"

I searched for "Blackwater" to see where that private contractor stood, and found this nugget:

Green, 51, of Winnetka, was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $3,345,400 and to forfeit $1.98 million and a 2004 Range Rover. He was an owner and managing senior partner of Blackwater Capital Group, Inc., which he operated from his residence, and which recruited institutional investors and placed a capital into its client companies. Green was ordered to begin serving his sentence on Oct. 26.
search your State's name to see what is going on near you.

Some 1%ers are NOT getting away with it.  Check out "Securities Fraud"

I searched UTAH and found this nugget:

[PDF] Seagate Crystal Reports - Same
Page 1. For the State of Utah To Date, $106,311,930 in COPS grants were
awarded to law enforcement agencies in the State of Utah ...
www.cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/StateReports2010/ut.pdf-2010-02-04- Text Version
And this

SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

BETWEEN
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

AND

FCNH, INC. d.b.a.
UTAH COLLEGE OF MASSAGE THERAPY

This was another discrimination judgement, this time against a company and it's massage colleges.

Oh, want to avoid BUYING A HOUSE that was a METH LAB?  For Utah, there is a list of the National Clandestine Laboratory Register - Utah found at the DOJ website.  Maybe there's one for your state, too:

[PDF] National Clandestine Laboratory Register - Utah
Page 1. National Clandestine Laboratory Register - Utah COUNTY CITY
ADDRESS DATE ... UTAH AMERICAN FORK 341 EAST N LN 7/27/2004 ...
www.justice.gov/dea/seizures/ut.pdf-2010-05-07- Text Version
Maybe we need to check in more often to see what's NEWS at the DOJ.  The search engine is really robust.  What are you interested in looking for?

For today.

HOORAY!  A victory for a disabled vet.  It's a good day.

Originally posted to War on Error on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 10:01 AM PST.

Also republished by PWB Peeps.

Poll

Love stories about the 99% winning case against 1%

100%11 votes

| 11 votes | Vote | Results

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  the ADA has teeth, particularly if it is pushed (11+ / 0-)

    years ago I requested a local municipality fax me a copy of the monthly town minutes because I had just undergone extensive shoulder surgery and was not yet ambulatory.  The town not only refused to either fax or mail me the one page document but also demanded that I appear in person with ID and wait for the city clerk to find and reproduce the document.  There was no waiting area and the estimated time was 1 hour and the estimated cost was $200.

    In the course of bringing the DOJ into the matter, I was surprised to find that there were already a half dozen similar cases in my state where municipalities had refused to provide copies of town minutes to the disabled whom one defendant attorney described as "nuisances"

    I am glad to see the ADA is becoming more muscular after years of neglect by the GWB DOJ

  •  Certainly it should be illegal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, Larsstephens

    to ban service animals altogether or to charge exhorbitant fees or insurance requirements upon them.  

    But, to play devil's advocate, I could kind of see a landlord having the reasoning that a service dog creates the same impact on floor coverings etc. as any other (well-trained) dog.  Though certainly the DOJ found otherwise.  I was curious about the details of the case and the decision, but the DOJ link is more of a summary.  I suspect that if the fees were modest ones the veteran might never have sued .  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 10:53:36 AM PST

    •  I think another part of it is that other (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, Larsstephens

      tenants will want animals, not recognizing that the animal that was allowed was an accommodation for a disability.  A service animal rather than a pet.

      Mother Teresa: "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."

      by Amber6541 on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 11:50:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It IS illegal (5+ / 0-)

      You are only allowed to be charged fees if the apartment is in worse shape when you leave than when you come in.

      Should people with wheelchairs or canes be charged more for an apartment? After all, there may be black marks from the wheels or cap.

      Should deaf people be charged more for an apartment? After all, they wouldn't be able to hear the smoke alarm, and you'd have to let them put in one with a flashing light... so hard to re-rent after that!

      Should a person with a seizure disorder have to pay more for an apartment? After all, they could fall while holding a drink and stain the carpet, or have a seizure while cooking...

      Should people with kids be charged more for an apartment? After all, sometimes toddlers take off their diapers; baby spit up smell is hard to remove from carpet; kids draw on walls, etc etc etc.

      Check your backpack, you need to acknowledge your prejudice.

      Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2012 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

      by LoreleiHI on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 11:52:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  With respect to ordinary tenants (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens
        You are only allowed to be charged fees if the apartment is in worse shape when you leave than when you come in.
        that isn't the case.  Pet deposits are refundable, but it is not at all unusual to see a non-refundable pet fee.  Or, as recently when I shoppped senior complexes for a friend with limited mobility, to see an outright higher rent of $25 per month for a pet -- right out in the open, listed on their rate sheet -- and at more than one facilty, too.  

        With respect to the rest of your unnecessarily hostile suggestions, it is well-established that tenants must be treated equally, nor have I suggested otherwise.  Apartment complexes routinely have special written rules about animals, and yet they never have them about cane tips, do they?  

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 12:03:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  A service animal is NOT a pet (6+ / 0-)

          A service animal is in the same category as wheelchairs and hospital beds, according to the ADA.

          And, for your perusal, here is the relevant section of the Fair Housing Act, showing that what you are suggesting is ILLEGAL:
          24 C.F.R. § 100.204 - Reasonable accommodations.

          Stop putting service animals in the same category as pets. It is NOT the same thing at all.

          Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2012 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

          by LoreleiHI on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 12:10:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your statement was unclear (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Larsstephens

            and you seemed to be saying that as a general matter of landlord-tenant law, that NO animal fees could be charged that were not refundable.   That's why I provided first-hand examples of fees applying to the animals of non-disabled tenants.  

            I am glad to see the language on reasonable accomodations because that is what I was looking for that was not in the DOJ summary.  

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 12:15:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm sorry I was unclear (3+ / 0-)

              I've had people try to deny me housing due to my service animal.

              I was screamed at, told I was lying, that I faked the medical letter. When that didn't work they tried to tell me that I must give them full access to my medical records (they left this in a phone message!), to prove I needed a service animal. When that was shot down, they said it needed to pass the condo board...

              I got the state involved, who got me a lawyer, who wrote a list of 15-20 offences they had already committed, with penalties noted. FINALLY they said I could have my service dog. If they hadn't, the service dog org I was working with would have gone to the media, in addition to us going forward with legal proceedings.

              And you know what? They used a lot of the reasoning that you used. And it happens every day, all over the country, and those landlords feel empowered because people like you give them cover.

              Well, it wasn't that long ago that people were denied ramps, or wider doors for their wheelchairs, or parking that accommodated their disability. And the general public wasn't worried about it, because they could see where the owners were coming from...

              How is this different?

              Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2012 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

              by LoreleiHI on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 12:39:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well.... (0+ / 0-)

                There is a biiiigggg difference between being denied housing if you have an assistance animal, and reasonable/unreasonablness of an extra cleaning fee for people with pets (or service animals).

                Republicanism: the political theory that the poor have too much money and the rich do not have enough.

                by bacchae1999 on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 12:49:12 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hmmm.. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  War on Error

                  Reasonableness? Of course we pay a deposit, the same as everybody else. That's certainly reasonable.

                  But what's a reasonable additional fee?

                  We have to pay for our own ramps, should we need one, but should there be a fee to have the ramp put in, paid to the landlord, just because it's there?

                  We need to pay for a shower bar, and it's installation, should we need one, of course. But should there be an ADDITIONAL fee? After all, now this apartment is different from the rest...

                  Should we pay higher rent, because we have the need for reasonable accommodations? Wouldn't you call higher rent for the blind discrimination?

                  Of course, we know that we have to pay for any damage that our service animal, wheelchair, etc. does. That isn't the point. THE POINT is that we're being discriminated against.

                  Don't want a black person in your building? Charge them higher rent, or tell them that the security deposit is twice what your normal rate is... wouldn't you call that unethical? Remember redlining?

                  But this is what's happening to people with disabilities, and what I'm talking about.

                  Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2012 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

                  by LoreleiHI on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 01:07:20 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  But... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    lgmcp

                    You are not being discriminated against by having to pay an animal fee and/or deposit.

                    We aren't talking about being denied housing,  we are just talking about a pet fee and/or deposit. We are also not talking about ramps, grab bars, or racism in renting. This is obviously a subject that you are very empassioned about, which is great, but also not a reason for hyperbole.

                    Pets (and service animals) cause damage to apartments. This is what your security deposit is for. However, they also cause increased wear and tear, that would necessitate everything in the apartment being replaced sooner, even if it isn't "damaged" per se. This is what the monthly fee is intended to cover. The longer your pet, or service animal, is in the unit, the more wear and tear it causes. The regular monthly rent covers average human wear and tear.

                    A long term renter with a pet or service animal wouldn't come close to paying for the damage and wear and tear with just a normal 1 month's rent security deposit.

                    As long as the pet fee and/or deposit is the same for all renters, there is no discrimation. The original case citing in the post was about a veteran being denied housing (in a condo complex it seems, no less, not an apartment)

                    Republicanism: the political theory that the poor have too much money and the rich do not have enough.

                    by bacchae1999 on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 01:29:03 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Hi! You wanted government guidelines on fees? (3+ / 0-)

                      HUD, No. 4350.3, 4-13(b) (1998)

                      A housing provider may not require an applicant or tenant to pay a fee or a
                      security deposit as a condition of allowing the applicant or tenant to keep the
                      assistance animal.  However, if the individual’s assistance animal causes
                      damage to the applicant’s unit or the common areas of the dwelling, at that time,
                      the housing provider may charge the individual for the cost of repairing the
                      damage if the provider regularly charges tenants for any damage they cause to
                      the premises.

                      So, exactly what I said, and your position is legally discrimination.

                      Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2012 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

                      by LoreleiHI on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 01:40:36 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Actually... (0+ / 0-)

                        no, my position is not "discrimination".

                        Discrimination is treating people differently through prejudice: unfair treatment of one person or group, usually because of prejudice about race, ethnicity, age, religion, or gender

                        Discrimination (as far as animal fees/deposits) would be charging someone with an assistance animal more than regular tenant, or not charging a regular tenant with animals, and only charging assistance animals, etc.... that they are being treated unequally because of their status of having an assistance animal.

                        The statute that you provided (thank you, unfamiliar with current practices), states that people with assistance animals can only be charged after the damage occurs. That is a benefit that the HUD statute provides for. So, charging a person with an assistance animal the normal pet fee and deposit is against HUD statutes, but not discrimination.

                        With that being said, the provision you quoted only applies to subsidized multi-family housing, not a regular, market value rental in which the landlord receives no government subsidy. I couldn't find anything if the Fair Housing Act or ADA had something similar for regular rentals. There may be something, but I am unaware of it atm.

                        There is a difference between discrimination, and "reasonable accomodations required by law."

                        Republicanism: the political theory that the poor have too much money and the rich do not have enough.

                        by bacchae1999 on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 02:28:23 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Also, from the LINKED ARTICLE (0+ / 0-)
                      The lawsuit, filed on Nov. 21, 2011, in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, alleges that the Fox Point at Redstone Association, Property Management Systems and on-site property manager Derek Peterson refused to grant a reasonable accommodation so that Thomas Burton, a disabled combat veteran of the first Gulf War, could keep a small dog in the condominium he rented to help him cope with the effects of depression and anxiety disorder. The lawsuit further alleges that the defendants refused to waive their pet fees and insurance requirements and issued multiple fines that eventually led to the non-renewal of Burton’s lease.
                      Emphasis mine.

                      How much more clearly do you need it laid out? THIS IS DISCRIMINATION, and hell yes it bothers me.

                      Of course, if you don't have to deal with it, I guess it doesn't matter?

                      Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2012 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

                      by LoreleiHI on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 01:47:01 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  I was ignorant of this aspect of the law (0+ / 0-)

                      but it seems that the fact that the service animal is non-optional for the disabled tenant, has resulted in a clear legal decision that certain fees reasonable for other tenants are not reasonable for disabled tenants.

                      This appears to mean that the landlord ends up eating some normal-wear-and-tear costs from disabled animal owners that are typically recoverable from non-disabled animal owners.  

                      I still can't help noticing this seems like it might perversely tend to motivate illegal discrimination  towards disabled tenants rather than alleviate it ... but the law is the law.  

                      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                      by lgmcp on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 02:31:55 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  LoreliHI can probably point to further case law (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  LoreleiHI, War on Error

                  regarding fees and deposits.  The guidance site above sticks to a binary pets/no pets example and does not specifically elucidate the matter of fees.  

                  Example (1): A blind applicant for rental housing wants live in a dwelling unit with a seeing eye dog. The building has a no pets policy. It is a violation of Sec. 100.204 for the owner or manager of the  apartment complex to refuse to permit the applicant to live in the  apartment with a seeing eye dog because, without the seeing eye dog, the blind person will not have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.
                  Service Animals in Housing: Even though service animals are not specifically mentioned in the Fair Housing Act and its regulations, it is likely that the Act would at times require that service animals be allowed in a housing facility in order to afford a disabled individual fair use and enjoyment of the facility.

                  "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                  by lgmcp on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 01:08:17 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Good to hear! Small victory for us, huge for him! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error

    And thank you for pointing out the search engine at the DOJ website...  sometimes I think we depend too much on others to do the digging.  

    "Trust us!" - to which I say: "How?"

    by mechboots on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 01:51:34 PM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site